By Bhagyashree Sonwane, Indore Institute of Law, Devi Ahilya Vishwa Vidyalaya, Indore, M.P, India.
Research refers to the systematic search of a particular topic or issue. In other words it can be defined as art of searching knowledge. The Oxford defines it as “The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.” According to Redman and Mory(1923), Research is a “systematized effort to gain new knowledge”. Thus, we can say that research is an attempt to pursue advancement through methods of study, observations, results, conclusions and experiments. According to Clifford Woody research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusion to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis. In short, the search of knowledge through objective and proper method of drawing conclusions and solutions to a particular problem is research.
RESEARCH APPROACHES AND TYPES:
There are two main approaches to research, namely quantitative approach and qualitative approach. The quantitative approach involves the collection of quantitative data, which includes experimental, inferential and simulation approaches to research. Meanwhile, the qualitative approach uses the method of subjective assessment of opinions, behaviours and attitudes. Research can be of various kinds where the methods used for researching are quite general in nature. Like, in case of library research, methods used are the analysis of documents and the historical records. While analyzing one has to make record of notes, content analysis, statistical compilation, reference and abstract guides etc. In case of field research, methods used are the interviews, observations and surveys taken with a view to collect data.
Research methods include all those techniques, procedures, schemes which are adopted for conducting research. On the other hand, Research Methodology is the systematic way of solving the research problem. It is the science of studying how the research is conducted with the aid of various techniques and approaches. Research methodologies are the tools that a researcher uses to collect information. They define what the research activity is and how it will proceed. Different methodologies are used in the various fields like science, economics, legal studies etc that are involved. It is necessary for the researcher to design a methodology for the problem chosen. One should know that even if the methods used for two problems are same but the methodology can be different. It is thus, important for the researcher to know not only the research methods but also to know the methodology.
Framing a strategy is vital to get a good piece of work. At the start of your research you need to set down clearly:
- Your research focus and formulating the research problem.
- How you propose to examine the topic:
- methods of data collection i.e. extensive research survey
- The types and sources of information you need.
- Preparation of research design, how you will access these sources of information (be they people, existing datasets, biographical accounts, media articles or websites, official records).
- Determining and collecting the data
- Execution of the project and analysis of data
- Generalizations and interpretations
- The proposed outcome of this research (in your case, a dissertation) and the form it will take.
- A time-frame for all of this.
MOOTS AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:
Mooting requires just the approach, technique, sources of information, and time. Well what are Moots? In common parlance, Mooting is an excellent way of learning, practicing and perfecting advocacy. Moot Court is an extracurricular activity that allows law students to take part in mock court proceedings. Participants focus their arguments on a hypothetical case based on any law depending on the nature of the case. Participants have to go through complete research of the moot problem. They use the various methods and approaches for researching about the moot problem and for the formulation of the written submissions. Generally, qualitative approach is referred in case of moots as one has to refer the existing principles and evaluate them according to the present problem.
The object of research is around the legal issues which are raised by the moot question. You should then formulate the arguments which you will use in your oral submissions. First of all, one has to formulate and raise the issues from the moot problem.
Start by reading all the relevant statutory and case authorities, plus any other relevant articles. One has to organize the points which could be positive as well as negative in nature. Once you have your points organized, you need to compose your Heads of Argument. When the issues are framed, the sections, legal principle which is applied on the respective argument is submitted before the court with supporting case laws cited. In India, Manupatra, Indlaw – Legal databases, tax and regulatory laws of India, Lexis® India, India Law Legal Database, Bombay Bar Association: Law Database, Indian Kanoon – Search engine for Indian Law etc are the list of authoritative databases used for researching relevant cases supporting one’s arguments. The whole research requires a lot of time and patience. If one finds reading new things interesting, research work is the best opportunity for them!
Further dictionaries, commentaries, journals, reports, textbooks, references, articles and all the authoritative books are referred so as to make strong contentions in your support. There are kinds of citing a particular case. Students follow Blue Book and other respective methods for the citation if specified in the rules of the competition. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, is a style guide which prescribes the most widely used legal citation system. Participants go through all the issues and arguments. Next step is to order the points in such a sequence that one should put forward their positive points before the negative ones. It ensures stability in the oral submissions. The arguments must be conducted in a coherent fashion, step by step.
Basically all we need to do is, All legal research should start with an analysis of the legal issues. Read your record to find out:
- what issues are raised in the problem
- what legal principles you need to learn more about
- What major cases the lower court relied upon.
Once you have read your record:
- Gather any legal materials mentioned in the record with the aid of books, sites etc;
- Read the cases, statutes, regulations, and precedents;
- Further, note additional citations to other materials.
Once the memorials or the written submissions are exchanged, team gets the written submission of another team. The principle behind exchange is that everyone involved in the moot know what will be argued on the day so that the mooters can prepare their rebuttals, and judges have the opportunity to examine the points which the mooting teams are proposing to raise. Participants are required to thoroughly study the written submissions and do some research. The authorities, cases, articles cited by the opponents are relevant or not should be checked. Gather all the weak points of the respective submission and make key points for the re-buttals while submitting your oral submissions Prepare notes of key points for your submissions, not a full speech. A moot is not about speech reading; instead it is all about convincing the panel of judges to accept your oral as well as written submissions. The art of advocacy is not that of reading a speech. Finally, the oral submissions including court etiquettes are responsible for your place in the competition.
Qualities of a good research are: Good research is systematic, logical, an alert mind and empirical. The most important part of your work is organizing your research! One may have to go to library or surf on internet and research in a particular area if needed. Researchers should understand the importance of knowing how to conduct research. It helps them to develop the thought process and generation of creative ideas in their minds. It even helps the researcher to learn the findings, evaluate research and make rational conclusions to it. In case of moots, Research is the best way for learning the substantive as well as procedural laws and it provides an opportunity for students to learn from their faculties, peers and develop the art of advocacy. Mooting prepares students for the “real world” through the acquisition of various skills. It’s a great communication tool which helps in building up ones confidence and a way of learning how to communicate in every field. It helps one to develop and hone their research skills which would obviously be helpful in their future. A proper research methodology adopted for the moot problem gives you a good piece of work and ultimately various practical skills are polished. According to Hudson Maxim, “All progress is born of inquiry. Doubt is often better than overconfidence, for it leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to invention”. New knowledge is added through research.
1] Research’, Oxford Dictionaries, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/research
2] Research as practice, practice as research, Dr. Daniel Binns, file:///C:/Users/admin/Downloads/Wk6_PracticeResearch_LectureNotes-libre.pdf
3] Research Methods and Methodology by Jayadeva de Silva, http://www.slideshare.net/avedayaj10/research-method-and-methodology-article
4] “Moot”, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mooting
5] Why do we moot? Exploring the role of mooting in legal education, Andrew Lynch, http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/LegEdRev/1996/3.html
6] What is Mooting and how it is done? , http://global.oup.com/uk/academic/highereducation/law/mooting/more/
7] Elementary Guide to Moot Court, Lucky Michael Mgimba, https://www.academia.edu/4313207/THE_ELEMENTARY_GUIDE_TO_MOOT_COURT
8] Research Methodology: An Introduction, http://www.limat.org/data/research/Research%20Methodology.pdf
9] Research : Meaning, kinds, significance, http://www.kluniversity.in/arp%5Cuploads%5C2095.pdf
10] Methodologies, http://www.socscidiss.bham.ac.uk/methodologies.html