EDELNet+ PhD Training Programme in Methods and Skills of Legal Research


Online Seminar “Contemporary Methods of Legal Research” (15 February-28 May 2021) | Online Seminar “Empirical Legal Research” (15 March-25 June 2021)

Foto: fotolia, Denys Rudyi

Call for Applications

The EDELNet+ PhD Training Programme in Methods and Skills of Legal Research invites PhD students and students planning to do in the future a PhD in Law or in another discipline with a topic related to law (e.g. Sociology, Economics, Political Science, Philosophy) to apply for participation in the 2021 edition of the interinstitutional online seminars “Contemporary Methods of Legal Research” and “Empirical Legal Research”.


Online Seminar “Contemporary Methods of Legal Research”

15 February - 28 May 2021

Online Seminar “Empirical Legal Research”

15 March - 25 June 2021

Seminar description

During both seminars students will work in cross-national groups of PhD students from seven European countries to get acquainted with the theory and practice of a series of methods of great relevance to legal research.

Each seminar begins with a short theoretical input organized in online lectures, readings and exercises (duration of this phase approx. 1 month). After this, students will be assigned to a cross-European team of PhD students and will be requested to fulfil group tasks geared towards the practical application of the methods learned (duration of this phase approx. 1.5 month). Finally, regrouped in different teams participants will be asked to fulfil a final assignment (duration of this phase approx. 1 month) that will be evaluated by a team of more than 30 experienced lecturers and researchers from the partner universities. Both seminars guarantee feedback from and interaction with fellow PhD students and instructors throughout the programme.

Aside from the great networking opportunities, participants in any of these seminars may also apply for participation in a 5-day-long face-to-face intensive study programme that will be organized in September 2021 in Germany (venue to be determined). Travel and accommodation expenses connected with participation in the programme will be covered by the organization according to the criteria established by the funding programme, the DAAD-International Virtual Academic Collaborations.

Seminar contents

Current Methods of Legal Research

  1. Doctrinal methods of legal research
  2. Doctrinal methods vs. legal philosophical work
  3. Comparative legal research
  4. Historical legal research
  5. Socio-legal research
  6. Critical legal research
  7. Feminist approaches

Empirical Legal Research

  1. What is Empirical Legal Studies? Relevance for present-day society and for legal practice
  2. Communication between lawyers and other disciplines: challenges and risks
  3. General principles of good empirical research
  4. Empirical methods that may be used by lawyers, with help of examples of real empirical legal research:
  • Interviews (various types)
  • Observations
  • Case analyses
  • Systematic document analysis: court decisions, case files, data bases
  • Course analysis
  • Vignettes
  1. Experiments: very well fitted to establish causal effects - examples
  2. How to analyze and to present the results of these methods

Additional information

Both the online seminars and the intensive study programme are based on a student-centered approach and designed to enhance interactive synchronous and asynchronous peer-learning in a cross-European community of PhD students and research instructors. The activities also aim to train participants in transversal skills such as intercultural communication, project-management, public speaking, etc.

EDELNet+ is an interinstitutional network of 7 European universities, namely the University of Hagen (Germany), the Open University (United Kingdom), the University of Bologna (Italy), the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain), the University of Wroclaw (Poland), the University of Miskolc (Hungary) and the Open Universiteit (Netherlands). This blend of campus-based and online/distance teaching institutions allows this PhD Training Programme to combine best practices in traditional face-to-face teaching with state-of-the-art tools and techniques of blended learning and student oriented teaching. These features also present a good opportunity for PhD students to actively participate in a diverse and cross-cultural academic environment and benefit from the access to a large pool of experienced legal researchers from across Europe.

For further information, please visit the website of the programme


Dr. Juan J. Garcia Blesa Foto: FernUniversität

Dr. Juan J. Garcia Blesa

Programme Coordinator

E-Mail: juan.garciablesa