Interviews and Questionnaires as Legal Research Instruments

Michael Sunday Afolayan, Omolade Adeyemi Oniyinde


This work is an inquiry into the duo instrumentalities of research namely; interview and questionnaire in the field of legal research. It focused on issues such as nature, usefulness, types, advantages, disadvantages, reliability as research instruments, as well as the comparison of the two instrumentalities. The essence of this work is to expose to legal researchers the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of this instruments and their multidimensional ramifications in serving as better tools for more effective and fruitful legal research venture. In carrying out this work, doctrinal approach was adopted by looking at the existing literatures in the field of legal research and examining the extent, if any, to which the survey method of research is embraced by lawyers and legal researchers to improve on the outcome of their research and to reflect the reality or impact of law on the society. It was discovered that what a traditional legal researcher does is to organise his study around legal propositions; use court reports and conventional legal materials which are readily assessable in a law library as his principal sources of data, and draws conclusion from these legal materials.[1] The recent trend, however, is to move beyond or away from the desk and gather information from the field in order to have more social and realistic input in legal research. This has widened the scope of legal research methodology but the fact remained that the methods and strategy adopted for any particular research project will depend on the subject matter.[2]In conclusion, this work provides the basic guides in the selection, construction and administration of questionnaire and interview as research instruments. Their uses and limitations, as well as their construction in terms of the structure and content were also discussed. The response rate as well as the quality of information acquire will depend on the subject matter of research, the choice of the researcher and the extent to which the suggestions in this work are utilised.

Keywords: Legal, Research, Interviews, Questionnaires, Instruments.

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/83-08

Publication date:March 31st 2019

[1] Aboki, Y., “Introduction to Legal Research Methodology”, Second Edition, (Tamaza Publishing Co.Ltd, Zaria 2009) p.3

[2] Gasiokwu, M.O.U., “Legal Research Methodology”, (Chenglo Ltd, Enugu, 2004) pg 3.

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