U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Academic Research and Advocacy Research

NCJ Number
Cleveland State Law Review Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: (1988) Pages: 253-259
V L Streib
Date Published
7 pages
This article distinguishes between academically and advocacy oriented legal research and discusses the implications of the distinction for law professors.
Academic research is aimed primarily at discovering truth and expanding knowledge, while advocacy research is more aimed toward mounting an argument to achieve victory for a client or some law reform goal. Academic research permits the researcher to define the topic and the important points to be studied, and encourages the researcher to report everything found that is of any value to the field. In contrast, advocacy research usually begins with a narrowly drawn topic and issue; and the researcher is encouraged to report only those findings that bolster the advocate's primary argument and to remain silent about or discount conflicting evidence. As lawyers who also are professors, law professors may have a tendency to use their legal training and experience and their advocacy mindset in their scholarly writings. However, because they are not beset by the limitations of the lawyer role as advocate, law professors have both the capability and at least some obligation to pursue academic goals of expanding the frontiers of legal knowledge or providing particularly insightful analyses of existing knowledge.


No download available