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Jan H. Crijns, Ivo Giesen and Wim Voermans

This chapter addresses the possible contributions and limitations of empirical research for legal research in the domains of private law, criminal law and constitutional and administrative law. The authors do this to gain a better insight in the nature of legal research and – based on that – to try to inspire legal scholars to embrace and possibly engage in empirical research themselves, to enrich their work. After a general introduction, some of the peculiarities of legal research are dealt with, offering a possible explanation for the seemingly slow reception of empirical scholarship within legal research. Next, the possibilities and the pros and cons of empirical research methods for the three legal domains covered are dealt with. The chapter takes a special look at the empirical research methods that are dealt with elsewhere in this volume and discusses the possibilities and limitations of these methods for legal research in the three legal domains covered.