Edited by Susan M. Sterett and Lee D. Walker
Chapter 32: Creating databases in sociolegal research: the US Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Database
Assembling publicly available databases for use in sociolegal research is an exciting endeavor, but it also presents a number of challenges. In this chapter, Paul Collins and Lori Ringhand, the architects of the US Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Database, discuss the process of putting this database together. They begin by recounting their early, individual efforts at systematically understanding the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominees held before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Next, they discuss their collaborative efforts and review the major decisions that needed to be made before commencing on a data collection process that would take years to complete. Following this, they examine what they would have done differently in hindsight, and current efforts to expand the database for wider adoption. This chapter provides researchers with guidance over key challenges associated with the production of largescale databases.
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