عنوان مقاله [English]
The value of findings of comparative studies and their efficacy largely depend on research methodology. Therefore, one of the main issues in comparative law is understanding different research methods and approaches. Questions and debates related to research methods in comparative law were raised for the first time in the late 19th century by German lawyers. It was then followed and expanded by researchers in other countries, especially France, Italy and the United States; and along with the development of other sciences, new approaches to comparative law were increasingly developed. In Iran, however, the field has been very limited and largely confined to practical and scattered advices on how to do comparative law research.
In this paper, I try to introduce different qualitative and quantitative methods of comparative law research, with the focus on the state-of-the-art methods. The main methods (or approaches) of comparative law researches are the following: legislative method, descriptive method, evolutionary approach, conceptual method, functional method, factual method, textual approach v. contextual approach (the law-in-context method), historical method, method of classification of legal families, common core method and quantitative methods in comparative law as economic approach or statistical approach to comparative law.
I then describe the main steps necessary to comparative law research, existing and potential problems at every stage and ways to deal with them. There are five principle steps: definition of research topic and methodological approach, description, identification (comparison), explanation and finally evaluation and proposition.
Understanding different methods and steps of comparative legal research helps comparatists achieve their goal. With the expansion and development of sciences, in particular interdisciplinary sciences, including legal linguistics, law and political economy, legal psychology, sociology of law and anthropology of law, new approaches are also applied in comparative law that help jurists to better understand legal issues through their scientific analysis and evaluation, and to find more effective legal rules and solutions. In this way, the range and scope of comparative law researches is constantly expanding. Introducing and applying these effective and various methods and approaches to comparative law by Iranian jurists and comparatists would lead to enhance juridical knowledge and improve domestic legislation.