Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Research Across the Curriculum: Using Cognitive Science to Answer the Call for Better Legal Research Instruction by Tenielle Fordyce-Ruff
"This article explores why and how law schools can use principles from cognitive psychology to respond to the need for graduates to have competency in legal research skills by adopting legal research across the curriculum. This article first explores the history of the tension between increasing skills instruction and doctrinal teaching, the academy’s response to criticisms about the lack of skills instruction, and how this response has led to an undervaluing of skills instruction within the academy and by law students. It then turns to calls for better research instruction, specifically the call for including legal research across the curriculum and the challenges to implementing such a curricular change. Next, it examines the competencies a legal researcher needs to possess and the current placement and state of legal research instruction in the academy and reviews the changes in legal research resources. It then examines cognitive science and psychology to examine how students learn best. Finally, it argues that including research across the curriculum would allow students to achieve the needed competency in legal research without placing undue burdens on law faculties."