Using empirical research to advance workplace equality law scholarship: benefits, pitfalls and challenges

Dominique Allen, Alysia Blackham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Legal scholars are increasingly attuned to the substantial benefits that can be derived from empirical and socio-legal scholarship. While drawing on the knowledge of legal insiders–such as legal practitioners, judges or academics–to critique and evaluate the effectiveness of law and legal reform is an established means of empirically evaluating legal impact, this approach can be particularly problematic in relation to empirical equality research, as legal insiders are unlikely to be members of the under-represented groups that are the focus of equality regulation, and are instead more likely to represent the majoritarian status quo. Drawing on two empirical projects conducted in Australia and the UK, this paper considers the benefits, potential pitfalls and challenges of undertaking empirical equality research in the workplace. Using an insider / outsider lens to facilitate analysis, it canvasses existing gaps in empirical equality law scholarship and considers how future research could address these limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-365
Number of pages29
JournalGriffith Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • anti-discrimination law
  • Empirical research
  • equality
  • labour
  • methodology

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