A Longitudinal Metric Analysis of Course-subjects to reveal the Evolution of a Discipline: Changes in the Teaching Frequency and Ratio of Courses in Law Schools in the United States over 80 years

Journal of Scientometric Research,2016,5,1,13-24.
Published:May 2016
Type:Research Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Peter A. Hook*

School of Library and Information Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA


This article is a longitudinal, metric analysis of law school course-subjects in the United States. Its data source is the lists of “teachers by subject” contained in the annual directories of the American Association of Law Schools for a total of 57,915 data points. The number of faculty teaching the various course-subjects is compared for three time periods: (1) 1931–1932, (2) 1972–1973, and (3) 2010–2011. The course-subjects are a controlled vocabulary. In addition, the mergence and divergence of course-subjects are noted based on the timing of changes, “includes” statements, and “see also” references. This allows meaningful comparisons across time to reveal which coursesubjects and groups of related course-subjects are rising and falling in importance in the legal academy in the United States. Topics such as International Law, Constitutional Law, and Legal Research and Writing have gained the most in terms of the percentage number of teachers teaching these topics. Topics such as Estate Planning, Commercial Law, and Business Associations have lost the most in terms of the percentage number of teachers teaching these topics. In addition, the course-subjects with the highest and lowest average of the length of time they have been taught are reported for each period.

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