Assume a bright hypothetical social scientist - call her Phoebe - who is completely ignorant of legal research as it is practiced in today's law schools. Phoebe might speculate about legal research as follows. First, she would note that the law schools are joined with and are the exclusive source of the practitioners of a profession. Second, she would note that commercial and legal actors rub up against and are influenced by the law in countless ways every day. Third, she might remark that this interaction occurs practically on the doorsteps of our law schools. Unlike anthropologists, who may have to travel to New Guinea to observe their subjects' behavior, or psychologists, who must devise clever experiments to observe their subjects' hidden motives and instincts, the interaction of law with the commercial life of various actors is practically lying in the street to be picked up by any passerby. And finally, she might note that discreet bodies - state and federal legislatures - pass new laws every year in response to apparent needs of commercial actors or in response to apparent difficulties with existing law.
White, James J. "Phoebe's Lament (Symposium: Empirical Research in Commercial Transactions)." Mich. L. Rev. 98, no. 8 (2000): 2773-9.