Emory Law Journal


Experts often seek to apply social science to the facts of a particular case. Sometimes experts link social science findings to cases using only their expert judgment, and other times experts conduct case-specific research using social science principles and methods to produce case-specific evidence. This Article argues against expert judgment as the means of linking general social science to specific cases, and for the use of methodologically rigorous case-specific research to produce ¿social facts,¿ or case-specific evidence derived from social science principles. We explain the many ways that social fact studies can be conducted to yield reliable case-specific opinions, and we dispel the view that litigation poses insurmountable barriers to the conduct of case-specific empirical research. Social fact studies are feasible for both plaintiffs and defendants, and they provide much sounder conclusions about the relevance of social science to a litigated case than does linkage via expert judgment.