Thank you for your participation today. This is a short anonymous research study on the
development of legal reasoning skills by law students.
This is not a test of your abilities, but rather an attempt to determine how people think
about legal problems. You will not be graded, and your answers will not be revealed to
your professors. Your responses will be tape recorded to ensure accuracy. These tapes
will not be shared with anyone outside of the research team.
First you will be given a sample problem to work through. This is only a warm-up and is
not part of the study. This is just so that you feel comfortable with the process of voicing
your thoughts aloud. When answering the question please verbalize your thoughts as
naturally as possible. Please do not explain or rationalize your thoughts but rather
communicate them in a free flowing manner. The easiest way to do this is to go through
your normal thought process but say everything aloud as if no one else were in the room.
[Present subject with LSAT problem.]
Ensure that subject has completed reading reviewing the problem.
[Take back LSAT problem]
[While holding the materials but not yet having handed them to the subject, state:]
“You just interviewed a new client, Ralph Kuzinsky. This memo contains your notes
from that interview. You are now reviewing your notes alone in your office. Please
review this, either aloud or to yourself, and if you are thinking anything as you review
these material, please verbalize any thoughts you have as you read . This should mirror
your normal thought process. It should be as natural as possible. Remember, just as in
the previous exercise you only need to report what you are thinking without explaining
why you think it. The information on the page is all the information available regarding
this material.
[Subject reads/ reviews materials]
Ensure that subject has completed reviewing the materials.
[Take problem away from subject.]
State: “Please state the facts of the case.”
[Subject responds.]
Ask: “Anything else?”
[Return materials to subject.]
Ask: “What is your assessment of the case? What is the basis for that assessment?”
→→ If response is: “As I said before” then, respond “Ok, so what you said
earlier. Do you have anything to add?
**REMEMBER: Use Think Aloud Protocol. Ask probing questions, i.e.,
1. “Say whatever comes into your head”
2. “What else?”
Ask: “At this point, what should you tell the client?”
Anything else?
Anything else? (Exhaust)
Ask: “What are the next steps you plan to take in the case?”
[If at any point subject begins to rationalize or explain their answer, remind them to
REPORT what they are thinking about the problem.]
Ask: “Anything else?”
End with: “Thank you for your time today. We ask that you not discuss the study, the
legal problems presented to you or any of your answers with anyone else at U of C. This
is to ensure that other potential participants are not tainted and that we are able to gather
quality data.”