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Dissertation - LAW00021H

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Joe Tomlinson
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

  • To introduce students to the process of formulating and developing questions suitable for advanced legal research, and designing research programmes around those questions
  • To introduce students to the process of supervised independent research
  • To transfer to students the skills needed to complete a substantial piece of legal research

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify a legal issue that has the potential to be the subject of legal research
  • Develop a research proposal for one such issue, and design a programme for executing the proposal
  • Carry out independent research on a topic related to law
  • Evaluate and apply relevant theoretical and methodological frameworks
  • Identify, locate and use relevant primary sources
  • Critically analyse and engage with a wide range of the secondary literature relevant to their topic
  • Construct coherent and logical arguments at an advanced level, addressing theoretical, doctrinal and policy issues relevant to their chosen issue
  • Present their findings with a high level of written proficiency, both at length and in a brief format, making use of appropriate referencing techniques
  • Reflect critically on their own learning in the course of the research process


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 85
N/A 15

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 85
N/A 15

Module feedback

There are opportunities for formative feedback through the supervision process

Indicative reading

  • G. Holborn, Butterworths Legal Research Guide (2nd edition, 2001. Butterworths)
  • M. Salter and J. Mason Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research (2007, Longman)
  • G. Griffin, M. McConville and Wing Hong Chui, Research Methods for Law (Research Methods for the Arts and Humanities) (Research Methods for the Arts and Humanities (2007, Edinburgh University Press)
  • A. L. Parrish and D.T. Yokoyama, Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing and Oral Argument (2007. Carolina Academic Press)
  • S Halliday (ed), An Introduction to the Study of Law (W. Green, 2012)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.