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LLM Research Skills for Dissertation Writing - LAW00050M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Simon Halliday
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

This module will be a compulsory element of the LLM degree, to prepare students for the dissertation in term 3 and over the summer.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

This module will be a compulsory element of the LLM degree, to prepare students for the dissertation in term 3 and over the summer. The principal aims are:

 

  • To give students a basic grounding in methodologies appropriate to legal research and applicable to their own work
  • To introduce students to the process of formulating and developing questions suitable for advanced legal research and designing a research framework around those questions
  • To equip students with the skills needed to complete a substantial piece of independent legal research

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • Understand research methodologies appropriate to legal research and applicable to their own work
  • Identify a legal issue that has the potential to be the subject of legal research

 

Academic and graduate skills

  • Carry out independent research on a topic related to law
  • Act autonomously in developing a research proposal and plan
  • Critically 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
  • Make use of appropriate referencing techniques
  • Reflect critically on one’s own learning in the course of the research process
  • Apply what they have learned in the preparation for and writing up of the dissertation

 

Module content

The module will provide:

 

  • an introduction to the main research methodologies employed in the study of law (e.g., doctrinal, empirical, philosophical, critical, historical and comparative)
  • an introduction to practical elements of carrying out a dissertation research project, including:
    • research design (connecting research topic, research question and research method);
    • locating sources
    • reading critically;
    • constructing arguments
    • referencing correctly

 

These skills and knowledge will be facilitated through seminars and exercises.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
2000 word dissertation proposal
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

Pass/fail

Additional assessment information

The dissertation proposal that constitutes the assignment for assessment will comprise three elements:

  1. A narrative, setting out the research question, a scholarly justification for the question, and a description of the research methods required by the question.
  2. An indicative breakdown of the like structure of the dissertation (chapters or headings and sub-headings, etc.)
  3. An annotated bibliography of at least 10 items, outlining their scholarly relevance to the research project

In total, the word count on the proposal should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words.

 

 

 

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
2000 word dissertation proposal
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will engage with ongoing discussions of their dissertation proposals in the seminars, receiving both peer-to-peer and instructor feedback.

Indicative reading

M. Salter and J. Mason Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research (Longman, 2007)

G. Griffin, M. McConville and Wing Hong Chui, Research Methods for Law (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

S. Halliday (ed) An Introduction to the Study of Law (W Green & Sons, 2012)

The Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (4th edition, 2010) http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/published/OSCOLA_4th_edn.pdf



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.