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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LAW2680 Researching Law

10 creditsClass Size: 285

Module manager: Sam Halliday
Email: s.halliday@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is mutually exclusive with

LAW2286Researching Crime and Criminal Justice (for undergraduates)

Module replaces

LAW2284 Advanced Legal Research & Law Reform

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Objectives

This module forms an integral part of the student's research journey. It builds upon the skills developed and research training provided at Level One, by introducing and critically exploring different conceptual approaches to legal research. It does so by focusing on a small number of topics and debates within law, investigating them from a critical perspective. In so doing the module aims to enable students to develop a personal research skills toolkit in readiness for the final year project.

- To develop students' analytical and critical skills
- To equip students with the ability to use a variety of sources in developing a convincing argument.
- To demonstrate a variety of approaches to researching law, including doctrinal, comparative, socio-legal and historical legal research.
- To equip students with the necessary skills to conduct legal research independently
- To equip students with advanced research skills in using both bibliographic and electronic sources.
- To enable students to develop the necessary skills to formulate a viable research plan for their final year project
- To equip students with the necessary skills to research, structure and write up their final year dissertation.

Learning outcomes
Students will be able:-

SUBJECT - knowledge:
- To demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of different approaches to legal research: doctrinal, comparative, socio-legal and historical legal research.
- To reflect critically on law and the context within which it operates.
- To demonstrate understanding of legal sources and construct an argument using both primary and secondary sources.
- To evaluate and apply knowledge in formulating research questions.
- To apply knowledge to problems in order to demonstrate understanding of doctrinal and conceptual difficulties and to provide own solution to unresolved debates.
- To formulate and design a research project

SUBJECT - sources and research:
- To identify and use primary legal sources and secondary sources relevant to the topic under study.
- To identify contemporary debates and engage with these while accurately reporting the law in an area.
- To locate relevant research materials for the preparation of debate and argument.
- To develop effective research strategies to identify and evaluate potential sources.

ANALYSIS, EVALUATION, CRITICAL JUDGEMENT AND SYNTHESIS
- To identify and critically evaluate issues.
- To identify and evaluate law both in terms of doctrinal coherence and in relation to other policy perspectives.
- To synthesise, analyse, critically evaluate and present complex arguments in a clear and coherent manner.

AUTONOMY
- To work independently in planning and managing tasks
- To locate primary source material in preparation for class discussion and debate.
- To work independently, completing exercises online and engaging with podcasts used in the blended learning and flipped classroom approaches used in this module.

COMMUNICATION & LITERACY
- To effectively present materials in both written and oral formats, demonstrating accuracy and fluency.
- To conduct a literature review, summarising and evaluating the arguments and analysis of commentators.
- To formulate research questions and produce an outline research proposal.
- To use the Oscola citation system accurately and effectively.


Syllabus

1. Research skills
2. Using bibliographic databases
3. Conducting a literature review
4. Designing a research project
5. Formulating research questions
6. Drafting a research proposal
7. Writing up your research
8. Research ethics
9. Evaluating primary sources of law
10. Evaluating secondary sources of law
11. Evaluating scholarly work and policy documents
12. Different conceptual approaches to researching law: doctrinal, socio-legal, historical and comparative legal research.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Drop-in Session51.005.00
Lecture12.002.00
Lecture51.005.00
Seminar41.004.00
Private study hours73.00
Total Contact hours27.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

This module will make extensive use of blended learning, including employing the flipped classroom. The weekly hour set out for online learning will be used for podcasts introducing a topic to be discussed further in the seminars, or for online exercises enabling students to practice the relevant research skill and to assess their knowledge and proficiency in so doing. Students will use private study time to enhance their understanding and knowledge (through set reading, for example), which they will be expected to reflect upon in advance of lectures and during their seminars. This will include working together with other students in preparing a group presentation (which will take place in one of the seminars).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance of seminars; taking part in online classes (checking the VLE log and completion of the assessed tests during these classes).

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature ReviewOutline research proposal & preliminary literature review. The maximum word count of this assessment will be reduced to 2,500 words, minimum word count 1,500 words.65.00
Online AssessmentOnline citation test10.00
PresentationGroup presentation25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

For the purposes of progression students will only be considered to have satisfied the learning outcomes if they have attempted each of the 3 assessed components and achieved a total mark of 40 or over. Each assessed component is marked out of 100, but the final mark will fall within the 20-90 range.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/05/2017

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