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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5662M Postgraduate Legal Research Skills

15 creditsClass Size: 380

Module manager: Dr Joshua Warburton

Taught: 1 Jan to 31 May View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The aim of this module is to prepare students for studying law at Masters level, undertaking coursework assignments and writing a dissertation in law.


The key objective is to equip students with the fundamental and advanced level academic skills needed to study law at Masters level.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should:
- know how to find and navigate a wide range of legal sources;
- know how to search law databases for appropriate sources;
- be able to find and use diverse legal sources, including primary and secondary legal sources;
- be able to conduct the legal research required to participate in seminars, complete assignments and write a dissertation;
- have a sound understanding of different legal systems;
- be able to demonstrate the critical and analytical thinking skills required at Masters level;
- be able to attribute their work correctly using an approved referencing system (e.g. OSCOLA);
- be familiar with the different conceptual approaches to legal research;
- be able to formulate a research question, to support a dissertation in Law;
- know how to present arguments in different ways, including in oral discussion, in written work, and in a more concise form (i.e. a poster);
- develop transferable skills, including critical and analytical skills and the ability to present arguments in different formats.


Introduction to the module
Introduction to law and databases
Understanding and Using Diverse Legal Sources
Understanding Plagiarism
Understanding Assessment and Processes
Critical and Analytical Thinking at Masters Level
Writing for Postgraduates
Planning Dissertations
Writing Dissertations
Understanding and Writing Literature Reviews
Creating Presentations
Workshop: Poster Presentations
Drop in Session Referencing/Plagiarism and Finding Sources

NB: The module will be front-loaded, so that students develop the requisite skills before they need to complete assessments in any of their LLM modules. The ordering of the different lectures is flexible – they may be reordered if necessary, to facilitate the requisite skills and knowledge in advance of assessments.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Drop-in Session21.002.00
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours17.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)151.00

Private study

There is no set independent online learning included in this module. However, the students will be encouraged to complete two generic library induction sessions online as part of the non-credit bearing 'Academic and Personal Skills' module. The library inductions appear there rather than in this module, in order for them to reach all PGT Law students (including students on Criminal Justice Masters programmes, and those on the MSc Law and Finance who do a dissertation in LUBS, neither of whom take the PG Legal Research Skills module). They are: (for Masters students).

Private study: Students will be expected to develop their knowledge and skills though private study. This will be facilitated by the provision of reading lists and guidance from the lecturers who deliver the module.

During the drop-in sessions there will be opportunities for students to attend for Q&A regarding referencing and plagiarism.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students' progress in developing academic legal skills will be monitored informally through workshops, and formally through summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature Review1 x 2,000 words80.00
Poster PresentationThis will be based on the 2,000-word literature review20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 09:50:06


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