LW7110 - Legal Research Dissertation

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will research and write a dissertation on a substantive area of law. You will work independently to research your topic under the supervision of a tutor with expertise in the relevant field of study.

In addition to gaining detailed knowledge and understanding of your particular area of research, this module will also advance a number of key skills. You will develop legal research skills enabling you to locate and utilise relevant primary and secondary sources. You will develop the skills necessary to analyse and evaluate legal arguments and engage with critical scholarship in your area of study. You will advance your writing skills, learning to appropriately structure and compose a long form piece of academic writing. You will develop time management skills by engaging in self-directed research, and learn how to identify and respond to relevant legal issues within your allocated topic.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through independent learning, large group sessions and meetings with your allocated supervisor.

You will work independently to research and write your dissertation. Independent learning will centre on you identifying appropriate primary and secondary sources, engaging in wider reading and research to provide a deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of your research topic.

You will attend a series of large group sessions which will introduce you to the process of researching and writing your dissertation. These will set out expectations of students engaged on the module, provide general advice on formulating a viable research question within your field of study, point to key dates and provide recommended timelines, and advise on relevant ethical considerations. Large group sessions will also provide generalised guidance on writing/structuring your dissertation, and on researching/referencing skills. Extensive guidance on these matters is also provided in a detailed module handbook.

You will receive support and guidance throughout the module from your allocated supervisor.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will receive academic support and guidance on your research topic from your allocated supervisor. You will discuss the viability of your dissertation topic, and agree a synopsis and chapter outline before proceeding. Your supervisor will provide formative feedback throughout the process. Your supervisor will read and comment on draft chapters and will point out particular strengths and advise on how any weaknesses might be remedied. It is your responsibility to arrange and attend supervision meetings.

The Module Tutor will oversee the allocation of an appropriate supervisor with expertise in your area of research, and will deliver a series of lectures providing guidance on research/referencing skills, writing and structuring your dissertation, and setting out expectations of students. The Module Tutor will also be available to discuss general issues or concerns at a number of drop-in sessions.

The university is well-placed to support you in learning and research, with excellent library facilities and access to online legal databases. You will use these facilities to locate appropriate primary and secondary sources including legislation, case law, academic books and journal articles.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding
At the end of the module you will have:

Developed the ability to appropriately research and theorise on a substantive area of law in order to advance understanding and interpret knowedge in the area of law.

Developed an ability to conceptualise, theorise and undertake research to create in depth knowledge and understanding of your particular research topic, and be able to display and critically apply scholarship at the forefront of your area of research, thereby creating new knowledge through an understanding of the knowledge process.

Intellectual/Professional Skills & Abilities
At the end of the module you will have:

Developed the ability to conduct enquiries in your field of study, and to locate and use a variety of appropriate sources and data in order to support your arguments.

Developed the ability to properly structure and compose a piece of long form academic writing, and to communicate legal arguments in a clear and accessible fashion, within accepted academic conventions.

Developed the ability to consolidate and apply your knowledge and understanding of your area of research to complex practical or hypothetical situations, and to advance understanding to provide solutions and construct sustainable and evidenced arguments.

Personal Values Attributes
At the end of this module you will have:

Developed the ability to work independently, exercising initiative, judgement and self-management skills in the process of researching and writing your dissertation, whilst reflecting on and using the feedback provided from your supervisor.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment will be achieved through the submission of a project synopsis. You will outline your proposed methodology, main research themes, the anticipated structure of the project and a basic literature review. The function of the exercise is to clarify these points at an early stage and for you to obtain feedback on your proposed research. You must complete a synopsis to the satisfaction of your supervisor before proceeding with your dissertation.

Formative feedback will also be gained throughout the module through the submission of draft chapters to your project supervisor in good time and in advance of any deadlines relating to summative assessment. Your supervisor will provide oral and written feedback on these drafts as required. Supervisors will not normally look at a single draft chapter more than once.

Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis via the submission of your completed dissertation. This work constitutes 100% of the mark awarded for this module. The completed work must be 15,000 words in length.

This assessment provides an opportunity to display high level research and legal writing skills and to explore an area of substantive in-depth. It will also allow you to gain awareness of critical scholarship in your area of study.

Assessment criteria are provided in a marking grid to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

You will be provided with appropriate written feedback from your dissertation supervisor following the submission of the completed work.





Module abstract

This module enables you to research and write a dissertation on a substantive area of law. It will provide you with the opportunity to independently explore legal issues surrounding a topic of your choice, under the guidance of a supervisor with expertise in the area. There is a wide range of subject specialism among tutors, enabling you to explore in detail a topic tailored to your interests. In addition to the detailed knowledge and understanding that you will gain in your particular area of research, the module will also advance a number of transferable skills. As part of your research-rich learning, the module will advance your ability to engage in effective legal research, developing criticality and the ability to analyse, evaluate and formulate legal arguments. Assessment will consist of the submission of your completed dissertation, which will constitute 100% of your final grade.

Course info

UCAS Code M100

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years full-time

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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