LW7089 - Legal Research Project (LLM Framework)

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will draw on your skills and knowledge acquired from the taught elements of the LLM branch specialism and will develop and refine these in the context of a self-chosen area of independent specialist study. You will develop; (1) your understanding and use of legal research techniques, (2) An ability to critically analyse and evaluate legal data, (3) the ability to handle complex legal material systematically and creatively including material at the forefront of the field of study, (4) a conceptual understanding of the research topic, (5) skill at showing a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current legal issues, (6) the ability to communicate legal information, arguments and conclusions within accepted academic conventions.

How will I learn on this module?

Whichever branch specialism you elected to study, you will have studied legal research as part of your first semester and have continued to practise legal research and legal writing throughout the taught modules. You will have therefore developed a clear basis on which to progress to this more in-depth research and analysis. As this is predominantly a research module, the initial teaching will consist of an introductory lecture during the second semester. Whatever your branch specialism, you will also be provided with a project guidance handbook. The predominant form of delivery will be through independent student learning whereby you will choose your own research topic and undertake and present your research. This will be supported by individual tutorial time, either by a meeting or via telephone/email/Skype. The function of these is to enable you to discuss your research topic and methodology with a view to obtaining feedback to assist in clarifying your understanding, analysis and presentation; and for you to obtain feedback on draft material. You will have access to support materials via the e-learning portal and you will also have access to online databases, to the University library and to the library’s services for distance learning students if appropriate.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, including access to substantial on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software. The module will support you academically in a variety of ways. In particular through a dedicated Blackboard Ultra, eLearning site for the module. The site includes materials to help guide your learning on the module, including a project guidance handbook. Crucially, you will be allocated a personal supervisor for your research project. It is your supervisor who will work most closely with you offering feedback during the research and writing of your project. Before or at the start of the module you will receive guidance on choosing a research topic. During the module you will be offered meetings (or other contact as necessary to the needs of distance learning students) with your supervisor as required. You will prepare and submit to the supervisor a synopsis of your project and one chapter in draft, on which you will receive feedback.

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:

1) Produce an extended research project to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of your chosen subject relating to your LLM specialism, informed by current practice, advanced scholarship and research, including a critical awareness and evaluation of current issues and developments in the subject.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

2) Formulate a research proposal, defining an appropriate research question which enables you to engage in critical discourse in relation to your chosen area.
3) Develop a high degree of autonomy and will be able to effectively and clearly communicate legal information and argument.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4) You will be able to devise, develop and complete a substantial independent research project on a specialised area of law, including selecting an appropriate subject area, conducting research and making editorial choices and decisions.

5) You will demonstrate awareness of principles and values of law and justice and ethical issues arising in the context of a substantial Masters-level research project

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment on this module is your submission of a 15,000 to 17,000-word research project.

There are opportunities for formative assessment throughout the module. You will receive feedback from your supervisor as you work towards producing your project, including advice on the suitability of your proposed topic, on your research techniques, on whether your project is sufficiently analytical and on a draft chapter.

The marking criteria used to assess the project are outlined and explained when you embark on the module to ensure you can understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance. Once your project has been marked, you will be provided with a written feedback sheet on how well it met with the assessment criteria

Pre-requisite(s)

NA

Co-requisite(s)

NA

Module abstract

The module is designed to provide you with the opportunity and resources needed to devise, develop and complete a research project in a specialist legal area of your choice. It thus enables you to acquire, or to extend your knowledge and understanding in a legal subject area that you have selected yourself. The module enables you to develop and refine your independent legal research skills, your ability to critically engage with current research material, and your ability to effectively present and communicate written argument. You will work with a research specialist in the area and engage in the co-creation of new knowledge. Successful completion of the project demonstrates learning to Masters level and distinguishes the LLM from the postgraduate diploma. This part of the programme presents a new challenge. The emphasis is on the production of an independently devised and researched piece of work. From this extensive piece of work, you will develop advanced and independent legal research and writing skills, gain a greater depth of knowledge of a specific area of law and develop the ability to critically analyse the law.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

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