Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 11 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written assignment  written assignment (1) to consider the range of media and sources which may be relevant to the student?s field of research, and the justification and value of their use in such research. 2000 words  40%
Semester Assessment Written Assignment  Written assignment (2) : to demonstrate how a chosen source material or type of media may be read and exploited for purposes of the student?s own research or proposed research. 2000 words  40%
Semester Assessment Oral Presentation relating to 2 above  20 minutes  20%
Supplementary Assessment Re-presentation of the above 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. identify and understand the potential value of conventional and less conventional written and other media for purposes of aiding research, the development of theory, and the construction of research argument;
2. think critically about the location and selection of a range of sources and media in libraries, archives, databases and other sites;
3. employ a rigorous interpretation and application of such material for purposes of research and research writing;
4. incorporate this approach as a research methodology in relation to their own research projects.

Brief description

The module will examine a range of texts and media and consider the way in which such material may be exploited for purposes of carrying out research and constructing academic argument in the field of law. The range of media to be investigated will include conventional legal and criminological source material at one end of the spectrum, historical documentation and archival material, various literary sources (historical and contemporary), through to visual media and dramatic media (whether live or recorded) as less conventional sources at the other end of the spectrum. The discussion will focus on the ways of reading and interpreting such sources and critically consider the limitations and potential of such interpretative activity for purposes of illuminating the subject-matter of legal research and constructing theoretical argument


1. The theory and purpose of textual and media interpretation in the context of research activity and the objectives of using such interpretation in the field of legal research. Critical appreciation of the role of the reader.

2. The concepts of text and media and an examination of the ways in which such sources (a) record information and (b) provide a site for discourse and the transmission of ideas.

3. Conventional legal and criminological materials : forms, content, style, and methods of reading and interpretation.

4. Historical and archival sources relevant to legal and criminological research : problems of location, reliability and interpretation of such material.

5. Reportage and discussion of events through news media and the use of such material for purposes of legal research.

6. Literary sources, as contained in particular in main literary formats (fiction, poetry, drama) and how such sources may be exploited in legal research : the law and literature approach.

7. Visual sources : visual artwork and other forms of illustration as source and the problems of interpreting such material for purposes of legal research.

8. Dramatic sources : theatre, film and music as a source of information and discourse.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not applicable
Communication Written and oral communication skills are developed through informal seminar discussion and through formal assessment. The ability to sustain a dialogue through the activity of interpreting a range of texts and media is also a unifying theme within the context of the development of the module teaching as a whole
Improving own Learning and Performance At various points in the course and in particular as regards the assessment, researchers are encouraged to apply and develop the interpretive approaches relating to diverse forms of texts and media which they have encountered in the context of their own work
Information Technology The module will provide an opportunity for sustained reflection on the role of information technology in providing access to various forms of text and media and in assimilating such sources in the context of particular research projects
Personal Development and Career planning The module will develop a capacity to appreciate and learn from a wide and diverse range of sources and crucially the ability to apply such understanding, in a critical manner, in the context of particular research projects
Problem solving Problem solving skills are developed in the context of a range of the specific seminar topics and in the context of the course as a whole. At all stages, the emphasis of the course is on the development of a critical awareness of the application of the theory and practice of media interpretation to the specificities of a variety of personal research challenges and problems
Research skills The module provides a focused and sustained opportunity for researchers to reflect upon and develop the practical skills involved in making available, understanding and interpreting a wide variety of sources in the context of a higher level degree
Subject Specific Skills None
Team work Team working skills will be encouraged and developed via participation in seminar discussions


This module is at CQFW Level 7