Module Identifier LA35220  
Module Title DISSERTATION 1  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Professor Christopher Harding  
Semester Available semesters 1 and 2  
Other staff Professor Ryszard Piotrowicz  
Co-Requisite LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710  
Course delivery Lecture   8 Hours  
  Seminar   Supervision arranged by supervisor  
Assessment Dissertation   6 - 10000 words   100%  
Professional Exemptions Not Required for Professional Purposes  

Module description

This module differs from other courses in Law in that it comprises an exercise in sustained legal research and writing in relation to a special topic rather than being based on a prescribed course of study. It is for the student to select a subject for detailed research with the approval of the Department and then to proceed to the research and writing stages of the exercise under the supervision of a member of staff with expert knowledge of the field in which the subject of the dissertation is located. The overall exercise involved in researching and writing the dissertation builds upon a knowledge, and training in the use, of library resources provided in the Legal Skills module. Successful research presupposes the ability to use a range of library materials and to trace sources through databases and bibliographical aids. Guidance is provided by the designated supervisor through a series of meetings at which the student reports on progress and submits a written draft or drafts for comment. The supervisor's role is to advise about both research methodology and the presentation of the research in the dissertation itself.

The Dissertation I module is designed for students undertaking such work for the first time.

The module is assessed principally by a reading of the dissertation by the supervisor as a first marker, by another member of staff as second marker, and by an external examiner.   The dissertation is assessed applying criteria relating to the effectiveness and adequacy of the research and the written presentation of material and argument. The supervisor's view of the candidate's ability to plan and organise a sustained programme of research and writing forms part of the assessment.   The assessment is therefore especially concerned with the ability to work relatively independently, to locate and organise rlevant research material, and to communicate effectively via written media.


To develop the skills associated with a substantial piece of research work, especially in so far as such skills and ability may be seen as distinct from those inculcated by the learning process as tested by conventional written examinations.

Module objectives / Learning outcomes

To acquire the skills necessary in order to carry out research in a chosen field of law or area related to law and write up the results of this research in a clearly organised and comprehensible way so as to maximise the dissemination of knowledge and ideas contained in the research.

The outcomes of the training involved in the module may be summarised as follows:

(a) to develop an appreciation of the research potential of subjects through the choice of a viable topic for research;

(b) to develop research skills as regards the location of relevant material, in particular through the use of bibliographical guides and subject databases;

(c) to develop the skills associated with the planning, organising and timetabling of a sustained piece of research over a period of some months;

(d) to develop the ability to organise ideas and order material for the effective presentation of argument and data;

(e) to develop academic writing skills for purposes of presenting a clear, articulate and readable account of the subject in question in a substantial written format of 6000 - 10,000 words.