Module Identifier LA37320  
Module Title DISSERTATION 2  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Mr Richard W Ireland  
Semester Available semesters 1 and 2  
Co-Requisite LA35220, LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710  
Course delivery Lecture   8 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   Seminar. Supervision arranged by supervisor  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Dissertation: 6000 - 10000 words  100%
Professional Exemptions Not Required for Professional Purposes  

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
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 objectives 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.

Brief 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 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 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 where appropriate.   The dissertation is assessed applying criteria relating to the effectiveness and adequacy of the research and the written presentation of material and argument. 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.

Socio-Legal Dissertation - Combining Dissertation modules1 and 2

This 40 credit research opportunity permits students to undertake an empirical research project such as one involving questionnaire surveys or interviews. It may also be possible to use this route to make an in-depth methodological or theoretical critique of a published criminological or socio-legal study or collection of studies. In order to complete such a project it is necessary to devote a substantial amount of time and effort and students will therefore be required to register for both Dissertation 1 module and the Dissertation 2 module as a combined package to be studied over two semesters in one academic year (20 credits each semester). There will be certain projects for which this will be the requirement, projects which require the extra research training and for which a single dissertation does not allow the time to complete the task to the required academic standard.
Students wishing to consider such a dissertation should first discuss their idea with a potential supervisor who will consider whether or not it is a suitable topic for the combined dissertation module. Students accepted onto the combined module will, in addition to normal supervision and introductory lectures in semester 1, also attend seminars which aim to provide law students with guidance on criminological and socio-legal theory and research methodology. In semester 2 they will be given seminars covering data analysis and writing up skills within this field. Assessment will take place in two parts:
1. At the end of the first semester an assessment of between 6,000 and 10,000 words would be expected to include the following:
The idea or dissertation plan
Literature search and placing the question within the present academic debate.
Research design
Research methodology
A pilot study, if one is conducted.
2. At the end of the second semester a further assessment of between 6,000 and 10,000 words would be expected to include the following :
Data collection
Data analysis
Writing up
The project as a whole will also be assessed.

Methods of assessment will be as with all other dissertations.

In addition to the expected outcomes in the normal dissertation those studying the combined socio-legal dissertation will achiever the following:
a) Have a deeper understanding of and be able to critique and analyse general socio-legal research skills;
b) Ability to critique the research methodology of others;
c) Ability to use quantitative methodologies;
d) Ability to use qualitative methodologies;
e) Enhanced problem solving skills.


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.


This module is at CQFW Level 6