LWMTRM-Research Methods

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Registered for an LLM programme, or with permission of the Director of PGT in Law
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Aleardo Zanghellini

Email: a.zanghellini@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module aims to assist students in the formulation of a research question appropriate to their chosen area of study and to develop the skills necessary to plan and execute their research programme within the time and resources available. The module aims to foster the practical, generic and personal transferable skills necessary to conduct independent research. Students will also be expected to gain an appreciation of the social, ethical and policy context of research. Finally, the module also aims to provide practical assistance for students in developing skills in using the internet, electronic library resources, and other documentary sources for undertaking research.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes
After completing the module, students will:

  • have an appreciation of research and its relationship to practice and theory;
  • be capable of formulating appropriate and relevant research questions;
  • be able to formulate aims and objectives for their research;
  • be able to design a research strategy appropriate to carrying out an independent research project;
  • be able to select the research methods appropriate to the collection and analysis of data or evidence relating to the research question;
  • be able to embark upon the preparatory work necessary for their LLM dissertations;
  • be aware of the role of values in the research process, from problem formulation through data collection to dissemination;
  • be able orally to present research findings in a lucid and informative way;
  • be able to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of a range of legal research methods.

Additional outcomes:
In addition to those listed in the School’s ‘core skills statement’, the module will encourage the development of:

  • High-level oral communication skills developed through reflective, analytical class discussion

Outline content:
Part One: Where to Begin

  • Designing a Research Problem
  • Thesis Writing

Part Two: Methods and Sources
  • A series of seminars exploring a range of research methods and theoretical perspectives, including economic, socio-legal, critical and doctrinal analysis.

Part Three: Research-in-Progress
  • Student led presentations based on research-in-progress

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be delivered primarily through a series of weekly seminars conducted over two terms. Throughout the first term, seminars will be devoted to the topics in Parts One and Two (above). After a series of introductory seminars on research and writing, as well as research methodology, the seminars explore a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to legal research. In the remaining seminars, the format will alter. Student presentations will form the basis of discussion. Each student will be expected to lead a discussion on his or her research topic for the dissertation requirement of the degree. Students thus will be expected to have embarked upon the process of research design and to subject their research plan and literature review to the judgment of their peers.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 18 18
Guided independent study 132 132
Total hours by term 150.00 150.00
Total hours for module 300.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • 20% Research Plan and Bibliography (research plan is maximum 4 pages)

  • 50% Literature Review and Research Plan (maximum 12 pages)

  • 20% Oral Presentation of Research (Spring term)

  • 10% Attendance and Class Participation

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
See School of Law PGT Programme handbook

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 6 June 2018


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