Postgraduate Module Descriptor

LAWM687: Socio-Legal Research Skills

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Seminar 1 Methodological issues in legal and socio-legal research: positivist and interpretive approaches
Seminar 2 Research Design: theory, methodology and interdisciplinarity - some case studies
Seminar 3 Research Ethics and Empirical Research in Law: Issues, Codes and Implications
Seminar 4 Data gathering and data protection: from court records to cyber space and beyond
Seminar 5 Quantitative methods in socio-legal research: techniques (e.g. structured interviews, questionnaires) validity (including sampling), presentation and case studies
Seminar 6 Qualitative methods in socio-legal research: ethnographic techniques (e.g. semi-structured interviews, interpretive biographies, focus groups, participant observation, action research) validity, presentation, case studies, new developments
Workshop 1 Practical research design exercise plus group presentation and presentation feedback
Workshop 2 Practical research exercise on qualitative methods, e.g. questionnaires/interviews/ethical issues
Seminar 7 Modes of Analysis, e.g. thematic analysis, content analysis and responsive recent developments
Workshop 3 Two Practical research exercises on qualitative analysis involving use of N6/NVivo and quantitative analysis involving use of SPSS.
Seminar 8 Further methodological issues: cross-cultural and cross-jurisdictional data
Workshop 4 Student-led oral presentation.

Seminars (with web-based support where appropriate) will first introduce the methodological issues (including issues arising from an interdisciplinary approach) in socio-legal research. They will then consider how the collection/generation of data should fit within a broader research agenda and be sensitive to issues such as privacy and research ethics. This will lead to a consideration in depth of a number of key sources and methods of data collection and analysis routinely employed by social scientists including those conducting empirical research in law. These issues and methods will be explored through case studies and exposure of students to a variety of methods and appropriate practical work, incorporating group work and independent practical exercises which will be interspersed with the staff-led seminars

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
30 270 0

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities20 hours8 (2.5 hour) staff-led seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities10 hours4 (2.5 hour) practical workshops
Guided independent study270Private study

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).