Postgraduate Module Descriptor


LAWM640: Dissertation

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

Overview

NQF Level7
Credits60 ECTS Value30
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks) and term 3 (6 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Caroline Fournet (Lecturer)

Pre-requisites

None 

Co-requisites

None

Available via distance learning

No

This module is compulsory for students on the LLM programmes and the MRes in Socio-Legal Research programme. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to gain experience in legal or socio-legal research, writing a dissertation on a particular legal or socio-legal topic of interest chosen by you and approved by your programme director.

 

You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the expertise available in the Law School, to match the proposed dissertation topic or your areas of interest. You will be given 3 research meetings with your supervisor during which they will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.

 

The module calls for excellent legal/socio-legal writing and research skills, personal discipline, and professional communication with the academic supervisor. For those of you who have not undertaken any large-scale legal research before, an introduction to the design and methodologies of legal research will be provided in Term 2. For those of you on the MRes programme, you are expected to draw on the grounding given in your core modules and any optional module relevant to your dissertation topic.

This module is compulsory for students on the LLM programmes and the MRes in Socio-Legal Research programme. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to gain experience in legal or socio-legal research, writing a dissertation on a particular legal or socio-legal topic of interest chosen by you and approved by your programme director.
 
You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the expertise available in the Law School, to match the proposed dissertation topic or your areas of interest. You will be given 3 research meetings with your supervisor during which they will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.
 
The module calls for excellent legal/socio-legal writing and research skills, personal discipline, and professional communication with the academic supervisor. For those of you who have not undertaken any large-scale legal research before, an introduction to the design and methodologies of legal research will be provided in Term 2. For those of you on the MRes programme, you are expected to draw on the grounding given in your core modules and any optional module relevant to your dissertation topic.
 

This module is compulsory for students on the LLM programmes and the MRes in Socio-Legal Research programme. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to gain experience in legal or socio-legal research, writing a dissertation[HB1] [MI2] [FC3] [HB4] [HB5] [MI6] [FC7]  on a particular legal or socio-legal topic of interest chosen by you and approved by your programme director.

 

You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the expertise available in the Law School, to match the proposed dissertation topic or your areas of interest. You will be given 3 research meetings with your supervisor during which they will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.

 

The module calls for excellent legal/socio-legal writing and research skills, personal discipline, and professional communication with the academic supervisor. For those of you who have not undertaken any large-scale legal research before, an introduction to the design and methodologies of legal research will be provided in Term 2. For those of you on the MRes programme, you are expected to draw on the grounding given in your core modules and any optional module relevant to your dissertation topic.


@Fournet, Caroline@Moore, Imogen Might we want to reduce this? I personally think 15,000 words is long (especially when this does not include footnotes). I cannot see there actually being anything specific about 60-credit module dissertations in the new College accreditation guidance. Looking at other institutions, UCL has 9,000 words (although their module is only 45 credits); Bristol has 12,000 words (although it does also give a 10,000-15,000 words range). [HB1] [HB1]

I would strongly recommend a reduction to 12,000 words. Longer term we can go down to 10,000 but may be best done in stages. Caroline, do you want to discuss, whether with the Ed team or with module convenors, or are you happy to make a call on this? [MI2] [MI2]

Dear both, I would be happy to go down to 12,000 words but maybe have a 'window', i.e. length of 12,000 to 15,000 words. The LLM cohort can be a good 'pool' for PhD students and we must thus be able to assess whether they can write a long research piece. I am happy to discuss this with module convenors - if so I can email them tomorrow? [FC3] [FC3]

Hi Caroline, I'll defer to you and Imogen on this. But, for what it's worth, I think 12,000 words is sufficiently long for this purpose. My worry about a range is that some colleagues then tell students they need to write to the top of the range to get better marks (or students perceive this to be the case) - the 12,000-15,000 word range might therefore not actually lead to any change from the current situation. [HB4]

A range is a bad idea as it creates all sorts of uncertainty. The Bristol range was created only to deal with covid problems and students have to be given all sorts of reassurances etc that they won't be marked down for length etc. So a single figure is much much better. I agree with Ben that 12,000 is plenty. But if you think it should stay at 15,000 I would defer to you Caroline. Just don't make me read any! [MI6]

 

Happy to go down to 12,000 (excluding footnotes and tables). Sometimes less is more :-) [FC7]This module is compulsory for students on the LLM programmes and the MRes in Socio-Legal Research programme. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to gain experience in legal or socio-legal research, writing a dissertation[HB1] [MI2] [FC3] [HB4] [HB5] [MI6] [FC7]  on a particular legal or socio-legal topic of interest chosen by you and approved by your programme director.

 

You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the expertise available in the Law School, to match the proposed dissertation topic or your areas of interest. You will be given 3 research meetings with your supervisor during which they will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.

 

The module calls for excellent legal/socio-legal writing and research skills, personal discipline, and professional communication with the academic supervisor. For those of you who have not undertaken any large-scale legal research before, an introduction to the design and methodologies of legal research will be provided in Term 2. For those of you on the MRes programme, you are expected to draw on the grounding given in your core modules and any optional module relevant to your dissertation topic.


@Fournet, Caroline@Moore, Imogen Might we want to reduce this? I personally think 15,000 words is long (especially when this does not include footnotes). I cannot see there actually being anything specific about 60-credit module dissertations in the new College accreditation guidance. Looking at other institutions, UCL has 9,000 words (although their module is only 45 credits); Bristol has 12,000 words (although it does also give a 10,000-15,000 words range). [HB1] [HB1]

I would strongly recommend a reduction to 12,000 words. Longer term we can go down to 10,000 but may be best done in stages. Caroline, do you want to discuss, whether with the Ed team or with module convenors, or are you happy to make a call on this? [MI2] [MI2]

Dear both, I would be happy to go down to 12,000 words but maybe have a 'window', i.e. length of 12,000 to 15,000 words. The LLM cohort can be a good 'pool' for PhD students and we must thus be able to assess whether they can write a long research piece. I am happy to discuss this with module convenors - if so I can email them tomorrow? [FC3] [FC3]

Hi Caroline, I'll defer to you and Imogen on this. But, for what it's worth, I think 12,000 words is sufficiently long for this purpose. My worry about a range is that some colleagues then tell students they need to write to the top of the range to get better marks (or students perceive this to be the case) - the 12,000-15,000 word range might therefore not actually lead to any change from the current situation. [HB4]

A range is a bad idea as it creates all sorts of uncertainty. The Bristol range was created only to deal with covid problems and students have to be given all sorts of reassurances etc that they won't be marked down for length etc. So a single figure is much much better. I agree with Ben that 12,000 is plenty. But if you think it should stay at 15,000 I would defer to you Caroline. Just don't make me read any! [MI6]

 

Happy to go down to 12,000 (excluding footnotes and tables). Sometimes less is more :-) [FC7]This module is compulsory for students on the LLM programmes and the MRes in Socio-Legal Research programme. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to gain experience in legal or socio-legal research, writing a dissertation[HB1] [MI2] [FC3] [HB4] [HB5] [MI6] [FC7]  on a particular legal or socio-legal topic of interest chosen by you and approved by your programme director.

 

You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the expertise available in the Law School, to match the proposed dissertation topic or your areas of interest. You will be given 3 research meetings with your supervisor during which they will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.

 

The module calls for excellent legal/socio-legal writing and research skills, personal discipline, and professional communication with the academic supervisor. For those of you who have not undertaken any large-scale legal research before, an introduction to the design and methodologies of legal research will be provided in Term 2. For those of you on the MRes programme, you are expected to draw on the grounding given in your core modules and any optional module relevant to your dissertation topic.


@Fournet, Caroline@Moore, Imogen Might we want to reduce this? I personally think 15,000 words is long (especially when this does not include footnotes). I cannot see there actually being anything specific about 60-credit module dissertations in the new College accreditation guidance. Looking at other institutions, UCL has 9,000 words (although their module is only 45 credits); Bristol has 12,000 words (although it does also give a 10,000-15,000 words range). [HB1] [HB1]

I would strongly recommend a reduction to 12,000 words. Longer term we can go down to 10,000 but may be best done in stages. Caroline, do you want to discuss, whether with the Ed team or with module convenors, or are you happy to make a call on this? [MI2] [MI2]

Dear both, I would be happy to go down to 12,000 words but maybe have a 'window', i.e. length of 12,000 to 15,000 words. The LLM cohort can be a good 'pool' for PhD students and we must thus be able to assess whether they can write a long research piece. I am happy to discuss this with module convenors - if so I can email them tomorrow? [FC3] [FC3]

Hi Caroline, I'll defer to you and Imogen on this. But, for what it's worth, I think 12,000 words is sufficiently long for this purpose. My worry about a range is that some colleagues then tell students they need to write to the top of the range to get better marks (or students perceive this to be the case) - the 12,000-15,000 word range might therefore not actually lead to any change from the current situation. [HB4]

A range is a bad idea as it creates all sorts of uncertainty. The Bristol range was created only to deal with covid problems and students have to be given all sorts of reassurances etc that they won't be marked down for length etc. So a single figure is much much better. I agree with Ben that 12,000 is plenty. But if you think it should stay at 15,000 I would defer to you Caroline. Just don't make me read any! [MI6]

 

Happy to go down to 12,000 (excluding footnotes and tables). Sometimes less is more :-) [FC7]This module is compulsory for students on the LLM programmes and the MRes in Socio-Legal Research programme. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to gain experience in legal or socio-legal research, writing a dissertation[HB1] [MI2] [FC3] [HB4] [HB5] [MI6] [FC7]  on a particular legal or socio-legal topic of interest chosen by you and approved by your programme director.

 

You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the expertise available in the Law School, to match the proposed dissertation topic or your areas of interest. You will be given 3 research meetings with your supervisor during which they will guide your research and writing according to an individually agreed framework, but you are largely expected to determine your own deadlines and define your own work programme in order to meet the final submission deadline set by the Law School.

 

The module calls for excellent legal/socio-legal writing and research skills, personal discipline, and professional communication with the academic supervisor. For those of you who have not undertaken any large-scale legal research before, an introduction to the design and methodologies of legal research will be provided in Term 2. For those of you on the MRes programme, you are expected to draw on the grounding given in your core modules and any optional module relevant to your dissertation topic.


@Fournet, Caroline@Moore, Imogen Might we want to reduce this? I personally think 15,000 words is long (especially when this does not include footnotes). I cannot see there actually being anything specific about 60-credit module dissertations in the new College accreditation guidance. Looking at other institutions, UCL has 9,000 words (although their module is only 45 credits); Bristol has 12,000 words (although it does also give a 10,000-15,000 words range). [HB1] [HB1]

I would strongly recommend a reduction to 12,000 words. Longer term we can go down to 10,000 but may be best done in stages. Caroline, do you want to discuss, whether with the Ed team or with module convenors, or are you happy to make a call on this? [MI2] [MI2]

Dear both, I would be happy to go down to 12,000 words but maybe have a 'window', i.e. length of 12,000 to 15,000 words. The LLM cohort can be a good 'pool' for PhD students and we must thus be able to assess whether they can write a long research piece. I am happy to discuss this with module convenors - if so I can email them tomorrow? [FC3] [FC3]

Hi Caroline, I'll defer to you and Imogen on this. But, for what it's worth, I think 12,000 words is sufficiently long for this purpose. My worry about a range is that some colleagues then tell students they need to write to the top of the range to get better marks (or students perceive this to be the case) - the 12,000-15,000 word range might therefore not actually lead to any change from the current situation. [HB4]

A range is a bad idea as it creates all sorts of uncertainty. The Bristol range was created only to deal with covid problems and students have to be given all sorts of reassurances etc that they won't be marked down for length etc. So a single figure is much much better. I agree with Ben that 12,000 is plenty. But if you think it should stay at 15,000 I would defer to you Caroline. Just don't make me read any! [MI6]

Happy to go down to 12,000 (excluding footnotes and tables). Sometimes less is more :-) [FC7]

 

Module created

01/10/2003

Last revised

29/04/2022