Postgraduate Module Descriptor


LAWM686: Approaches to Research in Law (ESRC)

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

Module Aims

Firstly, this module aims to make you aware of a range of possible approaches to legal research, to locate the specific socio-legal and empirical approaches in a wider methodological framework and to open up your methodological horizon. For each approach, you will be made aware of the key authorities, together with their respective merits and the possible difficulties generally associated with them. As a result, this module is meant to give you greater awareness of the methodological dimensions of research, and to guide you in choosing an appropriate approach (or combination of approaches) for your own research. Overall, it is meant to increase the scholarly rigour of your research.

Secondly, the module aims to encourage your independent research skills and participation in discussion through student-centred interactive teaching sessions. These sessions are further designed to give you the opportunity to put into practice a number of approaches, both separately and in combination, and to test your ideas and share experience with fellow students with the tutor’s guidance and advice.

Thirdly, the module aims to help you design your own methodological approach, by either following one of the approaches discussed in class and deepening your understanding, or choosing to combine two (possibly more) approaches in a way that makes most sense for your own research.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate deep and critical awareness of a range of possible methodological approaches to law, including empirical and socio-legal methods
2. Demonstrate deep and systematic knowledge of a specific set of approaches more appropriate to your own research
3. Compare, analyse and synthesise your understanding of these approaches and apply them in formulating research questions and in designing your own methodological framework.
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Demonstrate detailed and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of a range of legal approaches and of the significance of methodological choices for legal research.
5. Demonstrate flexible and innovative ability to select an appropriate approach (or a combination of approaches) for your own research.
6. Demonstrate detailed and comprehensive understanding and critical awareness of how your chosen approach(es) to research is (are) situated in relation to other approaches, as well as of their respective limits.
Personal and Key Skills7. Clarify, plan and undertake tasks confidently and independently, individually and with others, to reflect critically on the learning process and to make use of feedback effectively.
8. Identify, retrieve and use the full range of resources efficiently and autonomously.
9. Interact effectively, confidently and proactively within a team/learning group, to share information and ideas, and to manage divergence of opinions in a professional manner.