DISSERTATION IN LAW

SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHM225722
Module Leader Nicholas McKerrell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
Trimester
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Required to have entered LLB4.

Summary of Content

The dissertation is a substantial piece of empirical and analytical legal research which is designed to develop and enhance knowledge and skills gained in earlier years of the degree. The student chooses a relevant topic of interest, in consultation with the Dissertation Tutor and the allocated Supervisor. A suitable research strategy is adopted and a completed dissertation of between 10,000 and 12,000 words is presented with a self-assessment report half way through the process. Law students will select a topic in an appropriate area of law. The role of lawyers in society is changing - lawyers are increasingly expected to be pro-active in the prediction and prevention of unethical as well as unlawful behaviour across all areas of society. The delivery of the module will embed PRME principles including: developing graduates who care about social responsibility; developing learning and teaching which enables graduates to become responsible leaders and practitioners; and developing graduates who will advise businesses and other stakeholders to explore mutually beneficial responses to social and legal challenges.

Syllabus

Intentionally left blank

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the student should be able to: 1. Identify a legal research topic which is appropriate to the Law as taught in the context of this degree 2. Organise and present research findings in written and oral form 3. Conduct original research using a clearly defined methodology 4. Define and test hypotheses 5. Demonstrate critical judgement and analytical skills; intellectual understanding; imagination; independence and 6. originality 7. Synthesise theoretical and practical elements of the topic 8. Self-assess against stated criteria and skills 9. PRME Learning Outcome: demonstrate an ability to explore ethical and socially responsible responses to issues arising within the context of a chosen area of law.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Building on the level2 module Skills for Legal Employment, there will be a series of research skills classes at the start of Honours year, followed by a work-in progress assessment by the students mid-way through the year. There will also be consultations with the Dissertation Tutor and individual supervisors, followed by combined independent student research and writing, and individual supervision meetings. Supervisors will log their students, progress. Internationalisation: In producing a dissertation, students will set Scots, UK and EU law as appropriate in an international context. Feedback will be provided to students as follows: 1. Students will be normally provided with feedback within three weeks of submission or sooner of any dissertation draft work or other formative assessments providing information on strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for corrective action to be applied in future submissions. 2. Discussion boards and other means of electronic communication will be used as appropriate to encourage teacher and peer-to-peer dialogue on certain topic areas where this form of communication would be regarded as effective. 3. Student feedback on teaching, learning and assessment will be sought at the end of the semester through a module evaluation questionnaire. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms.

Indicative Reading

Fullerton & MacGregor , Legal Research Skills for Scots Lawyers , (W Green, 3rd Edition 2014). Additional Reading Preece, R A, Starting research: an introduction to academic research and dissertation writing , (Cassells, 2000) Salter M, Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research , (Blackwells 2007) Swetnam, Derek, Writing your dissertation: how to plan, prepare and present your work successfully , (3rd ed, Plymouth: How To Books, 2009)

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement and Evaluation The ability to identify issues, assimilate, evaluate and analyse information to construct written or oral solutions to a problem by bringing together and integrating relevant information, and selecting key material, from a variety of different sources. The ability to present arguments for and against propositions, acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Drawing up a research strategy to carry out a major piece of legal research b7 Deciding which research methods to be used in the legal research project b7 Managing, analysing and rating a large volume of legal sources in final dissertation project Personal Management, Independence and Ability to Learn The ability to organise and prioritise effectively the expenditure of time and effort in the performance of all aspects of student work. The ability to learn effectively and be aware of their own learning strategies; to manage their own learning development and to reflect upon their learning, seeking and making use of feedback. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Reflect on time management and learning skills by preparing a self assessment report midway through the dissertation process b7 Meeting deadlines for work in discussion with dissertation supervisor b7 Meeting final deadline for submission of dissertation Communication and Literacy The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices in an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus on key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic within the prescribed time frame. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing (and, where appropriate, by the use of electronic means) using the English language accurately by creating work which is comprehensible to the intended audience. The ability to create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive using appropriate terminology and recognised methods of citation and reference. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Creating work in a permanent format which is understandable by the intended audience b7 Create a final dissertation which is analytical, descriptive and inquisitive. b7 Using appropriate legal terminology in all work. b7 Using proper methods of legal citation and reference within work b7 Preparing individual chapters within dissertation b7 Preparing a self-assessment report b7 Undertaking a presentation of 20 minutes explaining research. Numeracy, Information, Technology and Teamwork Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format. The ability to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information; and exchange documents by E-mail. The ability to work productively and cooperatively in different kinds of groups; to establish working relations with others, defining, sharing and delegating responsibilities within the group. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Word processed dissertation and self-assesment report b7 Use of Internet - general and specific - to research legal materials as part of dissertation b7 Retrieval of information using electronic legal databases eg Westlaw b7 Retrieval of electronic journals from University databases b7 Submission of dissertation through turn - it -in Software b7 Communication with dissertation supervisor via e-mail. b7 Potential electronic interviews and surveys as part of empirical research

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 30.00
Independent Learning (FT) 162.00
Lectures (FT) 8.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 30.00 35% Self Assessment Report half way point.
Course Work 02 n/a 70.00 35% Dissertation. 10000-12000 words in length.