Law - Dissertation - LAWS5630

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Maria Drakopoulou checkmark-circle


The module is taken over two terms. It begins with lectures introducing the trajectory of a research project, the use of library resources, primary and secondary material, use of citations and constructing a bibliography etc. This introduces students to a route map through the research process from an initial "problem" to formulating a suitable "research question", to choosing a method and research design, to conducting the research; from taking notes to drafting chapters; from deciding on the chapter breakdown to the writing of the dissertation; from developing an argument to presenting it in written form. However, the main experience of the module is found in the supervision process between supervisor and student, who between themselves decide on the specific plan for the research programme.


Contact hours

This module will be taught by means of lectures, supervision sessions and private study.
Total study hours: 300
Contact hours: 10
Private study hours: 290


Only available to finalist (stage 3 or 4) students.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
The module will be assessed by 100% project as follows:
A draft chapter or outline, 2,000 words (20%)
Dissertation, 10000-12000 words (80%) *


Reassessment method:
Reassessment instrument (100% project)

Indicative reading

Bell, J, Doing your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers 6th Ed, (Open University Press, Maidenhead 2014)
Cottrell, S, The Study Skills Handbook (Palgrave Study Skills) 4th Ed, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
Crème, P & Lee, M, Writing at University 3rd Ed, (Open University Press, Maidenhead 2008)
Denscombe, M, The Good Research Guide: For Small Scale Research Projects 5th Ed, (Open University Press, Maidenhead 2014)
Denscombe, M, Research Proposals: A Practical Guide, (Open University Press, Maidenhead 2012)
Girden, E, Evaluating Research Articles from Start to Finish 3rd Ed, (Sage, London 2010)
May, T, Social Research: Issues, Methods and Research 4th Ed, (Open University Press, Maidenhead 2011)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Explain and justify the significance of their research.
2. Demonstrate a comprehensive familiarity with the literature relevant to their research project.
3. Demonstrate a comprehensive familiarity with the theories, concepts and methods relevant to their research projects.
4. Examine and critically evaluate legal issues within a social and critical context as evidenced by and within their dissertation projects, and be able to support the evaluation with evidence and reasoning.
5. Conduct research independently by drawing on feedback from academic supervisors, by exercising reflection and self-criticism, and by managing time and resources effectively.
6. Communicate the findings of their research effectively and fluently in a substantial piece of writing.
7. Engage with the various stages of the research process – from formulating meaningful and feasible research questions to conducting the research and presenting the research findings.
8. Complete a substantial research project within a limited timeframe, which presents a coherent argument that is supported by evidence, reason and critical judgement.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Conduct systematic bibliographical research drawing on a wide range of sources including books, journals and online resources
2. Undertake analysis of complex areas of knowledge and make carefully constructed arguments and advocate solutions to practical and/or academic problems
3. Engage in academic and professional communication with others
4. Demonstrate independent learning ability required for further study or professional work


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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