OverviewThis module does not form part of the formal 180 credits (for the standard) or 240 credits (for the extended) LLM. Therefore, assessment of this module does not formally 'count' for the degree. The module represents extra learning and an opportunity to gain advanced legal research skills, including transferable skills to enhance employability. The module is built around 12 practical, discussion, and in-class research seminars, delivered weekly over the course of one term. They cover the ethical, ontological, epistemological, and methodological issues in Law and modes of reasoning (deduction, induction) and levels of analysis (agency, structure, and co-determination). The module will problematize how these questions are reflected in different subject-specific contexts that represent the main fields of inquiry at BSIS, including legal analysis, political analysis, historical analysis, and economic analysis. The module also involves practical questions of research and dissertation writing, including the construction of a paper proposal, the Dissertation Proposal, and the Dissertation and research papers themselves, the use of research materials (qualitative and quantitative data) and resources (libraries, documentation, and the internet); and drafting and writing, including the use of appropriate academic style and format.
A two-hour seminar is provided each week for a total of 24 hours over one term
Autumn and Spring
Method of assessment
The module will be assessed by seminar attendance on a pass/fail basis. The student must attend at least 20 hours of seminars to pass the module.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, students will fail the module if they miss more than 4 hours of seminars (out of 24). In assessing individual circumstances, the convenor will also assess whether the module's learning outcomes have been achieved. If this is not the case, students will be required to submit a 1000-word essay which demonstrates their understanding of the material covered on the module as a whole.
(Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)
• Béland, D. and Cox, R. (2011). Ideas and Politics in Social Science Research. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• de Vaus, D. (2014). Surveys in Social Research. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.
• Husa, J. and van Hoecke, M. (2013). Objectivity in Law and Legal Reasoning, Oxford: Hart Publishing.
• Johnstone, I. (2011). The Power of Deliberation: International Law, Politics and Organizations, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• King, G., Keohane, R., and Verba, S. (1996). Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
• Klatt, M. (2008). Making the Law Explicit: The Normativity of Legal Argumentation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Orcher, L. (2014). Conducting Research. 1st ed. Los Angeles: Taylor and Francis.
• Watkins, D. and Burton, M. (eds.) (2013). Research Methods in Law. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Engage theoretical debates with empirical issues.
2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the ethical, theoretical, and methodological dimensions of the scholarly work done in their discipline in general and in their own work.
3. Undertake an analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge and make carefully constructed arguments.
4. Demonstrate a level of conceptual understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate research, policies, and practices.
5. Be reflective and self-critical in their work.
6. Use the libraries, the internet, bibliographic search engines, online resources, and effectively conduct complex research.
7. Engage in sophisticated academic and professional communication with others.