Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
60.000 Credits or 30.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Craig Prescott
Overall aims and purpose
This module offers postgraduate students the opportunity to engage in an extended piece of legal research. By defining an area of study, pursuing their research and presenting their work at an appropriate level, students will develop their study and research skills.
In particular, the dissertation enables the development of new skills in analysing and synthesizing complex material, which, when combined with the student's new and existing understanding and knowledge of the area of study, is structured into a sustained argument that addresses a specific legal question of the student's own choosing.
This module consists of researching and writing a dissertation project in the field of Law. The Dissertation will be 15,000 to 20,000 words in length. The dissertation topic will be confirmed in consultation with the supervising tutor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies.
The student will be expected to clearly understand the literature in their chosen field of study (primary and secondary sources). Should the project involve empirical research, then familiarity with techniques of data collection and analysis will be expected.
C- to C+ (50-59%) Displays ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing appropriate skills to conduct research. Work at threshold quality demonstrates an adequate knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, some of which is informed by thinking at the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a developing understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research. It shows an ability of apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced by the work indicates that the student can evaluate scholarship in the field.
B- to B+ (60-69%) Displays accomplished ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing good quality skills to conduct research. Good work in this module will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at, or informed by thinking at, the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.
A- to A* (70+%) Displays mastery of a complex and specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing advanced skills to conduct research. Excellent work in this module will contain the qualities recognized in good work, but will show them in a more consistent way, and at all points. It will demonstrate systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at the forefront of this academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research or to advanced scholarship. It shows throughout an ability to apply knowledge in an original way and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can critically evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline, and do so in a consistent manner. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where appropriate, propose hypotheses.
Appraise law, policy and other doctrines to an advanced level, demonstrating a comprehensive and deep understanding of the chosen area of study suitable for a dissertation at the postgraduate level, where appropriate, providing original analysis, criticism and proposals for reform.
Displays a manifest ability to communicate effectively in Welsh or English the findings of a significant legal research project, including organising those findings coherently and logically and using appropriate and consistent terminology appropriate to the chosen area of study.
Demonstrates the advanced level of skills necessary to investigate the chosen area of study in-depth, including the ability to search, synthesise and appraise the relevant literature, and appropriately referencing that literature.
Demonstrates the use of an appropriate methodology to explore the hypothesis advanced by the dissertation as relevant to the chosen area of study.
Demonstrates the ability to develop appropriately incisive research questions, which logically develop the hypothesis as advanced by the dissertation within the chosen area of study.
A dissertation of between 15,000 and 20,000 words.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
An individual project conducted under supervision with their supervisor
Throughout the dissertation period, students will have the opportunity to have one-to-one supervision meetings with their supervisor. These meetings are likely to discuss the research proposal, draft structures, draft chapters and the area of law in question. These sessions will be arranged between the student and the supervisor.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- demonstrate the ability to work with others in a team to achieve reasoned, critical, comparative perspectives upon legal questions.
- present reasoned, critical, comparative responses to the views of others on legal subjects within a Welsh, United Kingdom, European and/or global context;
- present to others from a specialist or non-specialist background, reasoned, critical, comparative presentations relating to legal subjects within a Welsh, United Kingdom, European and/or global context;
- write sustained critical expositions of any given area of the legal subjects studied and present the findings clearly, logically and coherently;
There is no set reading, as students are expected to undertake their own research under the guidance of their supervisor. However, students will have been given generic guidance on writing a dissertation in SXL-4009/4109/4119/4409 Legal Research Methods.
The reading list for Legal Research Methods includes the following:
• Steve Foster, How to Write Better Law Essays (4th edn, Pearson 2016)
• Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski, Legal Skills (7th edn, Oxford University Press 2019)
• J Holland and J Webb, Learning Legal Rules (10th edn, Oxford University Press 2019)
• ATH Smith, Glanville Williams: Learning the Law (16th edn, Sweet and Maxwell 2016)
• Rupert Haigh, Legal English (4th edn, Routledge 2015)
• Michael Salter and Julie Mason, Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research (2nd edn, Pearson 2012).
• Mike McConville and Wing Hong Chui, Research Methods for Law (2nd Edinburgh University Press 2016).
• Martin Davies, Study Skills for International Postgraduates (Palgrave 2011).
• David Madsen, Successful Dissertations and Theses: A Guide to Graduate Student Research from Proposal to Completion (2nd edn, Jossey-Bass 2013).
Pre- and Co-requisite Modules
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- M1AF: LLM International Commercial and Business Law year 1 (LLM/ICBL)
- M1AT: LLM International Criminal Law & Intl Human Rights Law year 1 (LLM/ICLHR)
- M1AO: LLM International Intellectual Property Law year 1 (LLM/IIPL)
- M1AI: LLM International Law year 1 (LLM/IL)
- M1AC: LLM Laws year 1 (LLM/LAW)
- M1AM: LLM Law and Criminology year 1 (LLM/LC)
- M1AR: LLM Maritime Law year 1 (LLM/MLAW)