Introduction to MPhil/PhD Legal Research Methods

Introduction to MPhil/PhD Legal Research Methods
09 Jan 2017, 10:00 to 20 Jan 2017, 16:00
Research Training
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

Professor Lisa Webley, University of WestminsterDr Judith Townend, University of SussexProfessor Avrom Sherr, IALSDr Constantin Stephanou, IALSMiss Lisa Davies, IALSMs Laura Griffiths, IALS

Course Director:  Professor Lisa Webley, University of Westminster and IALS.  Teaching staff will include:   Professor Avrom Sherr, Dr Constantin Stefanou, Sylvie Bacquet, Marc Mason, and others.

Dates:  Formal Classes run from 9 January to 18 January 2017 and will consist of 16 2½ hour sessions. Meetings for Further Assistance with Method & Feedback Exercises will take place on 19and 20 January 2017.

Who should attend:  This course is suitable for research students undertaking the MPhil/PhD/LLD, or similar level of research.

Aims and Objectives:

This course aims to introduce a range of research methodologies  that may be relevant to MPhil/PhD research in law and legally related fields.  It also aims to improve your doctrinal research methods and/ or socio-legal research and allied skills depending on the parallel sessions that you choose to attend.  At the end of the course you should:

  • be familiar with the main schools of research theory;
  • be able to explain the relative merits and demerits of basic qualitative and quantitative research methodologies for a given legal research project;
  • be familiar with and have an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods (if you have selected these sessions as part of your optional classes);
  • be able to select an appropriate legal research methodology for a given legal research project and be aware of how you would go about using the methodology;
  • be able to use each of the main legal research techniques for a given research project;
  • be able to assess the relative importance of the main legal research techniques for a given research project;
  • have a basic understanding of data analysis issues, whether doctrinal or empirical;
  • be able to present legal research findings more effectively.

Course Outline

  • Introduction to Ph.D. research & theories of research; 
  • Reviewing the literature;
  • Policy analysis;
  • Qualitative Methods (1) Participant Observation & 3rd Party Observation; and Qualitative Methods (2) Interviewing & Group Interviewing;
  • Comparative Research (1) Comparative Concepts; and Comparative Research (2) EU; 
  • Quantitative Methods (1) Survey research;
  • Note-taking, Organisation & Data Management; Written Style & Writing Issues;
  • Electronic legal research;
  • As well as parallel sessions:  Option 1: Statutory Interpretation and Precedent in England and Wales for non-common law lawyers; English Legal System for non-common law jurisdiction students and/or non-lawyers; Option 2: Digital Methods in Legal Research: harnessing digital media to recruit, to collect, to disseminate; Option 3: Quantitative Methods (2) Data Analysis;  Option 4: Qualitative Methods (3) Analysis of qualitative data.

Note 1: the sessions listed above may vary from year to year.

Note 2: There is no formal (summative) assessment on this course although there are opportunities for you to receive feedback on your ideas and on written work.

Course Fee: £485.00.  (SAS MPhil/PhD students should contact Belinda Crothers, IALS Academic Programmes, direct about booking their place; and  QMUL MPhil/PhD students should contact the QMUL PhD Administrator, about attending).


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