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, IALS/WestminsterDr Judith Townend, University of Sussex Professor Avrom Sherr, IALSDr Constantin Stephanou, IALSMiss Lisa Davies, IALS 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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