LW7138 - Legal Research

What will I learn on this module?

This module provides you with an introduction to advanced legal research methods. It has been designed to ensure that you feel confident in embarking upon the research for your dissertation, and to support you in developing your proposal for your Masters dissertation. During this module you will undertake a range of tasks which aim to develop your understanding of effective academic legal research, critical legal thinking and writing.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be taught using a mixture of lectures, weekly hour-long small group interactive small group sessions, and directed learning. Lectures, in particular, will enable you to develop your understanding of what constitutes good legal research and writing, how to reference and evaluate your sources, and how to develop an effective research question. During your weekly small group sessions you will be asked to undertake legal research, to consider how to effectively reference sources, and to reflect upon how best to present your findings. You will then receive feedback upon these research, referencing and writing tasks and will be encouraged to reflect upon how that feedback can be used to improve your research and writing. Your module is supported by a range of electronic materials, which are made available to all students via the elearning platform (Blackboard Ultra). These include lecture recordings, written guidance, templates and worked examples. You will receive a module handbook and a learning and teaching schedule which outlines the formal sessions (lectures and small group sessions) and provides details of tutor-directed and independent study/learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported in a number of ways.

This module will be designed and managed by your designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions including notes for lectures and workshops will be accessible on-line through Blackboard Ultra. The site is maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide guidance on any other issues that they consider relevant to your studies. You will receive oral feedback from your tutors upon the work that you complete for and during the workshops. Your tutors will also be very happy to answer any questions that you may have on any aspect of the module.

The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources, a range of materials designed to support the development of students’ study skills, and software including bibliographic software such as Endnote.
At programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole. The Programme Administration and Student Liaison teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the module, such as receiving your completed assignment, returning your marked assignment and recording your marks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

By the end of this module you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

Module learning outcome 1: Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of legal research methods, and understand how to locate, use, critically evaluate and accurately cite case law, legislation, and appropriate secondary legal and non-legal sources

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

Module learning outcome 2: Plan and conduct self-directed research

Module learning outcome 3: Present your findings clearly using appropriate referencing

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

Module learning outcome 4: Reflect upon your own and others’ functioning in order to improve practice.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:

You will undertake a number of research, referencing and writing activities during and in preparation for the weekly small group sessions. You will also be asked to prepare a short presentation detailing your proposed research topic for your dissertation and your strategy for researching that topic. You will receive feedback upon all activities undertaken as part of the small group sessions. Feedback will be provided in these sessions by your tutor. You will also be supported to undertake review and offer feedback on each others’ work.

You will be encouraged to consider how the feedback you receive can be used to help you as you begin planning, researching and writing your masters dissertation. Assessment criteria are provided to enable you to understand what is expected of you both on this module and in your dissertation and how you will be judged on your performance in both modules.

All module learning outcomes will be addressed in the formative exercises.

Summative assessment:

The module is assessed by a single end point assessment. This assessment comprises two elements:

a draft dissertation proposal (max 2000 words excluding bibliography)

a literature review of an article or textbook included with your proposal’s bibliography and that you intend to use in writing your dissertation. You should explain why you have chosen this article or textbook and how it will be used in the development of your dissertation(max 1000 words)

The assessment will assess all module learning outcomes. Your assignment will be submitted via Turnitin. Detailed written feedback on your project proposal and your literature review piece will be provided via Turnitin. You are encouraged to then use this feedback to reflect on any changes that might need to be made to your project proposal or to the sources that you use, and to discuss your reflections with your project supervisor.





Module abstract

This module aims to develop your ability to undertake academic legal research at Masters level. It has been designed to ensure that all students registered on the LLM in Professional Legal Practice will be able to confidently embark on their Masters dissertation. You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, workshops. Lectures, in particular, will enable you to develop your understanding of legal research approaches and strategies, referencing and evaluating sources. The workshops will provide a supportive environment in which you will undertake and receive feedback upon a series of research, referencing and writing tasks. In addition, your module is supported by a range of online materials.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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