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Study information

Research Paper

Module titleResearch Paper
Module codeLAW3151A
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Ben Hudson (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module, you will produce a research paper on a legal, comparative legal or socio-legal topic of your choice that is agreed by the Law School. Writing a research paper provides you with the opportunity to critically engage with a topic that is of particular interest to you, and enables you to develop a deeper and more rigorous understanding of that topic. A research paper gives you the chance to develop your independent research skills and the ability to explore issues in greater depth, and to present legal arguments and analyses in relation to your chosen area of law using appropriate methods and methodologies. You will be largely responsible for determining your own work schedule, guided by a Law School staff member assigned to you as your supervisor.


Please note that this module cannot be taken with any of the following modules: LAW3047 Dissertation, LAW3151B Research Paper.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the module is to give you the opportunity to develop further your independent research and argumentation skills, and to acquire knowledge and develop understanding of a specialist topic in law. The module also aims to encourage and inspire you to engage critically with legal research and scholarship on a specific research question. It provides particularly good experience in carrying out and presenting legal research if you are considering postgraduate study in the future.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. identify, define and construct a critical analysis of a discrete research topic in law;
  • 2. identify and define key research question(s) about the chosen research topic;
  • 3. demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the selected legal issues acquired through independent research and study;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. integrate and assess information from a comprehensive range of relevant legal materials;
  • 5. demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of complex legal issues and their contextual implications, where relevant;
  • 6. evaluate critically the materials considered and used for the research paper;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. plan and undertake tasks efficiently, to reflect critically on the learning process and to make effective use of feedback from the supervision process;
  • 8. work independently, to manage time efficiently and meet strict deadlines;
  • 9. develop and structure an argument over a sustained piece of writing and in an effective manner;

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • Whole cohort research training sessions that support you to get started with your research, on topics such as ideas mapping and setting research questions, research methods and methodologies, advanced library skills, and producing extended writing in law.
  • Individual supervision meetings with your assigned supervisor.
  • Peer-facilitated learning spaces.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 x 1 hour individual supervision meetings
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities64 x 1.5 hour whole cohort research training sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities63 x 2 hour peer-facilitated sessions
Guided independent study6Learning log
Guided independent study16Identifying and locating research materials
Guided Independent Study 57Drafting and writing up
Guided Independent Study57Carrying out research, reading and taking notes

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Learning logApproximately 200 words per week1-2, 4, 6-9You may discuss with your supervisor and/or peer facilitator specific issues arising in your research that are noted in your learning log.
Draft section(s) of your research paper1,500 words1-9Individual oral and written feedback from your supervisor.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research paper1004,500 words1-9Individual written feedback; oral feedback upon request

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research paperResearch paper (4,500 words)1-9August/September re-assessment period

Re-assessment notes

It is expected that students who fail their research paper will re-submit it on the same topic to reflect on and learn from the feedback they will have received on the research paper originally submitted. Any derogation from this will have to be discussed with and approved by the module convenor.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


  • R Huxley-Binns et al, Unlocking Legal Learning (Hodder Arnold 2005)


  • M Salter and J Mason, Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research (Longman 2007)


  • M McConville, Research Methods for Law (Edinburgh University Press 2007)


  • R Banaker and M Travers, Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research (Hart 2005)

Key words search

Law, Research, Legal Issues

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date