LAW08028 0000 Research Methods with Law

General Details

Full Title
Research Methods with Law
Transcript Title
Research Methods with Law
N/A %
Subject Area
LAW - Law
SOCS - Social Sciences
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
0000 - The Beginning of Time
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Ruth Walsh, Breda McTaggart, Aine Doherty, Esther Quinn, Dr. Leonard Taylor
Programme Membership
SG_GLAWB_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Law and Business

The aim of this module is to equip learners with the skills and competencies necessary to begin the research journey and complete a level 8 dissertation or an applied research project with a focus on law and business. This module will build on students' previous knowledge in research methods and techniques, as well as introduces key concepts in the research journey. Core taught skills will include developing a research proposal or an applied research project, a research hypothesis or problem, and understanding research methodologies. Students will learn how to develop a literature review, and create a bibliography. Other skills developed with include legal writing principles, methods for citing legal sources, searching library and Internet resources for researching law, and understanding legal ethics. At the end of the module students will be asked to present a research proposal in preparation for their dissertation or applied research project, and apply for ethical approval.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Evaluate the critical role of legal research in the research journey and have an appreciation of its use.


Consider and develop a research question or identify an applied research problem and evaluate the most appropriate research methodology.


Demonstrate the ability to complete effective desk research by formulating a literature review or on site evaluation by formulating a solution focused report.


Demonstrate an understanding of legal methods appropriate to research studies, including using legal citations, and case law and legislation.


Illustrate the importance of ethics and professionalism in research by completing an ethics application.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The teaching and learning strategy is one which is founded on student-centered active learning. The module is designed to accommodate blended learning.  A range of Computer-Aided Learning (CALL) packages are available to support this module (e.g. Moodle, Adobe Connect, Panopto, Teams).

Module Assessment Strategies

This module will be assessed by the creation of a research proposal, which will include for example, a research hypothesis, a methodology section, a comprehensive literature review, and bibliography. The research proposal will be used for each students final year dissertation. Students will complete an Institutional Ethics Application form. The module is 100% Continuous Assessment. Students will receive feedback during the continuous assessment process.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat requirements will be decided at Exam Boards but will be most likely consist of a written submission.  Assessments will be in the same format or varied where appropriate.

Indicative Syllabus

This module may include the following material:

Research Methods (LO 1 & LO 5)

  • Definition and scope of legal research
  • Ethics in research
  • The research cycle
  • The role of archives in legal research

Literature Review (LO 2)

  • Assess the scope and limits of research problem
  • Identifying the research hypothesis or structuring the applied research project
  • Use of legal source in literature reviews and reports

Methodologies in Legal Research (LO 3)

  • Explore and examine potential research questions
  • Identify research methodologies and methods 
  • Solution focused Report writing
  • Black-Letter approaches to dissertation research
  • Socio-legal methods of legal study

Data Collection and Analysis (LO4)

  • Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative data in legal research
  • The applied research project portfolio
  • Sampling and sample methods
  • The role of focus groups, in-depth interview and projective techniques as a method for collecting data
  • The use of surveys, observation and panels as a method for collecting data

Legal writing (LO 5)

  • Effective academic and applied legal writing in research
  • Using legal citations, case law and legislation

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Written research proposal or applied project proposal Continuous Assessment Project 95 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4,5
2 Institute Ethics Form Continuous Assessment Written Report 5 % Week 10 1,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom Tutorial 1 Weekly 1.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent Learning 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2007 Writing Law Dissertations Pearson Education
ISBN 0582894352 ISBN-13 9780582894358

This book covers legal dissertation level research, embracing both LL.B. and the specific demands of LL.M. dissertations. Adopting a highly practical approach, this book shows the reader how to research and write a dissertation, covering the various stages - planning, identifying key issues, utilising the appropriate research methods, time management issues, and managing one's supervision. KEY FEATURES * Shows how to avoid common stylistic and substantive pitfalls * Discusses the character and pros and cons of adopting law and policy methods for defining the issues and conducting legal research - including black letter, socio-legal, interpretive, experiential * A running example throughout the text illustrates the various points made in each section and provides continuity

Required Reading
2009 Research Methods for Business Students Pearson Education
ISBN 0273716867 ISBN-13 9780273716860

Brings the theory, philosophy and techniques of research to life and enables students to understand the relevance of the research methods. This book helps you learn from worked examples and case studies based on real student research, illustrating what to do and what not to do in your project.

Recommended Reading
2019-03-01 Exploring the 'Legal' in Socio-Legal Studies Springer
ISBN 9781137344373 ISBN-13 1137344377

Socio-legal studies have had an ambivalent relationship with the 'legal' one of its defining aspects, but at the same time one that the discipline has sought to transcend or even leave behind. While socio-legal studies benefit hugely from the insights, methods and theories of other social science and humanity disciplines, the contributions to Exploring the 'Legal' in Socio-Legal Studies illustrate the value of a focus on the 'legal'. The chapters in this book combine traditional legal materials and analyses with other ways of engaging empirically with the 'legal'. They illustrate the rich potential of the 'legal' as a site both for theoretical and methodological reflection and for case study analysis. Taken as a whole, this volume demonstrates that methodological discussion is most helpful when rooted in empirical cases, and that the best case studies also help us to develop our methodologies. Bringing methodology and empirical analysis together offers an opportunity to reflect on socio-legal studies and develop the discipline in productive new directions.

Recommended Reading
2007-09-10 Research Methods for Graduate Business and Social Science Students SAGE Publications Pvt. Limited
ISBN UOM:39015073985601

Research Methods for Graduate Business and Social Science Students is a fundamental and easy guide to studying research methods. In addition to the general concepts relating to research methods, broad research issues and theoretical concepts critical to research are discussed. The book is written in a reader-friendly manner and contains plenty of examples and helpful practical exercises at the end of each chapter to reinforce and enjoy learning.

Recommended Reading
2016-01-22 Legal Research Methods
ISBN 1905536763 ISBN-13 9781905536764

The transition from undergraduate study to postgraduate study in law has traditionally been somewhat seamless: students are typically enculturated into the discipline of law, and have engaged in a variety of writing and research exercises throughout their undergraduate degree. However, the nature of legal research is changing dramatically, with more emphasis being put on how we are researching, rather than what we are researching. Undergraduate students are increasingly engaging in primary research as part of their degree, and typically borrow from other disciplines to do so. The reason for this is that, to date, there has been little importance placed on research methods in law. This book aims to rectify this in a manner which is suitable for students, not only in Ireland but internationally. Legal Research Methods: Principles and Practicalities is tailored to the needs of researchers in examining varying methodological approaches from a practical perspective. In addition to the principal approaches now commonly used in legal research (the doctrinal method; the socio-legal method; the historical method; and the comparative method) issues such as participatory and community-based research, as well as empirical methods, are examined by leading experts in their fields in a critical but clear manner. The book outlines the various types of methodologies, with authors drawing on their own experiences and expertise to examine the benefits and pitfalls involved in each method. This allows the reader to determine the usefulness of any method to their own research, and aids them in employing these methods and avoiding any pitfalls. [Subject: Legal Research Methods]~

Recommended Reading
2017-01-18 Research Methods for Law Research Methods for the Arts and Humanities
ISBN 1474403212 ISBN-13 9781474403214

Introduces students to legalistic, theoretical, empirical, comparative and cross-disciplinary research methods, grounded in working examples. Drawing on actual research projects, Research Methods for Lawdiscusses how legal research as process impacts on research as product. The author team has a broad range of teaching and research experience in law, criminal justice and socio-legal studies, and give examples from real-life research products to illustrate the theory. New for this edition: a new chapter on inter- and cross-disciplinary research - essential reading for international students and students with a non-law first degree undertaking research in the areas of law, criminology, psychology and sociology; research ethics has been expanded to a full chapter that includes current plagiarism and imperfect disclosure; existing chapters have been brought up-to-date with the newest thinking in legal research.

Recommended Reading
2017-01-12 Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing Pearson
ISBN 0134559843 ISBN-13 9780134559841

The basics of legal research, analysis, and writing in a practical, relevant approach Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing gives students the essential knowledge and tools they need to research and analyze a legal problem and communicate the results in diverse forms of legal memoranda. Covering both traditional and free Internet research, the book's practical, relevant approach provides a number of outstanding teaching and learning aids, among them short memos with hypothetical factual situations for students to research, research and writing exercises and assignments, writing examples and exercises, online research exercises, citation exercises, numerous sample pages and screenshots, legal research problems with answers, checklists for research and writing, and an Instructor's Manual. The Sixth Edition updates and expands many of the examples and exercises used throughout the text to give students the latest information available.

Recommended Reading
2016 Effective Legal Research
ISBN 0414051912 ISBN-13 9780414051911

Researching and tracing information is an essential skill that students need to master in order to succeed in their legal studies and future careers. This practical guide to effective legal research presents the information in a step-by-step format leading students through the world of legal research both in a law library and researching online

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources
Journal Resources
URL Resources

British and Irish Legal Information Institute

Irish Legal Information Initiative

Irish Courts Service

Citizens Information

Irish Legal Periodicals

Irish Statute Book

Houses of the Oireachtais

Law Reform Commission

Other Resources
Additional Information