LEGAL509-19A (HAM)

Legal Research: Theory and Methods

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law Dean's Office

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: carolyne.taylor@waikato.ac.nz
: em.pooley@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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This compulsory paper for the Master of Laws (LLM) degree will introduce students to the important elements and aspects of legal research and help them develop the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake scholarly research and writing. This paper will guide students through the different steps of the research and writing process from choosing a research topic and formulating research questions to organising, presenting and writing their findings and analysis. These learnings and skills are essential for students who intend to write a research proposal, research paper, dissertation or thesis as part of their studies.

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Paper Structure

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The paper is taught by way of a two-hour weekly lecture.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Select a research topic that is relevant, feasible and sufficiently narrow
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Formulate clear and precise research questions for a research proposal or research paper
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  • Organise, outline and structure the various parts and areas of their research
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  • Acquire knowledge of theories and methodologies as well as practical experience with research methods
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  • Give a presentation about their research
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Write a research proposal or research paper on their chosen research topic
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment

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Research topic and questions assignment

Students must submit a statement of their chosen research topic and research questions and the background and significance of the research. The statement should have a maximum of 1,500 words (excluding footnotes).

Presentation

Students will give an oral presentation in class about their research following the pecha kucha presentation style.

Final paper

A student has a choice of submitting either: (a) a research proposal or (b) a research paper on their chosen research topic. The final paper should have a maximum of 5,000 words (excluding footnotes and bibliography).

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Class participation
10
  • In Class: In Lecture
2. Research topic and questions assignment
25 Mar 2019
5:00 PM
20
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Oral presentation
30
  • In Class: In Lecture
4. Final paper
40
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Required and recommended readings are available on Moodle and the Reading List for this paper.
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Recommended Readings

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Mary-Rose Russell (ed), Legal Research in New Zealand (LexisNexis 2016)

Richard Scragg (ed), Legal Writing: A Complete Guide for a Career in Law (LexisNexis 2015)

Ian Curry-Sumner and others, Research Skills: Instruction for Lawyers (Ars Aequi Libri 2010)
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Online Support

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Online support for this paper is provided via Moodle.

If you require assistance with Moodle, or encounter any problems, please contact the Help Desk. You can send a message to Help Desk by using the instant message service in your paper’s Moodle site (from the participants list within the People block). Alternatively, you can email them directly at help@waikato.ac.nz or call 838 4008.

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Workload

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Students should expect to spend 150 hours in total on this paper. In addition to lecture attendance, significant time will need to be spent on background and complementary reading. Students should allow for periods of more ­focused research time in the preparation of assignments and presentations.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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This is a compulsory paper for the Master of Laws (LLM) degree.
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Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: LAWS509

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