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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 09/06/2022 12:24:22

Title of Module: Legal Research Methods

Code: LAWW09002 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Dr Samuel  White

Summary of Module

This module equips the student with a range of intellectual, research and personal skills required for the effective research, communication and presentation of information, knowledge and legal concepts. There will be a series of workshops which introduce students to particular aspects of the research process. These workshops  are supported by means of fortnightly practical tasks which must be completed which challenge students to put the theory of research into practice.  In addition to the workshops,  students will be encouraged to do their own, and directed, reading through the use of specified texts and non-assessed independent learning activities.

This module equips the student with the necessary skills to tackle a piece of legal research, in particular their dissertation, in an effective and logical manner.

  • To prepare students for undertaking advanced legal research, in particular the level 10 dissertation in law.

  • To introduce students to a variety of legal research methods.

  • To introduce students to concepts including ethics and standards in legal research.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. critically discuss methodologies appropriate to legal research

L2. critically evaluate examples of legal research and socio-legal research

L3. engage with contemporary sociological and legal research methods.

L4. Reflect on their own learning style and needs and to develop strategies for addressing any problem areas in their learning.

L5. utilise the library and electronic resources to conduct legal research.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Demonstrating in depth knowledge and application of legal research techniques.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Using knowledge and understanding of the law, and legal research methods and skills, to critically evaluate the various research techniques;
Retrieve information from legal databases.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Bringing together information from a variety of research sources, both written and electronic.
Making critical judgments of the merits of different research methods, and making an appropriate and reasoned choice between alternative research methods.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Communicating effectively and appropriately, both orally and in writing;
Interpreting complex primary materials;
Making effective use of information retrieval systems and use information technology applications to show an understanding of legal research techniques.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Identifying and addressing their own learning needs and undertaking independent learning with guidance.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below. This module includes an additional 18 hours of study for Personal Development Planning. These additional hours are intended to prepare students for the transition from SCQF level 9 to SCQF level 10 and for those not continuing their education, to encourage the students to reflect on their employability and address any employability needs they may have.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Asynchronous Class Activity24
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

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

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
attendance at scheduled classes, engagement with asynchronous activities, engagement with materials on the VLE, submission of the assessments

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardAccounting, Finance and Law
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelAccounting, Finance & Law
ModeratorDr Carolynn Gray
External ExaminerDr David Hill
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Research question and aims 15%
Literature Review 35%
Presentation 50%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay check markcheck markcheck mark 150

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay check mark check markcheck mark350

Component 3
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark500
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Every effort will be made to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School. The module has been designed to take account of increases in the diversity of the student body and in this respect, the approach is "learner centred". Staff are expected to work alongside students and learning support staff to personalise the delivery of this module. This module offers students the opportunity to celebrate differences in personal, academic and employability skills. Through the use of problem based activities, students are encouraged to explore and share diverse experience of learning and skills development.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

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University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.