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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Foundations of Legal Research
Module Code LG143
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Goran Dominioni
Semester 2: Goran Dominioni
Autumn: Goran Dominioni
Module TeachersGoran Dominioni
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
As original

This module aims to introduce students to important legal doctrines and enable them to understand how to find, use and understand key legal sources. The module aims to equip students with important skills in terms of how to undertake library-based and empirical legal research. The module aims to acquaint students with the key concepts and philosophical foundations that underlie legal reasoning and the function and role of law in social life. The aim is to develop analytical techniques at the beginning of the programme, which will be developed as students progress through their degree. Small-group seminars will enable students to develop these skills.

Learning Outcomes

1. Locate and utilise core legal sources in order to solve practical legal problems.
2. Locate and analyse case law and legislation.
3. Use legal databases
4. Undertake legal research both in terms of traditional library based research and empirical work (qualitative and quantitative).
5. Critically appraise the key concepts underlying legal reasoning.
6. Critically appraise the philosophical foundations of contemporary law.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Tutorial18No Description
Group work100Legal Research and Writing
Assignment Completion100Legal Comprehension
Assignment Completion100Legal Research Skills
Independent Study33No Description
Total Workload: 375

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative topics
Uncovering legal sources-how to use the law library. The use of legal databases and the Internet as a tool of legal research. Legal comprehension-reading legislation and case law, preparing case notes. Academic writing and research. Introduction to legal research methods. Quantitative legal research- interviewing, focus groups, case study research skills. Quantitative legal research- compiling and analysing statistical data, introduction to STATA. The process of law reform. Understanding legal reasoning. Law, justice and rights-the social bases of law; law as an instrument of social change; laws as an integrative mechanism; law, power and ideology

Students will be expected (via the guidelines, links and suggested readings on Moodle) to read case law and legislation, academic articles and core texts; participate in class discussions and keep abreast of ongoing developments in this area of law.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Practical/skills evaluationResearch skills30%Once per semester
ProjectLegal Comprehension30%Once per semester
Group project Legal Writing and Presentation Skills40%Once per semester
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Cotterrell: 0, The Sociology of Law: An Introduction (latest ed),
  • Higgins & Tatham: 0, Successful Legal Writing (latest ed),
  • Banaker & Travers: 0, Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research,
  • Hamilton: 0, Statistics With STATA,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BCLBachelor of Civil Law (Law & Society)

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