DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Legal and Socio-Legal Research Skills
Module Code LG5028
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Lauren O'Connell
Semester 2: Lauren O'Connell
Autumn: Lauren O'Connell
Module TeachersLauren O'Connell
Emma Mcevoy
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

The aim of this module is to prepare students for engagement with post-graduate level with research and socio-legal aspects of all LLM modules. It considers debates surrounding methodological issues in and analytical techniques appropriate to socio-legal research as contrasted with and complementary to doctrinal legal research. It encourages students to critically engage with the variety of methodologies available in a socio-legal perspective and in particular students will be asked to identify how specific theoretical frameworks for research have influenced choice of methodology, methods and the subsequent interpretation of data.

Learning Outcomes

1. Acquire knowledge about how key disciplines—such as politics, sociology, law, anthropology and psychology— contribute to socio-legal research.
2. Locate and access legal data using a range of research skills and legal databases.
3. Recognise and critically evaluate diverse techniques involved in gathering and analysing empirical data, both quantitative and qualitative, in a socio-legal context;
4. Be able to critically evaluate in writing and orally the issues involved in application of research design to socio-legal research questions
5. Be aware of the range of ethical issues involved in empirical research in law
6. Be able to incorporate research design in research papers throughout the year

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 hour lecture, class participation expected
Independent Study226Research, Reading, Completing Assignment
Total Workload: 250

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

Law and Society Movement and introduction to socio-legal methods

Library Session: Legal and Socio-Legal Databases

Methodological issues in legal and socio-legal research: positivist and interpretive approaches

Methodological issues in legal and socio-legal research: legal realism and law and economics

Methodological issues in legal and socio-legal research: critical and feminist perspectives

Comparative Methods: cross-cultural and cross-jurisdictional issues

Research Design: theory, methodology and inter-disciplinarity

Freedom of Information: Legal, political and internet issues

Research Ethics and Empirical Research in Law: Issues, Codes and Implications

Quantitative methods in socio-legal research

Qualitative methods in socio-legal research

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperPractical research design exercise50%n/a
Research PaperPractical research exercise on qualitative or quantitative methods50%n/a
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

  • Banakar, R. and Travers M. (eds.): 2002, An Introduction to Law and Social Theory, Hart Publishing,
  • Banakar, R. and Travers M. (eds): 2005, Theory and Method in Socio-Legal Research, Hart,
  • Halliday and Schmidt P (eds): 2009, Conducting law and Society Research: Reflections on methods and Practices,, Cambridge University Press,
  • Punch, M.: 1986, The Politics and Ethics of Fieldwork, (Qualitative Research Methods Series, Sage University Press),
  • Durdella, N.: 2018, Qualitative Dissertation Methodology A Guide for Research Design and Methods, Sage, 9781506345161
  • Lichtman, M.: 2014, Qualitative Research for the Social Sciences, Sage, 9781412998642
  • Seawright, J.: 2016, Multi-method Social Science: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools, Cambridge University Press, 978-110748373
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
EMLDAIEM in Law, Data &Artificial Intelligence
MDPPLCMA in Data Protection and Privacy: Law
MPLGMPhil (Law & Government)

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement