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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2018 - 2019

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The module serves as a general methodology module for the Masters in European Law and Public Policy. It covers all major methodological approaches to EU law and to public policy and the intersection between these two fields.

Learning Outcomes

1. Acquire knowledge about academic legal research and the diverse approaches towards legal investigation and analysis including comparative, socio-legal, law and economics, critical and feminist approaches
2. Locate and access legal data, particularly EU legal databases and resources
3. Critically evaluate in writing and orally methodologies employed in legal and public policy research.
4. Adopt and adapt a particular methodology or combination of methodologies to a both small and large research projects in the fields of law and public policy
5. Be able to integrate legal analysis in public policy design and public policy questions into legal analysis through an inter-disciplinary approach.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Interactive lectures delivered by lecturers of the School, covering a variety of legal and public policy research methodologies
Class Presentation20Preparation and delivery of a presentation based on a research plan to the class.
Assignment Completion70Development of a dissertation proposal in the field of EU law and/or public policy.
Independent Study138Reading assigned texts and conducting independent research.
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

Introduction to Theory and Methodology
A general overview of the role of theory and methodology in social sciences in general and in relation to law and public policy in particular. An assessment of empirical and positivism and non-empirical approaches to social science research.

Positivism and the Law
An introduction and approach to positivist approaches to the law and in particular legal interpretation including a brief overview of analytical legal theory and interpretative approaches.

Realism and Law and Economics
An overview of realist theories of the law (in particular American realism) and the law and economics school and its approach to law and regulation.

Critical Legal Studies and Feminist Approaches
An introduction to CLS and Feminism approaches to the law with a particular emphasis on critical and feminist interpretative methodologies and their difference from traditional approaches.

Socio-Legal and Comparative Law Studies
An assessment of a socio-legal methodologies including integrating empirical sociological studies and social theory into the law. An introduction to comparative law and the comparative methodology. An assessment of the relationship between law and different societies and their mutual influence.

The Methodology of EU Law
A session dedicated to the specific questions raised by EU law and EU legal scholarship including its multi-national nature, the particular nature of the EU legal system and the diverse traditions in EU legal scholarship.

Law and Governance
A session integrating questions of law and public policy and in particular viewing the role of law in diverse forms and techniques of governance with a particular emphasis on transnational and European sites of governance.

Social Scientific Inquiry and Public Policy Analysis
A session introducing students to modern social scientific inquiry and its application to public policy analysis, including how to design and frame policy research questions, and the logic of descriptive and causal inference.

Qualitative Approaches to Policy and Political Research
A session introducing students to the qualitative method, including interpretation and inference, comparative case studies, constructing causal theories, and dependent and explanatory variables.

An Introduction to Quantitative Policy and Political Research
A session introducing students to basic statistical analysis with demonstrations of how it applies to policy and political analysis.

An Introduction to Experimental Methods in Evidence-Based Policy Analysis
A session introducing students to experimental methods in evidence-based policy analysis, including RCTs, field and lab experiments.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • Kerry Howell: 2013, The Philosophy of Methodolgy, Sage Publishing,
  • N Douglas Lewis: 2001, Law and Governance, Routledge - Cavendish,
  • Banakar and Travers (eds): 2002, An Introduction to Law and Social Theory,
  • King, G., Keohane, RO & Verba S: 1994, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research,
  • Brady & Collier (eds): 2010, Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards, Rowman & Littlefield,
  • Bardach, Eugene: 2012, A Practical Guide to Policy Analysis, 4, Sage,
  • Cartwright, Nancy & Hardie, Jeremy: 2012, Evidence Based Policy - A Practical Guide to Doing it Better, OUP,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes