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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2021 - 2022

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 the main methodological approaches to 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 and critical legal 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 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: Theory, Methods and Interdisciplinarity
A general overview of the role of theory and methods in social sciences in general and in relation to law and public policy in particular. General guidelines on how (not) to formulate a research question.

Legal Positivism and Realism
An overview of positivist and realist approaches to law, including questions of legal interpretation and adjudication.

An Introduction to Critical Legal Studies
An introduction to Critical Legal Studies with a particular emphasis on alternatives to positivist theories of legal interpretation and their implications for the ways in which research questions are framed.

Feminist, Queer and Critical Race Perspectives
A session exploring feminist, queer and critical race perspectives with a particular emphasis on the ways in which these questions can be integrated in legal research.

Law and Economics
An overview of the law and economics school and its approach to law and regulation.

Socio-Legal Studies and Comparative Law
An overview of the questions explored by socio-legal studies and comparative law, including their relationship to social theory.

Methodology and EU Law
A session dedicated to the specific questions raised by EU law and EU legal scholarship including methodological aspects and shifts.

Law and Governance
A session exploring the ways in which law can be approached as part of various forms and techniques of transnational governance, including European sites of governance.

Methodologies in Policy Research: Quantitative Approaches
A session introducing students to the application of social scientific inquiry to public policy analysis with a particular emphasis on quantitative approaches.

Qualitative Approaches and Critical Policy Studies
A session introducing students to qualitative approaches to policy research, including interpretation, and examining the ways in which questions are framed in critical policy studies.

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

  • Banakar and Travers (eds): 2002, An Introduction to Law and Social Theory,
  • John Levi Martin: 2017, Thinking Through Methods: A Social Science Primer, The University of Chicago Press,
  • Frank Fischer & Gerald J. Miller (eds.): 2006, Hanbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics and Methods,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes