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Unit information: Advanced Legal and Socio-Legal Research Methods in 2023/24

Unit name Advanced Legal and Socio-Legal Research Methods
Unit code LAWDM0084
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Sheldon
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


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School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

This unit provides a core element in the MSc in Socio-Legal Studies. It concentrates on advanced legal and, more specifically, socio-legal research methods. It includes: statutory interpretation and precedent; doctrinal legal methods (including library based research and case analysis); socio-legal methods (including examination of a range of methods and ethical issues drawn from diverse fields of socio-legal scholarship). The latter varies but may include consideration of feminist scholarship, legal consciousness, research ethics and draws upon a range of interdisciplinary sources from the social sciences and humanities.

Your learning on this unit

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

  • explain and critically assess the structure and methods of the English Legal System;
  • explain and critically assess a range of socio-legal methods and issues in research ethics;
  • utilise this knowledge and these methods in their writing and research In relation to c) they should be able to assess research proposals and develop their own research proposals, considering the usefulness and appropriateness of different methods as well as the ethical issues raised by a proposal.

This unit is also intended to improve skills relating to research – in particular, the ability to assess and write research proposals. The research proposal provides a means of assessing what they have learned throughout the unit and whether they are able not only to think critically about it but also to utilise it in devising their own programmes of research.

How you will learn

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

How you will be assessed

5,000 word research proposal (100%)

This assessment will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWDM0084).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the University Workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. For appropriate assessments, if you have self-certificated your absence, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (for assessments at the end of TB1 and TB2 this is usually in the next re-assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any exceptional circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.