Such a methodology does give rise to a wide variety of ways in which to approach the topic including research on lawyer-client interactions stemming from interviews, public opinion polls commissioned by lawyers’ organisations and reports from lawyers’ disciplinary studies.
It should be appreciated however that such research is far more time consuming that the traditional black-letter methodology referred to above. [Accessed 7 September 2019]; Available from: https://
The key thing is that the work must not reproduce existing knowledge.
For example, a thesis on the topic ‘Affirmative action and the case-law of the US Supreme Court’ is unlikely to be sufficiently original (given that this has been the subject of a lot of academic literature).
Under the University of Leicester’s regulations, a Ph D thesis has a maximum length of 80,000 words.
It must be a work of advanced study and research, containing original work and material deemed worthy of publication (as judged ultimately by the final examiners).
An alternative methodology is to adopt a sociological approach, which is likely to include both qualitative and quantitative research methods, to look at the impact of the law in action and the role played by public policy.
This methodology may appeal to those students from a social sciences background, those with a prior background in legal practice or those not working towards a ‘pure’ law degree.
This method of dissertation research aims to reduce the study of law to an essentially descriptive analysis of a large number of technical and co-ordinated legal rules to be found in primary sources.
The primary aim of this method of research is to collate, organise and describe legal rules and to offer commentary on the emergence and significance of the authoritative legal sources in which such rules are considered, in particular, case law, with the aim of identifying an underlying system.