LL4F9      Half Unit
Legal Research and Writing Skills

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joanne Braithwaite NAB7.28


This course is compulsory on the Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course on Legal Research and Writing has a taught component focusing on research and writing skills and a stand-alone dissertation (details about which may be found in the LLM Handbook), to be written in a substantive law area of the student’s choice.

The two components will be carefully integrated. Over the taught part of the course, students should gain a better understanding of:

  • The nature of research in general; the distinctive features (if any) of legal research and the range of questions and research methodologies to be found within legal scholarship
  • Doing legal research, including research design, resource identification and searching for relevant materials; legal referencing and citation skills.
  • Writing skills, relating to both the process of writing, as well as the end product; presenting findings to different audiences etc.

Topics for the lectures will be: (1) Choosing your dissertation topic; (2) Research methods; (3) Writing skills; (4) Library skills, referencing and plagiarism. 

The two tutorials will have a small group format (usually 4-5 students in each tutorial) and will focus on: (1) Preparing your research proposal; (2) Writing skills.

The course will also offer the opportunity to participate in workshops.  In previous years these have addressed 'choosing your topic' and 'referencing and plagiarism'.  There are also skills sessions run by the LSE Library designed for students on this course to develop their legal research skills and awareness of the resources on offer in the LSE Library and beyond. 


8 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Teaching will consist of: (a) Four 120 minute lectures in LT; (b) One 60 minute tutorial in LT and one 60 minute tutorial in ST; (c) One 120 minute library workshop; (d) The course also runs a series of Evening Workshops.

Formative coursework

Students will be invited to prepare a short writing sample for the second tutorial on 'Writing skills'.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) post-summer term.

See the LLM handbook for full details and regulations about the dissertation. 

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 269

Average class size 2015/16: 5

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information