Socio-legal Research Methods

Module code: 573X8
Level 7 (Masters)
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

The focus of this module is on research methods in socio-legal studies. The module will explore what is meant by socio-legal research and its differentiation from doctrinal research in law through its empirical study of legal phenomena in a broader context in order to identify their social effects and policy implications. The module will enable you to engage with the empirical reality of the operation of law and legal structures ('law in action' as opposed to 'law in the books') and will promote a contextual understanding of legal studies through an interdisciplinary approach using social science research methods as a mode to conduct legal inquiry. Thus the module will interrogate law through the use of other disciplines such as sociology, social theory, political theory, feminist theory, critical race theory, philosophy and eoconomics. Examples of socio-legal research in the areas of social, political and economic regulation and governance together with the fields of gender, sexuality and race will be examined.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of recent advances in Socio-Legal Research Methods
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles behind the range of analytic techniques inherent within Socio-Legal Research Methods
  • Evaluate the suitability of existing measures, techniques and models to address a research question and identify constraints imposed by resaerch designs and available measures
  • Understand and demonstrate the ways in which research in law goes beyond doctrinal legal methods and requires engagement with a broader social context