Socio-legal Research Methods (573X8)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

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.


100%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 12 hours of contact time and about 138 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.