Legal Methodology

Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

By the end of the course,
- you will have a clear understanding of legal research methods and be
able to apply them in your research;
- in particular, you will be able to apply the „doctrinal method“,
understand the process of legal reasoning, understand the role of
(non-legal) factual statements in legal discourse and be able identify
ideologically biased claims, understand the role of „storytelling“ in
legal discourse and identify different analytical approaches to
doctrinal research.
- You will have a basic understanding of non-doctrinal legal research
- You will be able to map a research area, draft research questions
appropriate for a master thesis, develop a functional
analytical structure, access relevant academic research resources,
identify and avoid plagiarism, and pursue a
functional writing strategy.
- You will be able to analyze legal academic texts from a methodical
perspective, and identify methodical problems.

Inhoud vak

What is the point of this course?
Science is a process of gaining knowledge; research methods are ways of
doing so. Not following accepted methods makes the research deficient in
the eyes of the scientific community. The appropriate scientific method
depends on the object of study and the research question asked. A master
degree in law has to prepare you for conducting scientific legal
research, most
notably in your master thesis. This course is one element of your
scientific training; other elements include the research tasks that you
are assigned in your substantive legal courses, the thesis supervision
process, and the thesis research itself.

„Methodology“ is the study of scientific methods; „legal methodology“ is
the study of methods employed in legal research. A methodological course
does not deal with the substantive content of your research, but focuses
exclusively on the analytical tools that you employ. It will help you
design a research project that conforms to the scientific requirements
of the legal discipline, and to identify methodical problems and avoid

Each course unit contains a module on methods, and one module on
research+writing skills.

Method modules:
- What is the „doctrinal method“ (=“legal method“)?
- Which non-doctrinal methods are available for legal research?
- Why are (non-legal) facts part of legal discourse, and which problems
does this potentially entail? (non-legal expertise in law; ideology in
legal discourse)
- When is a statement about the law considered correct? (legal
- Which specialized analytical approaches to doctrinal research exist?
(comparative approach, critical approaches, legal gender studies,
critical race studies, law+economics, etc)
- What is the role of „narratives“ in legal discourse? (legal

Research+writing skills modules:
- Drafting a functional research question
- Drafting a functional analytical structure for your research project
- Locating your research within the existing academic debate,
referencing sources
- Identifying+avoiding plagiarism
- Finding academic research resources
- Functional writing strategies
- Recognizing stress+anxiety and increasing resilience


Weekly lectures; small individual and group assignments


Final assignment and short written assignments.


Literature will be indicated on Canvas before the course starts.


Apart from regular students, the course is also available for:
Students from other universities/faculties
Contractor (students who pay for one course).

Courses from a master at the faculty can only be taken as a secondary
course if you have a diploma that gives access to the relevant master/
specialization and if you are enrolled in a master.

Overige informatie

This course is the English language version of the masters course in
''Methoden van rechtswetenschap". It is compulsory for students taking
the English language master specialisations ''Transnational legal
studies", ''International Migration and Refugee Law" and "International
Technology Law".

Algemene informatie

Vakcode R_Legmet
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P2
Vakniveau 400
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid
Vakcoördinator C. Kaupa
Examinator C. Kaupa
Docenten prof. dr. G.T. Davies
C. Kaupa

Praktische informatie

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