IALS Introduction to M.Phil/Ph.D. Legal Research Methods

IALS Introduction to M.Phil/Ph.D. Legal Research Methods
06 Jan 2020, 10:00 to 17 Jan 2020, 17:00
Research Training
IALS Council Chamber, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR


Introduction to Legal Methods Course for MPhil and PhD students

Course Director: Professor Lisa Webley, University of Birmingham. Teaching staff will include:, Sylvie Bacquet, Dr. Naomi Creutzfeld, Laura Griffiths, Marc Mason, Dr Constantin Stefanou, Professor Carl Stychin, Hester Swift, Professor Lisa Webley.
This course is usually taught over 16 plenary 2½ hour sessions.  

Dates: Formal Classes run from 6 January to 17 January 2020 and will consist of 16 2½ hour sessions. Meetings for Further Assistance with Method & Feedback Exercises will take place on in the 2nd week of the course.

Who should attend: This course is suitable for research students undertaking the MPhil/PhD/LLD, or similar level of research. 

Aims and Objectives:

This course aims to introduce a range of research methodologies that may be relevant to MPhil/PhD research in law and legally related fields.  It also aims to improve your doctrinal research methods and/or socio-legal research and allied skills depending on the parallel sessions that you choose to attend.  At the end of the course you should:

  • be familiar with the main schools of research theory;

  • be able to explain the relative merits and demerits of basic qualitative and quantitative research methodologies for a given legal research project;

  • be familiar with and have an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods (if you have selected these sessions as part of your optional classes);

  • be able to select an appropriate legal research methodology for a given legal research project and

  • be aware of how you would go about using the methodology;

  • be able to use each of the main legal research techniques for a given research project;

  • be able to assess the relative importance of the main legal research techniques for a given research project; have a basic understanding of data analysis issues, whether doctrinal or empirical;

  • be able to present legal research findings more effectively.


This course is usually taught over 14 plenary 2½ hour sessions, with additional parallel sessions.  Two days are reserved for appointments to discuss methodological issues. We encourage you to attend as many of the sessions as you can, although we understand that you may have covered some of the skills previously and you may also have PhD supervisions and teaching to attend too. Classes will be a combination of lecture and seminar formats, which will vary depending upon the subject matter of the session.  Each member of the teaching team will decide the most appropriate teaching methodology for their class.

The course is an introduction to legal research methods rather than an advanced in-depth course that teaches you all you need to know about carrying out legal research. It is hoped that during your own PhD research you will build on your understanding of legal research methods that are particularly relevant to your research study.

Note 1: the sessions listed above may vary from year to year. 

Note 2: There is no formal (summative) assessment on this course although there are opportunities for you to receive feedback on your ideas and on written work.

Programme (prefinal)

FEES and BOOKING:  Standard: £535.00.  MPhil/PhD Students of the School of Advanced Study: Free (please email IALS.Events@sas.ac.uk to book your place) - QMUL MPhil/PhD students should contact the QMUL PhD Administrator, direct about attending

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