Being a law student is one of the best experiences that you can have. However, it can be hard work. For instance, you may have, at last, mastered essay writing and then it happens. You are hit with the dreadful ‘D’ word. Of course, we are talking dissertations and you may think you have misheard when you hear that you have to write a dissertation that is around 10,000 words. There are steps that you can take to get yourself acclimatised to writing a dissertation.
Before you start writing your dissertation, it is worthwhile to get yourself organised. This will save you time in the long run as you are less likely to make painful mistakes that mean more work. For instance, being organised will ensure that your subject matter is not too narrow. In other words, you will be able to write 10,000 words about your chosen topic.
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First of all, it is important to do a first draft of your introduction for yourself so that you have clarity as to where your research journey is going to take you. However, it is important that you understand that the introduction is most likely one of the pieces of text that will change once you have done your research and written your dissertation. The reason for this is that your research may not have the outcomes that you expect.
It is helpful to remember when writing an introduction that is precisely what it is – an introduction. If you remember that you will be going over all the details in depth in the different sections of the dissertation, you will keep your introduction concise.
So what needs to be included in an introduction? If you think of the introduction as a map for the reader, this will help you to keep the introduction succinct. If we stay with the idea of does the Jury System need to be reformed, you could explain the historical context of the jury and then explain briefly that you will be investigating both how the jury still works in the 21st century and the problems that arise from using lay people in the 21st century. What are the alternatives? What would be needed to improve upon the current system? You need to specifically state your objectives; in other words, state what steps you will take to demonstrate your potential outcome. It’s a good idea to keep some law dissertation examples to hand so that you can refer to them if you lose your way.
This can be a particularly interesting part of your dissertation because you can demonstrate your knowledge of current thoughts on your topic by using the journals of experts on the subject. It is your job in this section to give a view of how the current ideas on your subject stand. Whatever you do, don’t simply describe what each paper is stating. If you do that your readers will assume that you don’t have analytical skills. Writing a literature review is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you have a second to none analytical and critical brain.
When tackling the methodology section, it is essential to decide which research method you are going to use. For a law dissertation, the chances are that you will opt for qualitative research, this way you can concentrate on statue, legal journals and books written by experts.
You will find that if you have a clear idea of your methodology section then when you actually begin to do your research you will have more confidence than if you are unclear as to how you are going to conduct your research. It may help you if you see the methodology section as describing how you are going to do your research and then the evidence section describes and analyses what you actually did. If this all seems too much like repeating the same process, it truly isn’t but it may help you if you read some law dissertation examples. This will help you to distinguish the difference between the methodology section and the evidence section.
The evidence section is perhaps the most interesting part of a law dissertation. The reason for this is that before you begin your dissertation, you probably have ideas as to how your research will end. This may not be the case; your research may change your mind. For instance:
However, after your research, you may have come to the conclusion that a jury is the only way that the accused can get an unbiased trial as many judges have no idea of what ordinary life in the 21st century is like.
When writing up your evidence:
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