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How to Structure a Law Dissertation

| March 10, 2012 | 1 Comment

The following guide outlines how to structure a LLB or LLM dissertation.

  • Title Page – showing the title of the dissertation and the author.
  • Abstract – summarising what the reader can expect to find in the dissertation. Be concise and don’t reference or use quotes in this part. This is like an advert for your work so make it excellent and carrying some weight (150 – 300 words)
  • Table of contents – As it implies!
  • Introduction – This should be about 10% of the dissertation in total. So if the dissertation is 15,000 words then the introduction should be 1,000 – 1,500 words and should be a very crisp and accurate introduction of the dissertation (which of course should reflect the conclusion).
  • Methodology – what you are going to do and how you plan on doing it. In a legal dissertation it is most likely that qualitative research will be conducted. There are ways to do quantitative research (eg survey of cases perhaps) but it is likely that most legal dissertations will be derived from either scholarly journals/books or statute.
  • Literature Review – a review of relevant theory and the most recent published information on the issue. Again there are dissertations with no literature review: it really depends on the topic and whether you judge it to be necessary (eg is there a lot of published literature/theory?).
  • Evidence – what you have discovered and what you have concluded from it. This most not simply be descriptive but must make a considered analysis of the findings, moving towards a detailed and visionary strategy for development.
  • Conclusion – what you have discovered and what you have concluded from it. This must not simply be descriptive but must make a considered analysis of the findings, moving towards a detailed and visionary strategy for development.
  • Recommendations – In a legal dissertation I would always include these to give an indication of how analytical your mind is. If we take the Corporate Homicide Act example above some of the recommendations could be, for example, to repeal the duty of care element or to refine the aggregation doctrine. The recommendations should be sharp and precise. Definitely no waffle here or philosophy extracts!

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Category: Dissertation Writing Guide

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  1. Law Dissertation Topics | The WritePass Journal | March 10, 2012

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