This course is open to students enrolled in the Master Law and Society.
This module introduces students to research design and proposal writing. Through the course, students will learn to craft research questions, to anchor them in theoretical frameworks, and to critically reflect on the epistemic politics of socio-legal research. The course is designed, in tandem with the Researching Law and Society course, to help students to develop a concrete and actionable research proposal for their Master’s Thesis. In addition, students will be assigned to a supervisor on the basis of their research topic (combined with the capacity of available staff) and grouped with peers focusing on similar topics to help them develop their thesis proposals.
Each assignment focuses on a specific part of the proposal and builds on the former ones. Assignments are made individually, geared towards the individual thesis exploration. Additional to the assignments, students use this timeframe to read literature to add to the bibliography of their own projects. Class meetings are used to receive input on their own work and to learn by reflecting on the work of peers. Upon conclusion students have a full draft thesis proposal. This proposal must be approved by their supervisor, in order for students to continue with the thesis.
Objectives of the course
At the end of this course, students will be able to
Conduct a literature survey resulting in knowledge of the area of research;
Theoretically anchor their research question;
Evaluate the utility of various methods in relation to the research question;
Give and receive feedback;
Reflect on feedback received and defend choices;
Write an academically sound and feasible research proposal;
Orally present their research plans;
Motivate and justify their research question;
Write a workplan and time schedule.
Mode of instruction
Number of (2 hour) seminars: 8 with additional meetings with Thesis Advisors and workgroups
Name of instructors: Amalia Campos Delgado and Matthew Canfield
Required preparation by students: Short practical assignments, thesis proposal and labor market interview
All students are required to attend and actively participate during seminars.
Throughout the course, students will draft different sections of the Thesis Proposal. The final thesis proposal will be evaluated on a go/no go basis by the thesis supervisor. In case of an insufficient thesis proposal, the student will receive clear and timely feedback from the supervisor on how the proposal needs to be improved. A new deadline will be set in mutual consultation with the student, though no later than the end of the next block. If the resubmitted proposal again fails to meet the thesis supervisor, the student cannot continue with the thesis.
Assessment of the thesis proposal will take place on the format of the rubric used to assess the final thesis, abbreviated to those categories relevant for the proposal. The proposal will also be assessed based on feasibility.
Submission of a labor market interview is a condition for passing this course.
Obligatory course materials
All information and reading materials will be distributed via Brightspace.
Check the website under “course and exam enrollment” for information on how to register for the course.
Coordinator: dr. mr. Danielle Chevalier (subject to change)
Work address: KOG (Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden), room B1.20
Telephone number: +31 (0)71 5271039
Institute: The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law
Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society
Room number secretary: KOG (Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden), room B1.14
Opening hours: Monday till Thursday and Friday morning
Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7260
In case of (corona)restrictions imposed by the government, this course description is subject to change.