Skills: Academic Writing
Full course description
The course Academic Writing has been structured around the principal elements and criteria required for the Bachelor’s Essay, which are reflected in the Assessment Form prescribed for the assessment of Bachelor’s Essays (available on the Academic Paper Dossier platform). In the conception and production of an academic paper of around 4.000 words (i.e. roughly half the length of the Bachelor’s Essay), students will be guided step-by-step through the advanced academic writing process, working in turn on such aspects as the research proposal, bibliography, research question, structural outline, main body of text, etc. This is designed to ensure that students master each of these individual steps (while at the same time recognising that ultimately they are inextricably intertwined), and that they allow sufficient time for each stage in the process. Students will be free to decide on the topic of their papers falling within the general theme of the group for which they registered.
- Learning by doing
- Peer-to-peer learning
The objective of this course is to develop the skills of academic legal research and writing, with a view to enabling students to become self-sufficient in their academic writing endeavours, including notably (but certainly not only) the Bachelor’s Essay. By the second year of their studies, students have already acquired basic knowledge of the technical aspects of academic research and writing through the course “Skills: Legal Research and Reasoning”, and this course seeks to build on this knowledge by further expanding, deepening and practicing students’ writing skills with the introduction of new concepts and insights. This will necessitate an independent work attitude on the part of the students and the ability to gauge the quality of one’s own work, and the work of others, on the basis of the guidance received during the course. For this reason, another important skill that will be developed in this course is the ability to provide critical feedback on written academic work, as well as to address comments and incorporate suggestions as and where appropriate.
In summary, the course has the following objectives:
- To enable the student to identify and complete the stages of the writing process (i.e. finding sources, elaborating a research question, developing a structural outline, explaining methodology, etc.)
- To enable the student to examine a legal question/ problem/ issue from various angles and develop and defend a line of argumentation in a substantial academic essay
- To enable the student to recognise audience and disciplinary expectations
- To enable the student to identify characteristics of effective sentence and paragraph-level construction
- To enable the student to student apply proper citation practices
- To enable the student to analyse, question, and evaluate written texts of others
The course builds on knowledge obtained in course LAW1003 Skills: Legal Research and Reasoning.
- I. Curry-Sumner et al., Research Skills: Instructions for lawyers