Academic and Legal Research and Writing
Academic and Legal Research and Writing is a LLM course offered by Professor Saki Bailey at the International University College of Turin in 2015. This syllabus provides information about its objective, its methodology, the assignments for the students and the program (class by class). The course takes 24 hours.
This course aims to provide students with the necessary research and writing tools for preparing legal briefs, policy papers, and academic essays with an understanding of written texts as arguments generated for particular purposes, audiences, andcontexts. This course is designed for students who are non native English speakers, however advanced working knowledge of English is a prerequisite. The course is divided in two parts, as explained below.
Part I of this introductory course aims to provide students with the necessary tools for effective academic research and writing. Attention will be given not only to the form and conventions of academic writing but also the essential ingredients of critical analysis:
- Analytical reading strategies
- Crafting your own argument or "thesis statement"
- Drawing evidence from, synthesizing and responding to the arguments of others
- Refinement of skills in presentation and citation of source materials
Part II of this introductory course aims to provide students with the necessary tools for engaging in effective legal research and writing. The course uses the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically provisions relevant to migrants, as well as exemplary cases that may come up in the migration clinic sportello as the basis for simulation exercises. Students through this course will acquire skills in:
- Case briefing & connecting law to fact
- Preparation of legal memoranda and briefs
The teaching methods in this course are socratic dialogues with students about the readind assignments and applied exercises about how to do legal research and academic writing.
- Class #1 - Critical Thinking, Constructing an Argument and Engaging in Analysis
For the first class, students must read the article Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach written by Felix S. Cohen in 1935. Then students must answer two questions: "what is the author's concept of law?" and "How is this view different from or similar to your own conceptual understanding what law is?" They must also bring an academic paper (10 pages) that they are most satisfied.
The first exercise consists in analyzing Cohen's article in order to identify what is his thesis and in which kind of debate he is taking part in scholarship. The class also involves discussions about:
- What is a thesis statement
- What is claim, reasoning and evidence
- How to properly identify a claim
Students must analyze their own paper and identify if it has a clear claim, proper reasoning and evidences. Considering the debates made in classroom, students must go back home and apply the principles provided in class to re-make the thesis statement of the paper.
- Class #2 - Thesis Statement as Organizing Principle
- Review of Homework Assignment
- The Thesis Statement as an Organizing Principle
- Making an Outline for your Paper
- Homework: Rewrite/Reorganize your Paper using the new outline and heading. Bring this to class tomorrow again printed!
Students will be evaluated by the following criteria:
- Participation (30%)
- Participation in the class discussion
- Completion of weekly reading & homework assignments
- Participation in group assignments
- Academic Reseach & Writing Paper Assingment (40%)
- Legal Research & Writing Exam (30%)
- Cohen, F. S. (1935). "Transcendental nonsense and the functional approach." (PDF). Columbia Law Review: 809-849. http://moglen.law.columbia.edu/LCS/cohen-transcendental.pdf.