Part 1

As part of the Law degree at university, some schools may require law students to complete a supervised or completely independent research project in your final year, often termed a dissertation. This is to test your research, problem solving, critical thinking and analysis skills. This also further tests your soft skills such as your ability to prioritise, plan effectively and manage time whilst working on a time-taking project. I have created this five-part series as a guide to writing and presenting a very high-quality dissertation. Throughout this series, I intend to discuss various tips and strategies that worked for me whilst writing both my undergraduate and masters dissertation and getting a first. To this aim, I have classified all my strategies under four major headings: the planning stage, the research stage, the writing stage and the final stage. In this article, I discuss what a dissertation is, how it is structured and the process of choosing a topic.

As stated before, a dissertation is usually a research project, a topic either chosen by you or chosen from a range of topics, which usually lasts between 4 to 6 months, depending on the program (LLB or LLM). Depending on the institution, the length of a general dissertation or research project may vary between 5 000 words to 15 000 words. An undergraduate law dissertation usually varies between 10 000 to 12 000 words, while the masters dissertation ranges between 10 000 to 15 000 words. This expected length is enough evidence of the type of coverage you should be aiming for on your dissertation, as well as the nature of your dissertation’s content. If done properly, apart from attaining a first-class mark, the dissertation is an entire experience which allows you really delve into a law topic or area in more depth and analysis.

In my experience, this was perhaps the hardest and most exhausting part of my dissertation, especially from my undergraduate dissertation. There’s a wealth of areas of law that you would have studied right from your first year to the final year. For me, it was quite […]

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