LAW 6006 - Honours Dissertation

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

In Honours Dissertation students undertake a substantial piece of research in the form of the 12,000 word research dissertation. These capabilities are augmented by the Compulsory companion courses as outlined above. This course builds on the research skills developed explicitly in Honours Research and Writing. Students will be assessed on their ability to research and write their dissertation.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 6006
    Course Honours Dissertation
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to Bachelor of Laws Honours Only
    Course Description In Honours Dissertation students undertake a substantial piece of research in the form of the 12,000 word research dissertation. These capabilities are augmented by the Compulsory companion courses as outlined above. This course builds on the research skills developed explicitly in Honours Research and Writing. Students will be assessed on their ability to research and write their dissertation.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Ngaire Naffine

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon completion of this course is students will be able to:

    1.  Analyse the foundational principles of their chosen thesis topic in law, undertake legal research with primary and secondary materials, and evaluate legal information.
    2.  Apply the law to complex issues, and critique the operation of the law from a policy perspective, individually.
    3.  Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written arguments for a legal audience.
    4.  Conduct and analyse legal research, and write, individually.
    5.  Analyse the impact of law from policy perspectives, and in the context of social and cultural diversity.
    6.  Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake individual work.

    The course requires students to work alone with minimal supervision. It is an objective of the course to assist students to develop the organisational skills to work alone on a major research project.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There are no required resources for this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There are no lectures and seminars for this course.  Students will meet and communicate to discuss the work with their allocated
    supervisor.

    There will be a general MyUni course page with no course content, and students should expect communication through announcements and student email.

    There are no scheduled learning activities. It is expected that the supervisor and student will initially agree a provisional timetable for
    submission of drafts.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours of private study in addition to your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Not applicable.
    Specific Course Requirements
    The process of writing and supervising each dissertation is unique. The process is incapable of being precisely regulated. However,
    for the removal of uncertainty, it is appropriate that the relationship of candidate and supervisor should be governed by a statement of the minimum expectations and responsibilities of each party in academic terms.

    Both candidate and supervisor are encouraged to enter into a dynamic academic process which maximises contact for critical discussion and pastoral concern.

    The Supervisor
    The supervisor’s role is facilitative and advisory. The supervisor must recognise that the candidate is involved in a process, namely the writing of an extensive piece of legal research of which the candidate has little or no previous experience. Accordingly, it is the
    supervisor’s role to respond to the candidate’s requests for reasonable assistance and to provide an encouraging environment for the critical evaluation of the candidate’s progress. But the supervisor’s role is facilitative and advisory only. In particular, it is not the supervisor’s role to provide the candidate with a dissertation topic (although the supervisor may, and indeed generally will, offer advice in this regard). While it is not the supervisor’s role to seek out the candidate to check upon progress, it is advisable for supervisors to email a candidate who fails to attend their regularly scheduled meeting. If there is no response within a reasonable time the Course-Coordinator should be notified.

    The particular responsibilities of the supervisor are:
    - upon being informed of the identity of his/her candidate, to be available to meet the candidate as soon as possible and in any event not later than two weeks from the advice being given.
    - at this initial meeting or soon thereafter, to inform the candidate:
    - as to the existence of these guidelines and to discuss the same so that respective rules are fully understood and a method of proceeding may be established;
    - as to the supervisor’s areas of legal expertise so that the candidate may make an informed choice as to how far any dissertation topic selected may fall within the content of that expertise.
    - at this initial meeting or soon thereafter, to comment critically upon the candidate’s selection of a dissertation topic leading to the
    supervisor’s approval thereof, in the light of any supervision, research, structural or presentation difficulties which in the  supervisor’s opinion may emerge.
    - to be available to meet the candidate for a substantial discussion at least once a fortnight and to invite the candidate to discuss the regularity and need for meetings.
    - to assist the candidate in making contact with outside agencies which may further the candidate’s research or to obtain research
    materials.
    - to advise the candidate that the presentation of timely and sufficient drafts of the dissertation may enable problems to be detected at an early stage.
    - to comment promptly and critically, whether orally or in writing, upon (a) the development of the themes, arguments and structure of drafts of the dissertation and (b) the style and presentation of these drafts and the observance of the scholarly conventions of writing.
    - to comment promptly and critically in the same manner upon the final draft.

    The Candidate
    The candidate’s role is to produce the dissertation. The candidate has primary responsibility for the progress of the dissertation and the final decision upon any academic matter regarding the content of the dissertation rests with the candidate.

    To this end, the particular responsibilities of the candidate are:
    - upon being informed of the identity of his/her supervisor, to make contact with the supervisor as soon as possible and in any event no later than two weeks from the being informed of the allocation of a supervisor.
    - at this initial meeting or soon thereafter, to select his/her dissertation topic and to inform his/her supervisor of that topic for
    critical comment leading to approval thereof. Any significant variation of the topic after approval must be likewise discussed with the supervisor and approved by the Dissertation Co-ordinator.
    - to make contact with the supervisor to arrange meetings.
    - to conduct research on the topic.to discuss the need for drafts of the dissertation with the supervisor and to prepare sufficient and timely drafts for critical comment.
    - to develop the themes, arguments and structure of the dissertation and to avoid plagiarism by acknowledging sources of information and argument and to present the dissertation in a readable style observing the scholarly conventions of writing. It is anticipated that the candidate will demonstrate an ability to carry out independent research, and to analyse and assess the material produced by that research and to express clearly and effectively the conclusions to be drawn from that analysis and assessment.
    - to inform the supervisor of all significant matters affecting the progress of the dissertation and to discuss the academic impact of the same.
    - to prepare a final draft of the dissertation for critical comment not less than fourteen days before the due date of submission or any extension granted.
    - to prepare the final draft for submission and assessment by the appointed examiner.

    Note:
    These guidelines govern the relationship of candidate and supervisor only. In any case of difficulty or disagreement, candidates and supervisors are encouraged to discuss matters with the Dissertation Coordinator. In the event of the need for a change of supervisor during the production of the dissertation, the Dissertation Coordinator will arrange such meetings as are necessary to ensure a smooth transition between supervisors and candidate.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Item % of final mark Due Date Length
    Dissertation 100% 2pm, Friday 27 October 2017 12,000 words
    Assessment Detail
    Length of Dissertation
    The word limit for the dissertation is strictly enforced. In presenting their dissertation candidates are required to incorporate a signed statement as to the length of their dissertation (main text and substantive footnotes are to be included in word length, while bibliography, case list, list of contents, required declarations etc are excluded).

    Style
    Citations and footnotes should follow the practice used by the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd Ed, 2010). A copy of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation is available from the reserve desk in the Law library. It is also available on the web at or from Melbourne University Law Review at relatively small cost. Pages of the dissertation should be numbered. If a candidate’s dissertation does not conform to the style set out in these guidelines the candidate will be required to rewrite and resubmit in
    the style designated in these guidelines.

    Presentation
    The dissertation must be presented in the following format. 

    The dissertation should be printed on A4 paper on one side only. The margin on the right hand side of the page should be approximately 2.5cm.  The margin on the left hand side of the page should be wider, at least 3cm, to allow for binding.

    Any one of the following fonts is acceptable: Times, Times New Roman, or Palatino.

    The font size for the main text must be at least 12 pt.

    The font size for footnotes must be at least 10pt.

    The main body of the text should be double spaced.

    For general rules relating to line spacing for quotations follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Footnotes may be single spaced.

    The dissertation should have incorporated in it a signed statement to the effect that to the best of the candidate's knowledge and belief the dissertation contains no material previously published or written by another person except when due reference is made in the text of the dissertation, together with an acknowledgment of any help given or work carried out by another person or organisation. There should also be included a signed statement as to the word length of the dissertation (see 2 above).

    Students should submit three (3) copies of their Dissertation, two unbound copies and one bound copy or three unbound copies (the General Office will arrange binding for you).

    Due Date - Dissertations must be completed and submitted by Friday 27 October 2017 at 2.00pm.

    Extensions - Submissions to the course coordinator for an extension of time should be based only upon special or unforeseen personal or research circumstances.  As the dissertation must be engaged with, researched and written over a period of 12 weeks, significant circumstances will be required for an extension to be granted. Please consider the Policy and make your application by email to the Dissertation Coordinator.
    Submission
    Dissertations must be submitted by the due date in hard copy to the Law School Office and in electronic form to Turnitin (link
    available on MyUni).

    Be sure to leave plenty of time to submit electronically, get a receipt and still get your hard copy in by the deadline.

    The thesis supervisor and an independent examiner will mark the thesis. Having reached a mark independently, the supervisor and independent examiner will agree a final mark between them. If the supervisor and independent examiner cannot agree on a final mark, a further examiner will be appointed, and a majority position reached.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M11 (Honours Mark Scheme)
    GradeGrade reflects following criteria for allocation of gradeReported on Official Transcript
    Fail A mark between 1-49 F
    Third Class A mark between 50-59 3
    Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B
    Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A
    First Class A mark between 80-100 1
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible  moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment  results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is  required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Acess Adelaide at the end of each semester.
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    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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