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The Travails of Postgraduate Research in Law


Arlie Loughnan


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Rita Shackel


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

February 2011

Legal Education Review, Vol. 19, No. 1 & 2, pp. 99-132, 2009
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/17

Abstract:     
The face of postgraduate legal research in Australia has changed considerably in recent years. Certainly the number of students undertaking postgraduate research degrees at Australian law schools has burgeoned. Research degree programs in law include Masters by research, PhDs and SJDs. The rise in the numbers of postgraduate research degree students, together with an expanding array of research projects and methodologies, has generated new challenges for the postgraduate scholar, their supervisors and faculties seeking to support such students. These challenges arise in three areas: the intellectual challenges of postgraduate research in law; the personal aspects of the postgraduate research experience; and the supervision process and relationship. This article examines each of these areas, and argues that law faculties, postgraduate research supervisors and students need to reflect on the nature of contemporary postgraduate legal research, the purpose of and rationale for undertaking a postgraduate research degree in law and the unique and multifaceted challenges that must be met in developing, supervising and successfully completing a postgraduate degree project. With the current or prospective postgraduate research student in mind, this article points to some modest suggestions for enhancing law students’ research degree experience.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: legal education, higher degree research, student experience

JEL Classification: K10, K30

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Date posted: January 29, 2010 ; Last revised: February 10, 2011

Suggested Citation

Loughnan, Arlie and Shackel, Rita, The Travails of Postgraduate Research in Law (February 2011). Legal Education Review, Vol. 19, No. 1 & 2, pp. 99-132, 2009; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/17. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1544097

Contact Information

Arlie Loughnan (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 0246 (Phone)
+61 2 9351 0200 (Fax)
Rita Shackel
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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