Research Paper: Law 3490
The research paper course is to permit a student to do a substantial research paper of importance and originality in an area of interest to the student in lieu of one 2 credit-hour course. The Associate Dean must approve the student’s proposal for this course. The student must provide the following information:
- an outline of the proposed research.
- a statement by a member of the Faculty with special competence in the area of law that the proposed research is sufficiently worthwhile and substantial to count for two hours of credit and that they agree to supervise the research paper.
In determining whether a proposal is to be approved, the following will be considered:
- the scope and difficulty of the proposed work;
- the academic record of the applicant, as evidence of capacity for such work;
- the proposed arrangements for supervision.
Approval will not be given for a topic substantially based on, or covering, work already done or being done in other Courses or outside. The words “or outside” mean that a research paper cannot be based solely on the research done for another purpose, including a summer research job and certainly you could not submit as a research paper a report done for another purpose. However, you can do a research paper which builds upon research done for another purpose, including a summer job, which involves significant additional research for the purpose of the research paper.
A Research Paper must be a minimum of 7,500 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography.
The Research Paper option can only be selected once in either Second or Third Year. That is to say, a student cannot do more than one Research Paper for credit towards the J.D. degree.
Evaluation: The research paper is (100%) of the students grade. Since the main component of each student’s grade is the research paper due at the end of term students will receive limited evaluation feedback.
Substance: The paper reveals a superior understanding of the focused subject being explored, the perspective is “fresh” (i.e., is more than a mere repetition of the material readily available in the case or existing commentary), and the research is fulsome and complete.
Writing: The paper displays no errors in grammar or punctuation, an individualized and interesting style, skilful transitions between paragraphs and arguments, well- chosen vocabulary and variety in sentence structure, topic sentences to paragraphs, and appropriate paragraphing. Technical terminology is used appropriately, citations are flawless, writing is precise and clear, paragraphs are at least three sentences long, and quotes are used appropriately
Organization: Arguments are identified separately, each argument contains an assertion and evidence to support the assertion, possible objections are identified, arguments that cannot be rebutted are conceded, and the conclusion reached is supported by the evidence. In addition, ideas are presented logically and coherently, no irrelevant information is included and the discussion is complete, appropriate emphasis is placed on each argument, useful headings are employed, headings and arguments have parallel structure, and the reader is given direction (a road map in the introduction) through the arguments.