Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit involves the completion of a short assessable proposal, followed by the submission of a 7000-word supervised research paper. It also requires attendance in or listening to a number of seminars prescribed for Advanced Legal Research A and B."

The unit aims to provide students with the opportunity to choose a specific topic on an area of the law which interests them, and to produce a written piece of legal research which is in a publishable form. It therefore promotes research skills and facilitates the publication of their work.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate independent legal research skills, including the location of journal articles and other publications relevant to their topic of research, time management, and independent thinking; (2) navigate the research project process; (3) construct a summary of the research to be undertaken, including strategising methodology to be used and clarifying the scope of the research, to justify the value of the research; and (4) appraise and argue a very specific, narrow and particular legal theory and/or legal issue.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) submission of a 1000-word research proposal and (2) submission of a 7000-word research paper on a topic approved by the student's supervisor. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Dominic Dagbanja (Sem 1) and Dr Melanie O'Brien (Sem 2)
Unit rules
Enrolment in
66 points
and LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering (
and 30 points ( LAWS4102 Criminal Law
, LAWS4103 Contract
, LAWS4104 Property
, LAWS4106 Torts
, LAWS4107 Land Law
, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law and ( LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics
or LAWS4110 Interpretation
) ) )
Contact hours
This research unit involves unstructured contact with a supervisor throughout the semester.
Students must not enrol in this unit until they have discussed the suitability and relevance of a potential topic with the proposed supervisor. Enrolment in this unit is conditional on the availability of an appropriate supervisor and approval by the Unit Coordinator.

This unit must be completed in one semester. Students can enrol in this unit in either Semester 1 or Semester 2 of any year.

The process is: (1) Request the Supervisor Nomination Form from the Unit Co-ordinator and ask for advice about identifying a supervisor; (2) Student identifies a potential thesis topic, and then identifies a suitable supervisor with expertise in this area. Your supervisor will ideally be a Law School academic staff member. A full list of academic staff can be found here; (3) approach your proposed supervisor to discuss their availability to supervise and your proposed topic; (4) complete the application form, and ask the supervisor who has agreed to supervise to sign the form; (5) Send the completed form to the Unit Coordinator via email (pay attention to the deadline), and meanwhile enrol in the unit online by yourself; (6) Once the above processes are completed, your online enrolment will still remain 'invalid' but the Law Support Office will enrol you manually into the unit. Please note, if you do not complete and return your Supervisor Nomination Form, you will not be enrolled in the unit and your enrolment will remain ‘invalid'.

Guidelines for style, format and submission of research papers are the same as for Advanced Legal Research dissertations; refer to the Advanced Legal Research Guidelines on LMS.


Students are required to read relevant chapters of the below texts (more detail in unit outline):

Mike McConville, and Wing Hong (Eric) Chui (eds.), Research Methods for Law, (2nd ed., Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Dawn Watkins and Mandy Burton, Research Methods in Law, (2nd ed., Routledge, 2017).

Terry Hutchinson, Researching and Writing the Law (4th ed, Lawbook Thomson Reuters, 2018).

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.