How to Write a Research Paper in Law
The first thing that came to my mind when writing this is “Do Law Students Write Research Papers?” and after 2 secs of online research, the answer was yes.
Once again, in case there are new readers on the project topics platform.
A Research Paper is a piece of academic writing based on an author’s original work (research and findings) on a given topic. Note that the author should own the research, analysis, and interpretation of all conclusions.
Most commonly, a research paper can either be Term Papers, Master’s Thesis, and/or Doctoral Dissertations. However, it is essential to note that there exists a marked difference between a research paper and a research proposal.
For the record, I consulted a number of my Law school friends for their insights and it turns out, writing a research paper isn’t only something they do, but they do regularly.
And not to mention the final paper, which has become a law school appraisal method.
So let’s get right to it. There are my project topics recommended steps for writing a Research Paper for Law School or as a Law Student studying Law. You get my point;
Step 1. Understand what is expected of you
Be sure to discover what your lecturer expects from the research paper. And inquire from other students and alumni of what specific lectures expect in their writing.
In this you consider several factors including but not limited to;
• Writing styles
• Referencing Styles
• Page numbering
• Spacing and Margins
When writing a research paper, it’s essential to watch out for the little details, but it is more so when writing for a field that earns its worth from noticing the fine print.
Step 2. Choosing a Law Topic
This is usually the step but in law. I felt like I had to stress the importance of the little details.
Much like all fields, it’s essential to sort out the topic early, as this shapes the majority of the work you’re going to be doing for this engineering research paper. Choosing a Topic isn’t always as straight forward and natural as most people would think. In fact, in some universities, students are assigned a research project topic by the faculty. If you fall into that category, I’m happy for you! Kindly move on to other project topics blog essential issues.
If you’re still reading, then the first thing you should do when about to choose a topic is to think about what interests you and how challenging conducting research on it would be. Ensure that you are as specific as possible; avoid issues that are too broad. Your research paper is more likely to be successful if it doesn’t look like a general overview.
For example, if your interests lie in” Contract Law,” you can narrow it down to “Understanding the Evolution of Housing Law in a Specific State from 1980 to 2019”. As you can already see, the importance of specification is much higher in the field of Law.
Step 3. Do your Research
Following the tread of this article, I will mention the importance of the details and fine print when it comes to Law School Research papers.
As soon as you have the identity of the project, it’s time to create a research plan.
This is easily the least fun part of writing this research paper. The workload will discourage the weak and feeble. But not you! Because you’ve made it this far already.
To extensively research your chosen topic means you will have to find credible sources on the subject of your paper. And read anything and everything (everything!) you can find on the topic. At this point, you should be evaluating your sources, taking notes, and documenting your sources accordingly.
It is also essential to stay up to date on the research’s best practices and guidelines. (Take notes of all sources you used to paraphrase, accurate quotations, and summarize creatively to avoid plagiarisms).
Step 4. Develop a Detailed Outline
If you have done the necessary legwork, your research will be comprehensive with ideas. But you must be careful not to overdo it. It’s entirely possible to get carried away by the amount of information you have amassed and end up crowning your Research Paper with too much information. Therefore, you must plan for the task.
Think about the main points you’ll need to develop to support your working thesis statement. Scan your notes and organize the information for each sub-heading. (Only include the relevant information).
Resist the temptation to include unnecessary information and subheadings. Resist!
Step 5. Organize Your Background Section
Your background should be detailed, yes. But more importantly, it should be short and precise. If that sounds complicated, it’s because you’ve chosen a complicated field.
A background section should be short. It should start with the taxonomy of the course subject and then drill down to the issue addressed in the paper. Generally, this should not take that long, maybe one-third of the article.
If your background section is longer than that, you have a problem. Either your topic is too broad, or you are saying too much. Finish the first draft of your paper without fussing over the background length or brevity. Get a full first draft and then work on refining it.
Step 6. Forget about your Classroom Knowledge
The best part of a research paper in law school is that it allows you to deconstruct the knowledge you’ve gathered from the classroom. Do not think the self-directed paper format means the lecturer does not care whether you understand the concepts learned in class. That is not the case.
Think of it this way: the lecturer has chosen to allow you to identify the fact-pattern to which you will apply what you learned in the course. Make sure that you address major course themes, as they use. If you find that no (or few) course themes apply to your topic, do yourself and GPA a favor and pick a new one.
Step 7. Emphasis on the Analysis
In your law school research paper, you will identify the problem and explain the facts. Then you will define the relevant authority. Together those comprise your “background” section. Once you have done that, the real work begins.
The bulk of your paper should involve rigorous analysis. Consider the Supreme Court cases you read in Con Law or pick up a law review article from a top school.
Try this: write a quick outline of what you think should be in your analysis and then ask a series of questions about the points you raise. Here are some items that tend to work well in a variety of situations: why? Why not? Who disagrees with this? What is the logical extension of that thought? Is that good policy? Who should bear the risk?
Work hard on the analysis in your paper, and it will stand out.
8. Tighten your Writing
Once you have a full first draft in hand, read through it and see if it flows logically. Is anything missing? When you are confident that it is all in there, tighten your writing. Often, a first draft is twice as long as it needs to be.
Be critical. Or give it to a good writer and ask that person to be dangerous. Mark it up. Read each sentence and see if it needs to be in the document. If so, could it be shorter? Do not use ten words when you could you two. Make your point and move on.
Sloppy papers are hard to read and indicate to me that the student did not try. Writing well takes time and lots of red ink. Invest that time in your paper. It will pay off.
Step 9. End Well
A Suitable Conclusion for your Law School Research Paper is critical.
For most people, they see this part as an opportunity to repeat their thesis statements and emphasize elements of the introduction. I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow this trend, you can. But, avoid repeating word for word.
Paraphrase, summarize, and emphasize the significance of your findings. (I also recommend providing recommendations and/or suggestions based on your results)
If you have walked through the above listed, then your rough draft is ready!
Want to know how to make it perfect? Well, sorry, you can’t! There is no such thing as an ideal Research Paper. However, there is something as a fantastic Research Paper, and that is what we are aiming for. Right?
Step 10. Edit and Proofread
This is the only law school “exam” format without a time constraint and professors expect you to edit. Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Print out the document and proofread it to make sure you catch even minor errors.
You will need to make large-scale changes, check and recheck the logic behind every statement.
Ensure that all your ideas are fully developed! And all your claims, recommendations, suggestions are credible and supported by well-reviewed and documented evidence.
After the initial proofreading, the next task on your plate is editing. Look out for:
- Incomplete sentences
- Dangling modifiers
- Easily confused words (such as to, too, and two)
- Spelling mistakes
- Apostrophes for possessives and plurals
- Quotation rules obeyed
- Comma use
Are you done? Congratulations!!!
Now go back to rereading your paper; the excellent idea is to read your research paper backward. It will get you a bit disoriented but will allow you to catch more mistakes.
Now, if possible, get another person’s perspective. Give it to a professional proofreader, editor, friend, or family member, ask them to provide feedback and suggestion. You don’t necessarily need to take their opinions, but seeing the research paper from their eyes will allow you to know if the information you wanted to pass across was passed across.
Step 11. Accept Offers for Feedback
Many lectures offer to review topics, outlines, and rough drafts. If that Happens take it. And be sure to give it to friends and colleagues to discuss.