I went for a browse through my local Waterstones this evening and spotted a new release in the law section – Writing for Law (Palgrave Study Skills) by Dave Powell and Emma Teare (ISBN: 978-0-230-23644-8). It has a section on dissertation technique so I naturally snapped it up like the terrified fourth year I now am. I took it home and read the first section on the bus.
Impressions so far
Long and the short of it: I think it’s a great book. I read it with my heart in my mouth looking at all the obvious but elusive things I had not quite been doing all these years. It’s a book that all law students should read, either to teach you something or to reassure you that you’re doing it right afterall.
It covers things including
- how to cite,
- what sources count as authoritative,
- study and skill guides,
- paper and electronic references,
- how to present,
- how to moot,
- how to study,
- how to sit an exam,
- examples of marking outcomes,
- learning outcomes (including for your entire degree),
- identifying dissertation topics,
- writing dissertations and extended essays.
It’s all really handy stuff and it’s the sort of thing that you really need to know to be able to be really confident about what you’re handing in. It is written from an English perspective (the authors are Senior Lecturers in Law at Teeside University) but the basic skills are immediately transferrable – you have to answer the question no matter where you are.
On the other hand this is another reason to have done a degree before doing law.