Conclusion

The coursework project is an attempt to incorporate socio-legal research into the undergraduate curriculum, by placing it at the very centre, namely within the assessment of the module. The positive student response alone means that it is valuable and worthwhile but there are other important benefits such as the prioritization of learning about socio-legal research and the acquisition of skills. Nevertheless, it is also important to recognize the limitations of the project: given the resource issues on an undergraduate programme, it can only be an introduction to socio-legal research. The students are only able to select a sample, implement the project and analyse the data; they cannot be involved in the selection of the research topic or design of the research instrument. The coursework project also highlights some of the tensions between the competing ideologies within law-school teaching, namely the priority that should be accorded to socio-legal analysis or black-letter evaluation. It also reveals the tension for the tutor between the ideal of giving students complete freedom to approach their essay in whatever way they choose and the reality of the work required to support anxious students in a novel endeavour.

 
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