Writing a law dissertation analysis

Your analysis of your data or material in your law dissertation is how you seek to answer the questions posed in your introduction.

It should firstly be noted that the type of analysis required will depend on the materials used by you in your research, be it numerical or textual.

It is essential that the data be presented as clearly as possible, underlying the theoretical basis for your selection of that data. If appropriate, include sufficient data in an appendix to enable the reader to test your approach and to draw their own conclusion.

To achieve the highest possible mark, you must demonstrate to the examiner that you have developed and can apply higher cognitive skills to analyse and evaluate ideas and arguments. If your data is text-based, particularly if it is technical and closed argued such as case reports, be prepared to undertake two or three readings.

The first reading should be with a view to comprehending the arguments, the second for analysis and structure. The third reading involves evaluating arguments raised. Be careful not to rush into each stage and leave yourself some breathing space between the second and third readings to allow you to process the material.

If your data is some kind of text, including audio-visual texts, be sure to be clear as to your methodology for textual analysis and observe a specific published model such as content analysis and discourse analysis. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the meaning lies within the text itself as opposed to its interpretation.

If using interview data, you need to allow for the fact that transcribing interview data is time consuming. Do not make the mistake of assuming that people say what they mean or mean what they say and supplement your comments of interviewee's words with reference to non-verbal cues. Be sure to cite the source of your transcription conventions. Always anonymise your interviewee's with the use of pseudonyms, something you should assure them in advance that you will be doing. The interview should be set out along the lines of a playscript, with pseudonyms in a column to the left.

If you find yourself struggling with your analysis of the material you have sourced or its implications for your studies, we at Law Teacher are here to help.