Final Year Research Project (dissertation) for Law Degree

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I will upload the outline of this project with the tutor”s feedback. The title needs to be refined according to the feedback. Also the outline is said to be too broad for a project of 5000. It has been repeatedly stressed to us that this [project needs to be narrowed down to a topic as much as possible. “The end result of the [Final year research] project consists of an essay: maximum length 5,000 words. Please note that the word limit does not include citations (e.g. references to books and articles) that are included in a footnote. Please note that footnotes should therefore be used only for citations. Any material included in a footnote other than citations will not be assessed for marking purposes.Not included within the word limit are: the title, the abstract (max. 150 words), the table of contents and/or table of cases, or the bibliography. Note that you are not permitted to include an appendix, or appendices, to the Research Project.”

OSCOLA REFERENCING
footnotes, endnotes and bibliography DO NOT count towards the word count. Any content included in a footnote will not be assessed for marking purposes.

FINAL YEAR RESEARCH PROJECT

Project Overview

 
 

  1. Requirements of the Research Project

 
The research project unit has a number of different elements, although your final mark only relates to the project essay itself (and not the presentation in Week 7 or 8 or the outline you submit in Week 9 or 10, see further below). Centrally you should ensure that:
 

  1. The topic which you have selected is properly researched and developed in order that you can give your essay a Title, which encapsulates the research question addressed in the project;

 

  1. The end result of the project consists of an essay: maximum length 5,000 words. Please note that the word limit does not include citations (e.g. references to books and articles) that are included in a footnote. Please note that footnotes should therefore be used only for citations. Any material included in a footnote other than citations will not be assessed for marking purposes.

 
Not included within the word limit are: the title, the abstract (max. 150 words), the table of contents and/or table of cases, or the bibliography.
 
Note that you are not permitted to include an appendix, or appendices, to the Research Project.
 

  1. Research project aims and use of starting points

 
The aim of the research project is for students to demonstrate that they can carry out independent legal or socio-legal research, critically engage with a topic area, and construct and sustain a coherent argument through an extended essay.
 
 
Each project title has a list of starting points; these are books, articles, documents, decisions or other material. They are meant to act as a springboard for further research. These starting points should be used to identify a research question and a set of issues that will be addressed in the essay. The starting points will help identify sources for further research.
 

  1. Research Methods

 
For this project it is expected that the primary sources will be texts: books, journals, newspapers and other research papers, generally accessible through the University’s libraries, and the libraries of other academic institutions. For some topics it may be relevant to carry out archive research. It is not intended that students use empirical research methods such as interviewing or other methods that involve live human subjects. Within the time available for the research project it is not possible to train students in empirical research techniques. Additionally, there are ethical concerns about using live human subjects which must be addressed before any academic research takes place; within the confines of this project it is not possible to obtain ethical clearance through the University’s system for such work. Therefore, students should NOT plan to use empirical methods such as interviews or observations as part of their project. If in doubt, consult your Project Adviser, or the Unit Co-ordinator.
 

5.         Defining Your Research Question

5.1       This may seem like stating the obvious, but you must make sure your research question stays within the bounds of the research topic. A broad ranging essay that only tangentially addresses the topic will not get a good mark.
5.2       Your question should be something that interests you, and that it is possible to address within 5,000 words. It is also vital that you stay within areas of law with which you are familiar. An essay tackled in an area of law that you have not studied runs the risk of not taking account of current law or controversies.
5.3       You should be able to justify to yourself, and to the marker, why you have chosen to concentrate on any aspect/issue/area at the expense of any others. You should address this in your Outline (see section 6).
 

7.         Writing the Research Essay

7.1       When it comes to writing the essay, you will need all the skills that you have employed in previous years for writing assessed essays – the principal difference here is that you must sustain your argument over 5,000 words. You will therefore need to pay even greater attention to your structure. You must be able to keep the reader’s attention from beginning to end, frequently giving the reader pointers as to where the argument is going. Write an essay plan (if you have not already done so) and write your first draft following your plan.
7.2       The document included in this guide, ‘Assessment Criteria’, sets out what the marker will be looking for. Make sure you read this before, during and after writing the essay to ensure that you have met these criteria.
Key points to remember are:

  • Keep to your research question – do not stray too far from the point, but equally, make sure that you answer your research question
  • The essay is testing your analytical skills, not just your descriptive skills
  • Keep it readable – not too many long sentences, explain all acronyms and jargon (or avoid using them)
  • Write a first draft, then leave it for a few days so that when you come to reread it you have some objective distance from your writing
  • Keep to the word limit – even when writing your first draft, your essay plan should include an approximate number of words for each section that keeps you within the limit
  • Make sure you proof-read the final version – bad presentation really annoys your reader, and does not help towards getting a good mark
  • Write an abstract. This is a short (no more than 150 words) summary of the subject and key arguments of your essay. Many journals now require authors to submit abstracts – look at some of these to get an idea of what yours should contain.
  • Edit and check the English
  • Follow the instructions about submission. Incorrect submission could lead to your essay being rejected and incurring late submission penalties.

 

8.         Referencing and Bibliography

8.1       Your essay should be fully referenced and must include a bibliography. See the attached document, ‘A Guide to Referencing in Assessed Coursework’ which sets out best practice. Also useful may be a little booklet available from Blackwells, Citing References, by David Fisher and Terry Harrison; it is particularly helpful with referencing official publications and more obscure materials.
8.2.      What is important is to use whatever referencing style you have chosen consistently.
8.3       The bibliography should list all books, articles and other materials that you consulted in your research, even if not actually cited in the essay but are closely related to the topic. If appropriate, the bibliography should include separate lists of cases, statutes, official publications or archives consulted. Advice on Harvard and OSCOLA forms of referencing is available from the Library. Other referencing systems are acceptable but advice regarding their use will not be available from the Library. For further information on the Harvard system please see http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/referencing/page_25.htm whilst for OCSOLA please see http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/publications/oscola.php.
 

Final Year Research Project

Assessment Criteria

 
 
Well-defined research question
 
The student must construct a coherent research question that takes account of the chosen research topic but is sufficiently defined to be answered within a 5,000 word essay. The essay must address the research question. It should present a robust, coherent and convincing overall thesis.
 
Well-structured
 
The writer must explain what s/he is arguing in the essay, and demonstrate a coherent argument throughout in such a way that the reader can follow the argument at all times. There should be adequate signposting so that the reader knows what the argument is and where it is going next. There should be appropriate use of paragraphs, headings and sub-headings to support the structure.

Accuracy of knowledge

 
The material used must be accurate and appropriate. The essay should demonstrate awareness and understanding of relevant contextual material, for example, historical perspectives, policy development and relevance, current academic discussion and disputes, or law reform proposals.
 
Relevant use of material
 
An essay that does not go beyond the starting points has not met the criteria for carrying out independent research. The student must have found a range of material relevant to the topic. The selection of material should reflect the range of views/opinions about the research topic, engage with recent developments (if appropriate) and reflect issues of controversy. There must be evidence of an ability to evaluate the relative significance of these materials, and an awareness of trends or movements within the particular topic area.
 
Analytical skills
 
The essay must be more than a description of the topic area. The student must demonstrate an ability to analyse the material and construct their own argument, appropriately referencing the ideas and work of others.
 
 
 


Good use of English
 
The use of grammar must be correct. Students must also use punctuation correctly. Sentences should be logically constructed and easy to follow. There should not be too many long sentences with sub-phrases and sub-sub-phrases. Use of jargon and acronyms should be kept to a minimum, and should be explained in the text. The essay should be proof-read to minimise spelling mistakes and typographical errors.
 
Appropriate use of referencing and authority
 
The essay must use a form of referencing consistently. All quotes must be referenced, and the student must adequately acknowledge where s/he has used source material through appropriate references.
 
Abstract, bibliography, table of cases
 
An abstract is compulsory but together with the bibliography and table of cases etc add to the completeness of the essay and are evidence of good scholarship.
 
 
 

APPENDIX:
PLAGIARISM – REFERENCING IN ASSESSED COURSEWORK
You should log onto the online tutorial “Effective Legal Scholarship” available on Blackboard. You should read these Guidelines and complete the online tutorial. We will be able to check whether you have done this. You should also refer to the guidance on Blackboard in Law Student Information/Study Skills.
 
All coursework must be word-processed. By submitting your work for examination, you consent to allow your work to be checked for plagiarism using the University’s plagiarism detection software. You must check your email regularly in the month following submission of this work and in the weeks following the May/June examination period, as we may need to ask you to submit an electronic copy to check the word length or to check it using plagiarism software. Such a request does not necessarily indicate a problem with your work – a sample may be checked at random each year.
 

  1. The basic rule

 
Any piece of work submitted by a student must be that student’s own work. For this reason, all forms of ‘plagiarism’ are forbidden.
Cheating in assessments occurs where a student takes passages, ideas or structures from another student’s essay, a textbook, an article, or any other source written by someone else without proper attribution.
Be aware that ‘collusion’ is also prohibited.  ‘Collusion’ occurs where two or more people combine to produce something which is then passed off or submitted as a piece of individual work.
If you are unsure when you need to provide a reference to your sources, look at a typical article in the Modern Law Review or the Law Quarterly Review. Think about the kinds of statements which an author thinks need to be referenced. Sometimes these are direct quotations, sometimes they are paraphrased statements of law, sometimes they are paraphrased arguments taken from another source (such as a book, an article, a policy document, or a conference paper).
A useful guide on how to reference is FRENCH, Derek, How to Cite Legal Authorities, London, Blackstone 1996 – available in the Wills Library at Ref. K114 FRE.


  1. Good referencing begins as you begin your research

 
Before you begin to write and as you start to research make sure you keep a full record of every source that you use. This includes cases, statutes and statutory instruments, articles, textbooks, monographs, casenotes and internet sites. Make sure you have recorded the exact title, date, page number or web page of each source, so that you can provide this in your footnotes and bibliography. You should only cite material which is published or otherwise in the public domain. You should not cite from your lecture notes or from the work of another student – you should be using sources other than these for your research.
 

  1. Quoting and paraphrasing

An essay should be written in a student’s own words. We are testing your understanding of an area of law, not that of established commentators in the field. You need to describe the legal position as clearly and succinctly as possible, in your own way.
* Quotations:
Sometimes it might be useful to quote the views of a judge, policy-maker or commentator. If you do so, you should provide a footnote or a reference to the source of the quotation in the text. (For further information on footnoting, see below.) A direct quotation should be placed in inverted commas.
Example:
As Jacobs says, ‘without a right to strike, collective bargaining would amount to collective begging’. (A.T.J.M. Jacobs, ‘The Law of Strikes and Lock-Outs’ in R. Blanpain and C. Engels, Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Industrialized Market Economies (5th edn., Deventer: Kluwer, 1993), p. 423.)
Brief quotations, like the example given above, should be placed in inverted commas. Lengthy quotations should be indented.
Example:
As Lord Justice Mummery observed, in Dacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd [2004] IRLR 358 (CA), at 362:
If the applicant has a contract of service in a triangular situation of this kind, it may be with (a) the end-user, the contract usually being an implied one, or (b) the employment agency, depending on the construction of the express contract between the applicant and the agency and on other admissible evidence or, though this is more problematical (c) more than one entity exercising the functions of an employer, namely the employment agency and the end-user jointly.
 

In quoting authorities (whether judgments, periodicals, statutes, etc) always indicate where you have omitted from or added to the quotation. Omissions are represented by a short row of dots, normally three, but four when words omitted are at the end of a sentence.
 
Example:
 
As Lord Justice Mummery observed, in Dacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd [2004] IRLR 358 (CA), at 362:
If the applicant has a contract of service in a triangular situation of this kind, it may be with … (c) more than one entity exercising the functions of an employer, namely the employment agency and the end-user jointly.
 
Words inserted into a quotation must be placed in square brackets, as must alterations in grammar.
 
Example:
As Lord Justice Mummery observed, in Dacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd [2004] IRLR 358 (CA), at 362:
If the [agency worker] has a contract of service in a triangular situation of this kind, it may be with … (c) more than one entity exercising the functions of an employer, namely the employment agency and the end-user jointly.
 
Where words from a quotation are misspelled or are ungrammatical or seem strange, the word sic may be inserted after them.
 
Example:
As Lord Justice Mummery observed, in Dacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd [2004] IRLR 358 (CA), at 362:
If the applicant has a contract of service in a triangular situation of this kind, it may be with … (c) more than one entity exercising the functions of an employer, namely the employment agency and the end-user [sic] jointly.
 
Quotations should, however, only be used selectively. If your essay consists almost entirely of quotations from other sources, this does not amount to plagiarism, but we will not be able to take an adequate measure of your understanding of this topic. Such an essay would receive a lower mark than a piece of writing in your own words.
* Paraphrasing
In writing an essay, it is also legitimate to ‘paraphrase’ comments made by others, in other words to put the ideas of others into your own words. However, where you do so, you should provide a reference to the original source. This is not your original idea, and you should not suggest otherwise by the omission of a reference.
Example:
In the absence of a right to participate in industrial action, workers would not be able to bargain with employers, but would be reduced to begging. (A.T.J.M. Jacobs, ‘The Law of Strikes and Lock-Outs’ in R. Blanpain and C. Engels, Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Industrialized Market Economies (5th edn., Deventer: Kluwer, 1993), p. 423.)
As an essay is a test of your own understanding, so it is not a good idea for it to be merely a selection of paraphrased extracts from the writings of others, linked by a few sentences of your own. Inevitably, your essay will draw on other materials, but you should be able to present a structured overview of an area of law, in which you demonstrate that you can identify relevant legal issues and asses how they should be addressed. Where you are required by an essay to compare or contrast the opposing views of commentators, there may be greater necessity to paraphrase. However, once again you should try to provide your own critical framework within which to assess the merits of their arguments.

  1. Footnoting

In each of the examples (of quotations and paraphrasing) given above, the writer could have provided a footnote. In doing so, the writer would make the essay easier to read, as the flow of the text would not be disrupted. You provide a footnote, by giving a number beside the material which requires a reference and a full citation of the reference at the bottom of the same page. Most word processing systems have an ‘insert footnote’ function which allows you to do this easily.
There are a variety of systems for cutting down on the amount of information which you need to supply in a given footnote.  If, for example, you have already provided all the details of a source in a previous note, you can refer back to it.
Example:
Jacobs, n.2, supra, p. 426.
‘Supra’ means above, i.e., that you have provided the full reference before. If the work in question is cited in the note immediately preceding, you use ibid (meaning ‘the same work’).
Other abbreviations include:
 
infra/below:    works like supra but the reference is to an authority yet to be cited or discussed;
 
op cit:              is used to refer to the work of an authority already cited. Thus after the full reference to Smith and Hogan, Criminal Law, the reference may simply read, see Smith and Hogan, op cit. This should not however be used if reference has also been made to other works of the author(s);
 
loc cit:             works like op cit except that the reference is also to the place at which the previous authority was referred. Thus after Treitel, An Outline of the Law of Contract p. 21, the reference may read Treitel, loc cit.
 
Other useful abbreviations can be seen by looking at journal articles, textbooks etc.

You may also want to provide abbreviated references in your footnotes:
Example:
Jacobs (1993), p. 426.
This is a form of referencing which is appropriate as long as you place the full reference to the source in your bibliography.

  1. 5. How to cite cases

* Citing names and references to cases
The correct mode of citation is given in each volume of the law reports. Case names must always be italicised or underlined, but should not be written in capital letters. Cases must be cited in such a way that someone reading the essay can identify the source with sufficient accuracy in the context in which it is quoted. For example, an incidental reference to “the decision in Shaw v DPP” will be adequately cited ‘[1962] AC 220’. A direct quotation, “I cannot accept the suggestion that because a rule is long established only legislation can change it…” per Lord Wilberforce in Miliangos v George Frank (Textiles) Ltd requires exact citation – [1976] AC 443, 469. Not only must the citation be precise but it must be in conventional form – date, proper abbreviation of report and page number. In unreported cases, it can be useful to provide reference to a paragraph number. Once you have given the full citation of a case, you need not repeat it in full later as long as you provide an adequate cross-reference to the original citation and any page (or paragraph) of particular relevance.
 
* The hierarchy of sources
There is a hierarchy of the authority of reports and you should always cite the best reference available. The hierarchy is the Official Reports (AC, QB, ChD, Fam), the Weekly Law Reports (WLR), the All England Reports (All ER), other series e.g. the Fleet Street Reports (FSR).
 
* Judicial titles
Use either the correct title before the judicial officer’s name or the correct abbreviation after the name. These are evident from the case reports themselves and textbooks.
 


  1. How to cite from texts and journals

 
* Attribute all direct quotations and arguments
A direct quotation must be precisely attributed, as much from books as it would be from a judgment. Equally, attribution must be made to sources of ideas and criticisms. Failure to attribute can easily be regarded as plagiarism.
 
* Citation of articles
Normally, a periodical will indicate somewhere (such as on the first page or the title page) how it is to be cited. Some journals use square brackets (such as the Cambridge Law Journal – which is cited [1990] CLJ); others use round brackets plus volume number (such as the Law Quarterly Review – which is cited (1984) 100 LQR). Remember to provide page numbers – both the page at which the journal article begins and the page at which the passage quoted or paraphrased is taken.
 
* Citation of books
The titles of books cited should be italicised or underlined and the title of chapters in books should be in inverted commas. In footnotes references to books should contain the date of publication and, where relevant, the edition (eg, Gray, Elements of Land Law (3rd edition, 2001); in a bibliography, full biographical details should be given (eg, S Box, Power, Crime and Mystification (Tavistock Publications; London; 1983). You should always provide the page number from which you have quoted or paraphrased a section. Once you have referred to a book or article in full you can then refer to it in abbreviated form (eg, see Box, op cit) provided that the reader may easily find the original citation and may not get confused. See the section on footnotes above.
 

  1. How to cite statutes or statutory instruments

 
It is sufficient to refer to statutes and statutory instruments by their short title and calendar year, but for statutory instruments it is best also to cite the number (eg, Rents and Rebates and Rent Allowances (Students) (England and Wales) Regulations 1976 (SI 1976 No 1242). The correct method of citation can now be found in rule 1 of each statutory instrument.
 
The names of both statutes and statutory instruments may be abbreviated once the full reference has been give (eg, the above statutory instrument may later be cited as the Rent Rebates etc Regulations 1976).
 
Use the subdivisions in Acts and other statutory instruments. Acts may be divided into parts; parts may be divided into chapters; sections may be divided into subsections; and subsections into paragraphs (eg, the Law of Property Act 1925, s. 1(1)(a) is a reference to paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section 1 of the Act). Schedules to Acts are divided into paragraphs and subparagraphs in the same way. Statutory instruments are divided into rules and paragraphs and subparagraphs.
 

  1. Referencing web/internet sites

 
If you take material, ideas or concepts from web/internet sites you should provide the full site reference in a footnote. You should also provide reference to the generic site in your bibliography, even if you have merely looked at the site without directly quoting from or paraphrasing materials set out there. It is now considered best practice to also provide the date that you visited the internet site.
 
Example:
UN, Millenium Development Goals Progress Report 2004 available at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/mdg2004chart.pdf (last checked 1 March 2006).
 

  1. Bibliography

 
Your essay should contain a full bibliography indicating all the works consulted in the course of research, which were of any relevance to the topic. You do not have to cite directly from a source for it to be included in your bibliography. Failure to refer to all sources upon which you have relied in any way in writing your essay is to mislead the examiner.
 
If you want to use a uniform method of citation and are unsure which to use, you can either follow the style guide of any recognised journal, such as the Modern Law Review or Law Quarterly Review or that of any established publisher, such as Oxford University Press or Hart Publishing. You can find the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities at http://denning.law.ox.ac.uk/published/oscola.shtml.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FYRP: OUTLINE
 
Responsibility and Accountability in the Banking Sector
 
The aspect of the ‘responsibility and accountability in the banking sector’ which is intended to be the focus of this project is the regulation of banks, and the effects of changes in this regulation before and after the financial crisis in the UK. The question of the project is intended to be the following: “What were the problems in the banking sector, that led to the worsening of the effects of the recent financial crisis on the UK economy, if that is so, and have those problems been remedied by legislative and other governmental actions since then?”.
 
Chapter/Section Plan:
 

  • Regulatory Authorities before the financial crisis:
  • Role
  • Statutes under which they derived authority from and which were the limitations and advantages of those statutes
  • Defects in the authorities themselves

 

  • The response of the government/ The new regulatory scheme:
  • Northern Rock – government nationalised the bank
  • The new legislation (FSA 2012)
  • New Regulatory authorities (PRA, FCA, FPC)

 

  • Evaluation of the new regulatory scheme:
  • Advantages (compared to the previous regime) and limitations
  • How likely are those authorities to respond more effectively than the previous regime in a potential financial crisis?

 
The starting point will be the causes of the financial crisis. As is indicated by academic sources as well as articles from newspapers during the period of the beginning of the Financial Crisis, the origins of the crisis in the UK were the housing and credit boom caused by the financial sector. The financial crisis happened because the banks were able to create too much money, too quickly, by lending, and this pushed up house prices and speculate on financial markets. At some point, people were unable to repay their loans, and the banks found themselves in danger of going bankrupt. This caused a financial crisis. As the former chairman of the UK’s FSA Lord Turner stated in February 2013: “The financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 occurred because we failed to constrain the financial systems’ creation of private credit and money”. So, there was obviously a problem with the regulation of banks.
 
The FSA which was the main regulatory body, had a task to: (a) promote efficient and fair financial services; (b) help consumers of financial services achieve a fair deal. Instead of this however, consumers were given to much money available for spending, without first speculating their ability to repay, which is dangerous for a bank, if such lending occurs on a frequent basis.
 
The FSMA was enacted to identify, prioratise and address risks and opportunities which are relevant to the objectives of the FSA. The FSA had a strong armoury of powers under the law to enable it to meet its statutory objectives. However, an indication of this regulatory scheme’s failure started with the collapse of the Norther Rock and subsequently the nationalisation of other major banks of the UK by the government.
 
Therefore, the response of the government apart from nationalising banks to prevent their collapse, and all the negative implications that this would have on the economy, was to enact the FSA 2012, which abolished the Financial Services Authority, and introduced a new regulatory scheme. The purpose of the FSA 2012 was to create and establish the FCA as an independent body answerable to the Treasury, and the PRA and FPC as subsidiary entities to the Bank of England. The reason for this threefold division was to satisfy: (a) the need to protect consumers when they make investment or buy banking services (FCA); (b) the need to regulate individual financial institutions to try to ensure that they are themselves solvent (PRA); (c) the need to consider risks which affect the entirety of the financial system (FPC).
 
This regulatory structure is intended to protect retail banking activities (including the operation of ordinary bank accounts) from investment banking activities which were involved in the cause of the financial crisis. However, even if the new regulation is intended to deal with banks during periods of stress and avoid public sector bailouts, the strands of regulation are intertwined and require banks to run with higher ratios, and reduce the willingness to tolerate excessive risk. As regulation bites the industry’s to a level where returns are uneconomic compared with the cost of capital, bank management teams are increasingly required to make tough decisions. This can result in fully withdrawing from some business lines or reducing capital allocation to other activities.
 
So, regulation might have its limitations, and therefore the evaluation will weigh those factors and reach a conclusion as to the possible positive effects on the economy, and more specifically in the banking sector, that these reforms may have.
 
 
ASSESSMENT EVALUATION SHEET
 

 
 
UNIT/ASSESSMENT EVENT/FORMATIVE OR SUMMATIVE
 
Final Year Research Project
 
 
 
 
MARK  N/A
 
*Please note that in the case of summative work, this mark is PROVISIONAL ONLY and may later be adjusted by internal or external examiners.
 

 
 
At the moment, this isn’t really an outline of your project. Instead, it reads more as an introduction to a future project. As such, it is very difficult to identify a clear line of argument running through this outline that accords with the broader title. You can have a good research project that relates to accountability and responsibility and that looks at the reforms of the regulatory structure, but you need to think about what your argument will be and how you will develop this argument. As I have said below, think about how you formulate your research question to ensure that it is appropriately narrow. Consider the comments below:
 
Research question
 
Your research question needs to be clearer and more specific. At the moment, I’m not quite sure what the main aspects of the question are. It’s not clear what you mean by ‘problems’, for example – this could encompass many different issues. Are you referring to problems with the regulators? Problems with the way they operated? Cultural problems? Structural problems? Business activities? At the moment, your title could encompass any of these problems, but they are all very distinct issues. As I said in the presentation session, you need to make sure that your research question is as narrow and well-defined as possible – the clearer your research question, then the better your research project will be. You want to formulate a question that is specific enough to mean that you have to engage with a critical analysis to respond to it. If your research question is too broad and you are going to have to deal with lots of different issues to respond to it, then you’re not going to enable yourself to go in to the level of detail required, and your final project will be too superficial to fully demonstrate your knowledge and understanding. I know that 5000 sounds like a lot at the moment, but it really will disappear very quickly once you start to write on this! Your outline indicates that you are going to be focusing on the regulatory structure, so you really need to refocus your question accordingly. You also need to think about how this falls within the scope of the overall project.
 
You need to think carefully about what you mean by regulation. The start of your outline indicates that this project will focus on the regulatory structure, but then towards the end it appears to indicate that the regulations themselves will also be relevant. How are you going to fit the two parts together? I think that incorporating an assessment of the operation of the regulatory structure and the regulations themselves will result in a project that is too broad and does not go in to enough detail. It will also be very difficult to assess the impact of the regulations. Don’t confuse the regulators with the regulations.
 
Research methods
You haven’t submitted a bibliography with your outline, and there is very little indication of the type of sources that you intend to refer to in the course of conducting research to complete this project. Remember that you need to refer to a variety of different sources to develop and support your argument – you need to make sure that you make reference to appropriate books and reports, as well as academic articles. Please do not overly rely on newspaper articles.
 
Argument
I am not quite sure what the argument from this piece will be. I can see that you intend to analyse the work of the regulatory bodies before the financial crisis, and the way that they have operated after the crisis, but have a think about what your argument is in relation to that topic. Remember, you want to make sure that you have a clear, well-defined argument running through your final project, and that you engage in critical analysis in the course of developing this argument – you do not want to fall in to the trap of having an overly descriptive final essay, as this means that you will miss out on marks. Think carefully about what your argument is and how you intend to establish that argument. Please also note the comments relating to the second to last paragraph of your outline. This does not appear to fit with the general direction of the rest of the outline.
 
Structure
The chapter plan that you have contained in this outline is logical, but you need to think about the scope of this project. You need to ensure that your project is not too broad, and there is the possibility that, if you include everything that you have stated you will in your chapter plan, you will not go in to enough detail in your analysis. Think about how you can sharpen up your chapter plan, and remember, you only have 5000 words – that means that, with the introduction and conclusion, you are likely to only have 500 words per each of these sections. Are you going to be able to go in to the requisite detail? Please bear this in mind as you continue with your research.
 
You also need to ensure that you return and think carefully about a plan – what is the structure of your work going to be? How are you going to develop your argument? What will your argument relate to? As you haven’t really engaged with these questions here, please make sure that you really take the time to answer these questions. What are the key points that you plan to raise to forward your argument?
Suggested sources:
 

  • Bank of England and Financial Services Bill
  • Charles Goodhart – structure of regulators (books and articles)
  • Treasury Select Committee
  • IMF
  • Julia Black
  • Eilis Ferran
  • Rose Maria Lastra

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