Introducing research in law and beyond
Introducing research in law and beyond

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Introducing research in law and beyond

2.6 Using drawing techniques

The use of a research diary, mind maps, cause and effect diagrams and decision trees have been suggested to help you produce three possible research questions. You will do this in Activity 1.

Activity 1

Work through one or two drawing techniques to generate three possible topics that you might research. Do not worry about being rigorously faithful to a particular technique. The purpose of this activity is for you to think about possible research questions.

If you are unsure of what you want to research, a good starting point might be to choose three or four themes and generate one idea around each theme. Possible themes could be international law, rights, comparative law or regulation.

When you have reviewed a theme, you might draw a mind map to capture your understanding. Start by putting the theme in a central blob and radiate out with thoughts about that theme; these are effectively sub-topics which you are using to break down the main theme. These sub-topics might cover jurisdiction, evidence, exceptions, common criticisms, outcomes of reviews etc. If, for example, you choose a particular landmark case, your sub-topics could be the judgment, conflicting judgments, dissenting opinions, composition of the court, definitions and any academic articles that discuss the case. If you are looking at a particular topic in international law, your sub-topics could be core cases, core statutes, core treaty articles, brief facts etc. Use single words or concepts to keep the mind map sharp and concise.

You will need to review the mind map to make sure that it best captures all of your thoughts around the theme. Mind maps help you appreciate how ideas progress not just chronologically, but creatively. They help you identify key concepts and approaches, and provide a fuller understanding of the topic with clarity and purpose.


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