The Doctoral Clinic (Vaasa, 8-9 April 2019)

Photo: Asko Halme

The two-day national workshop, co-organised by the Faculty of Law, University Helsinki, and the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, and hosted by the Vaasa Unit of Legal Studies of the University of Helsinki, is intended for doctoral candidates in law and neighbouring disciplines (politics, social sciences, humanities, etc.) from all Finnish universities working on themes related to law.

The main aim of the workshop is to enable you to tackle the methodological problems that you may be facing in your thesis work. While the focus of the event is methodological, its approach is practical and ‘hands-on’. What is the difference between a theoretical framework and a method? What methods are available for legal research, and which method does the research question of your thesis imply? What options do you have? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the options you have?

The workshop will include:

  • an advance reading assignment;
  • plenary sessions on general methodological questions and the main options;
  • working in groups assessing and comparing the different methodological approaches that are available to you;
  • a pop-up clinic for face-to-face consultations with the instructors on drafts of the methodological sections of your theses or of your research plans; and
  • a written assignment submitted either as a self-reflective academic learning diary (3 ECTS) or a research essay intended to function as the first draft of the methodological section of your thesis (5 ECTS).

Having successfully completed the workshop, you should be able to:

  • understand the basic methodological approaches available in legal scholarship and how they apply to your own thesis project;
  • manage the complexity of legal phenomena through the systematic frameworks provided by different methodological approaches;
  • discuss and evaluate critically the political interconnections between various legal phenomena and their study; and
  • appreciate the challenges that interdisciplinarity introduces to legal scholarship.

Participation is free, but participating doctoral candidates are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Please consult your doctoral programmes and Faculties for possible subsidies.

More information (including travel and accommodation information and registration form) is now available on the event’s Moodle platform.