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Topic Selection and Thesis Development (The Process of Scholarly Writing - Part 1). Sue Provenzano, Co-Director of Academic Counseling.

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topic selection and thesis development the process of scholarly writing part 1

Topic Selection and Thesis Development(The Process of Scholarly Writing - Part 1)

Sue Provenzano, Co-Director of Academic Counseling

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“Scholarly writing [requires students] … to synthesize all that is currently known on a subject to see how it fits together. Originality most often comes after expertise is established.”

- Elizabeth Fajans & Mary R. Falk, Comments Worth Making: Supervising Scholarly Writing in Law Schools, 46 J. Legal Educ. 342, 344 (1996).

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Today:
  • WHY: What Motivates the Process of Student Scholarly Writing
  • WHAT:
    • What is Academic Writing?
    • Topic Selection & Thesis Development: Finding Your Passion and Niche
  • WHERE NEXT: Article Format
what motivates the process of student scholarly writing
What Motivates the Process of Student Scholarly Writing
  • You – the Writer
    • Meet Requirement
    • Engage With Discipline
    • Develop Personal Philosophy
    • Feed Curiosity and Inform Professional Life
  • Them – the Audience
    • Difference in Purpose
    • Audience Attributes
what is academic writing
What is Academic Writing?
  • A Descriptive-Prescriptive Combination
    • Descriptive Claim
    • Prescriptive Claim
  • Creative, Original Thinking
  • Always Check with Professor
topic selection and thesis development finding your passion and niche
Topic Selection and Thesis Development:Finding Your Passion and Niche
  • The Topic/Thesis/Niche Connection
  • Finding a Topic, Exploring Your Thesis, Establishing Your Niche
  • Checking for Preemption
  • Types of Articles
  • Jurisprudential Approaches
the topic thesis niche connection
The Topic/Thesis/Niche Connection
  • Topic Passion
  • Thesis -- Basic
  • Thesis Originality – Niche
    • Novel, Non-Obvious, Useful, Sound
  • Usual Suspects
  • Find, Explore, & Establish
developing your topic thesis niche
Developing Your Topic/Thesis/Niche
  • Class, Faculty, Others
  • Print Sources
  • On-line sources, esp. at NU Law
developing your topic thesis niche class faculty others
Developing Your Topic/Thesis/Niche:Class, Faculty, Others
  • Course readings and discussions
  • Current events
  • Conversations with advising professor, employers, practitioners, classmates
  • A note on talking with faculty
    • Knowing limits
    • Asking for direction
    • Bouncing ideas
  • Your own expertise
developing your topic thesis niche print sources
Developing Your Topic/Thesis/Niche: Print Sources
  • Legal & popular newspapers & magazines
  • Casebook notes, questions, & comments
  • Looseleaf services (BNA & USLW)
    • USLW Circuit Split round up
  • Commercial outlines
  • Treatises
  • Certiorari petitions (careful)
developing your topic thesis niche on line sources
Developing Your Topic/Thesis/Niche: On-line Sources
  • http://supct.law.cornell.edu
    • Cornell’s LII
      • Law events, court decisions, legislation
      • Supreme Court cases, pending and decided
  • www.law.com
  • NU Law Library Resources and Links (see handout)
developing your topic thesis niche more on line sources
Developing Your Topic/Thesis/Niche: More On-line Sources
  • CALR: splits & topical
    • WL: SCT-PREVIEW (search “circuit w/5 split”)
    • LEXIS: Legal > Secondary Legal > American Bar Association (ABA) > ABA Journals > Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases (search split)
    • WL: Bulletins (WLB) & Topical Highlights (WTH)
  • CALR: journals (full text & titles)
    • LEXIS: Law Review Combined, Index to Legal Periodicals, Legal Resource Index
    • WL: JLR, CILP, ILP, LRI
checking for preemption
Checking for Preemption
  • Broadly define terms and scope
    • Articles: Title search > Abstracts > Full Text
    • Books: casebooks, treatises, hornbooks
  • Don’t let it bring you down – add nuance if necessary
  • Save research – for footnotes, to double check points, to change direction, to save time, energy, wrinkles, & sleep
types of articles
Types of Articles
  • Case cruncher
  • Law reform article
  • Legislative note
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Theory-fitting article
  • Legal profession, legal language, legal argument or legal education
  • Learned dialogue on pre-existing debate
  • Legal history
  • Case note
  • Empirical research
  • Comparative law
jurisprudential approaches
Jurisprudential Approaches
  • Formalism
  • Legal Realism
  • Legal Process
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Law and Economics
  • Critical Legal Studies
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Feminist Jurisprudence
  • Queer Theory
writing tips as you prepare to move forward
Writing Tips as You Prepare to Move Forward
  • Be organized
  • Be clear in your mind
  • Think about where you are going and set deadlines
article format where you are headed
Article Format (where you are headed)
  • Basic Four Part Harmony
    • Introduction
    • Background
    • Analysis
    • Conclusion
next presentations
Next Presentations
  • Handout & Survey
  • Wednesday, February 1, 12:00-1:00, RB 150: Research/Attribution
  • Wednesday, March 1, 12:00-1:00, RB 150: Building a Scholarly Analysis