Researching and writing a law dissertation

  • There are a number of ways the library and its resources can help you get started with your dissertation topic, for instance:

    • Look up your topic in Halsbury's Laws of England and see what you find. Halsbury's is a good way of getting a snapshot of a topic, and an idea of what the key case law is. Have a look at our guide to using Halsbury's (PDF) if you want to find out more.
    • If you have a useful book or journal article, make sure you look at the list of references at the end. This might help you find suggestions of what else to read. Also, it might show that there are certain journals where articles on your topic are published. 
    • There might be developments in this area of law while you are researching and writing your dissertation. Do you know the best ways to stay up-to-date with changes in the law?

    Journal articles are an incredibly useful research resource for your dissertation. This PDF guide to using journal articles in law will help you get started.


    Have a look at the law books and e-books page to find out more about how to find useful books and e-books on your topic.


    Depending on your research area, you may want to read books that we don't have at Oxford Brookes. The information below about using other libraries will give you some suggestions.


    You can also take advantage of our Interlibrary Loan scheme. This is a great way of accessing books held by other libraries.

    If you are registered on an undergraduate dissertation module then you are eligible to apply to use Oxford University's Bodleian Libraries from semester 2 of your 2nd year. Find out more information about applying to the Bodleian Libraries.


    If you will be away from Oxford in the vacations, you may be able to use the libraries of other UK universities through the SCONUL scheme. Find out more about the SCONUL scheme and participating libraries.

    As with your other law assignments, you will need to use the OSCOLA referencing style to create footnotes and a bibliography in your dissertation.


    Because you are likely to use more sources in your dissertation than in other assignments, it is important that you are comfortable with the OSCOLA style.


    Have a look at the library's OSCOLA webpage for some helpful guidance.