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Author Topic: Tips and Tricks for an Amazing Legal Studies Thesis!  (Read 6146 times)  Share 

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jamonwindeyer

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Tips and Tricks for an Amazing Legal Studies Thesis!
« on: February 24, 2016, 01:18:53 am »
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In Legal Studies, 65% of your marks are based on essays. To put that into perspective, about 70-75% of your marks are based on essays on English. In other words, it is a huge percentage.

To succeed in HSC Legal Studies, you absolutely must be able to produce an effective Legal Studies thesis, and almost always, this takes the form of a critical argument which carries through your essay.  A judgement or evaluation of the legal system which you then back up with your body paragraphs.

Here is my advice for making sure that your thesis is strong, and effectively re-enforcing your thesis throughout your essay.

Memorise/Not Memorise?

I get asked often about memorising essays for Legal Studies. My advice is irrefutably not to do this. It restricts you greatly in the ability to adapt your ideas to suit new questions, new prompts, and new ideas. Donít. Memorise. Essays.

Memorising and preparing a Thesis, on the other hand, is another matter. There is absolutely something to be said about preparing some potential arguments beforehand. Why? Because coming up with a powerful, provocative, insightful argument in the 5 minutes reading time is bloody near impossible. The high achievers will have these arguments already formed in their head, and pluck the most relevant one to adapt and use in their essays.

So you should definitely spend some time before an exam thinking of the potential questions for your essay, and draft some Thesis statements/ideas for arguments that could potentially be useful for the exam.

Your Opinion Matters

So, where do you start with creating your thesis? In my experience, the best Legal Studies arguments are formed based on a little bit of personal opinion. After all, how can you effectively argue something you donít believe in?

So, to begin creating your thesis, think about what you are going to be discussing. Do you think that the current legal responses addressing the marriage equality issue are sufficient? Do you think that the responses to International Crime are doing a good job, or are they pretty useless?

Once you have decided the simple good/bad, yes/no, okay/not okay standpoint, start thinking about the reasons you think this way. What in class would you use to back up the opinion? Are the responses too slow to react? Inefficient with resources?

This should be the start of your thesis, and the start of how you will back it up. Legal Studies is about effective, inquisitive arguments, and these are much easier to produce when you actually believe what you are writing. So, never write a Legal Studies essay that you disagree with!

Add Some Sophistication/Individuality

For this section, Iím going to steal the 2015 HSC Crime Question, which was also my CSSA Trial question the year before.

How effective are domestic and international measures in dealing with transnational crime?

Now, I reckon that the international and domestic measures arenít doing a very good job at the moment, so my Thesis could look like:

International and domestic responses are ineffective in dealing with transnational crime.

This isnít overly sophisticated, and definitely not unique. There are a few ways to expand this and make it more effective.

One easy and immediate way is to add some Ďshades of grey.í Rather than being specifically negative or specifically positive, try being somewhere in the middle. This allows you to craft more interesting arguments, and usually makes the essay easier to write too. The thesis would become:

Despite some successes, international and domestic responses are only partially effective in dealing with transnational crime.

Next, try tying in some over-arching theme or issue you identify with several of the areas of discussion. For example:

Despite some successes, international and domestic responses are only partially effective in dealing with transnational crime, due to a lack of multilateral cooperation.

See? Iíve gone from: ďI think the measures are bad,Ē to: ďThe measures are okay, but nation states arenít cooperating, which makes them less effective.Ē This is a much more sophisticated argument, and not that hard to back up!

If you get brave, you can continue to develop the ideas, add some definitions/context to the start, and you are left with the start of a 15/15 essay.

In an increasingly globalised and interconnected world, legal responses to transnational crime become more important, as criminal actions continue to have an increasingly large effect across nation states. However, a lack of multilateral cooperation in the current legal climate, has resulted in domestic responses to transnational crime being much more effective and more efficient than their international counterparts.

This is a mighty sophisticated argument, which essentially says that even as important as these responses are on an international scale, the domestic responses do better because nation states canít get along.

Now, this is a very tricky argument to back up in an essay, which leads me to my next point:

Donít Make your Thesis Stronger than Your Essay

It may be tempting to craft an extremely complex Thesis, with provocative arguments that is an absolute knock out. Top notch. The marker reads it and is like, ďHoly crap, this person knows their stuff!Ē

Then, they read the essay, and find that the sophistication of the arguments just doesnít match. The evidence isnít strong enough to support what was promised in the introductory paragraph.

Donít use a Thesis you canít back up. Your evidence has to be just as strong, otherwise it will stand out like a sore toe. An essay with a simple Thesis, but argued amazingly, will score much higher than a great Thesis with no back up.

Linking Back to Your Thesis

Your Thesis is fleshed out in your introductory paragraph, meaning that the reader should understand the details of what you are trying to argue pretty early on. However, you canít assume that your work is done there. You must continually link back to your Thesis, re-enforcing the ideas and linking your body paragraphs to the central argument.

This is easiest to do in two places: Your amplification sentence (just after your motherhood statement) and your concluding sentence. So, your paragraph structure should be something like:

1.   Establish Argument for Paragraph
2.   Link this Argument to Main Thesis
3.   CONTENT/ANALYSIS
4.   Summary of Argument (which in turn, links to Thesis)

Making just the simplest reference back, even something like: "Thus, it is clear that domestic courts prove an enforceable mechanism for addressing transnational crime," instantly improves the cohesiveness of your essay.

So, those are my tips and tricks for the beginnings of a Band 6 Thesis! I'd love to hear tips from current students, how have you come up with your arguments and ideas? Feel free to share below! If you don't have an ATAR Notes account yet, you can register here !
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 03:37:08 pm by jamonwindeyer »

aoife98

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Re: Tips and Tricks for an Amazing Legal Studies Thesis!
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2016, 03:09:36 pm »
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Another idea...my teacher recommends using a relevant quote (i.e. from Ban Ki Moon) in your thesis to establish a theme, research and stand out from standard introductions.

jamonwindeyer

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Re: Tips and Tricks for an Amazing Legal Studies Thesis!
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2016, 03:12:54 pm »
0
Another idea...my teacher recommends using a relevant quote (i.e. from Ban Ki Moon) in your thesis to establish a theme, research and stand out from standard introductions.

Definitely a cool idea!! And then you could expand on it in your amplification statement, very nice  ;D