Law student understandings of critical theory: A phenomenographic study.

MORSE, Catherine Anne. (2009). Law student understandings of critical theory: A phenomenographic study. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

PDF (Version of Record)
10697393.pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (3MB) | Preview


This dissertation provides a phenomenographic analysis of perceptions of critical thinking in Law students. The ability to develop and demonstrate critical thinking is a key element in higher education, being an important criterion for success in terms of assessment. Critical thinking is particularly significant in the context of the study of Law, as Law embraces both problem-solving in the 'technical' sense as well as the consideration and evaluation of argument, policy and jurisprudential questions. While definitions of critical thinking are problematic, they would include such notions of problem-solving and evaluation, so making legal education interestingly susceptible to such enquiry. Phenomenography as a qualitative research method is well established, (although also contested) and has been used particularly in the field of educational research. It aims to give a 'second-order' account of perceptions of phenomena and so appeared to be an appropriate methodology in this instance, where the main investigation concerns students' own interpretation of what 'critical thinking' might connote. A group of first-year students was interviewed and a set of questions used to enable their perceptions and experience of critical thinking to emerge. An account of these perceptions, categorised under five headings, was then developed. The five categories are as follows: Critical thinking as negative; Instrumental critical thinking; A sense of argument; A general sense of analysis and Critical thinking as a way of being. The findings in relation to such perceptions, reviewed in the light of the literature on critical thinking and some of the current debates surrounding practices and directions in legal education, have clear implications for informing curriculum development, changing practice and developing pedagogic theory.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Ashworth, Emeritus Peter
Thesis advisor - Harris, Phil
Additional Information: Thesis (Ed.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2009.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 12:08

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics