Methodology of Scientific Research


The course "Scientific Research Methodology" aims to serve as a basis and an instrument for the preparation of the doctorate's thesis that will allow the student to obtain a doctorate's degree in Law and Security. At the end of the semester, students attending the course will have developed the necessary competencies to:

i) choose and delimit the subject of the thesis; 

ii) critically research and analytically treat the information and documentation collected;

iii) to elaborate a project for the doctorate's thesis;

iv) to write the thesis.

General characterization





Responsible teacher



Weekly - 2

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Available soon


Aragão, Alexandra, "Breves reflexões em torno da investigação jurídica", Boletim da Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Coimbra, Volume LXXXV, Coimbra, 2009, pp. 765-794.

Cane, Peter, e Herbert Kritzer, The Oxford Handbook Empirical Legal Research, Oxford University Press, 2010

Cohen, Morris L. e Olson, Kent C., Legal research in a nutshell, 12.ª ed., West Academic Publishing, 2016.

Eco, Umberto, Como se faz uma tese em ciências humanas , tradução do original, 7.ª ed., Lisboa, Presença, 1998

Gustin, Miracy Barbosa de Sousa e Maria Tereza Fonseca Dias, (Re)pensando a Pesquisa Jurídica, Teoria e Prática , 3ª ed., Del Rey, 2010

Larenz, Karl. Metodologia da ciência do direito , tradução do original por José Lamego, 3.ª ed., Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1997

Hespanha, António M., Como preparar uma dissertação: um guia em cinco pontos, 2009, disponível em

Hoecke, Mark van (ed.), Methodologies of legal research: which kind of method for what kind of discipline?, Hart, 2011

Hoffman, Marci e Mary Rumsey, International and Foreign Legal Research ¿ a Coursebook , 2ª Edição, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012

Holborn, Guy, Butterworths legal research guide, 2.ª ed., Butterworths, 2005

Mann, Thomas, The Oxford Guide for Library Research , 4ª Edição, Oxford University Press, 2015

Meirim, José Manuel, Como pesquisar e referir em Direito, Coimbra Editora, 2008

Pacheco, J. A., e J. A. Lima, Fazer Investigação em Ciências Sociais . Contributos para a elaboração de dissertação e teses, Porto Editora, 2006

Park, Chris, "In other (people's) words: plagiarism by university students' literature and lessons", Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education , 28, n. 5, 2003, 471-488

Pereira Coutinho, Clara, Metodologia de Investigação em Ciências Sociais e Humanas: Teoria e Prática, Almedina, 2ª Edição, 2013

Putman, William H. e Albright, Jennifer R., Legal Research, Analysis and Writing , 3ª Edição, Cengage Learning, 2014 Quivy, R. e Campenhoudt, L, Manual de Investigação em Ciências Sociais , 3ª Edição, Gradiva, 2003

Sutherland-Smith, Wendy, Plagiarism, the internet and student learning: improving academic integrity, Routledge, 2008 Tomaél, M. I. (org.), Fontes de Informação na Internet, EDUEL, 2008

Unger, Roberto Mangabeira, What should legal analysis become?, Verso, 1996

Teaching method

Theoretical-practical class. A first part of the class consists of the presentation of the contents of a doctorate's thesis. A second part of the class consists of the presentation by the students of their projects of the doctorate's thesis, so that they can be analyzed and discussed by the teacher and the other students.

Evaluation method

To write the project of the doctorate's thesis

Subject matter

1) Topics I and II 1 of the program contain all the necessary steps to develop an initial problem. This allows to fulfill the objective (i): to choose and to delimit the subject of the thesis.

2) After the formulation of the problem, the program focuses on its topics II 2-7, to explore the various possibilities of researching documentation and information, as well as the analysis of this material. This allows us to fulfill the objective (ii): to critically research and analytically analyze the collected information.

3) Having elaborated the initial problem, collected and analyzed the documentation and information necessary to develop this problem, the program is dedicated, in its topics III 1-3, to the formulation of the other elements of the project: discussion of the state of art, definition of objectives and justification of the methodology. This will meet the objective (iii): to elabore a research pre-project.

4) The topics III 4 and IV of the program will then be dedicated to the other elements that make up the text of the thesis, and that will allow to fulfill the objective (iv): to write the doctorate's thesis.


Programs where the course is taught: