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The Third Lecture of Law Research and Thesis Writing:Professor Duan Wenbo Talking About How to Improve the Ability of Legal Research

On March 27, 2020, the spring semester course called law research and thesis writing of PKULS officially opened. Prof. Duan Wenbo of SWUPL was invited to be the first guest speaker of the new semester. Professor Che Hao, Vice Dean and doctoral supervisor of PKULS, presided over the course, and A.P. Liu Zhewei participated in the discussion.

Before the lecture, Mr. Che Hao reviewed the successful development of the series of courses of law research and thesis writing in the last semester, and expressed sincere thank to Prof. Duan, who taught remotely during the epidemic. Mr. Duan Wenbo enjoys a high academic reputation in the field of civil procedural law. He is a professor and doctoral supervisor of Southwest University of political science and law, director of the Comparative Civil Procedural Law Research Center of Southwest University of political science and law, director of the Civil Procedural Law Research Association of China law society, and deputy editor in chief of modern law. He has been listed in the list of high-yield authors of CLSCI for many times. He has a strong academic reputation and a profound foundation in Japanese and English literature Comparative study. From the dual perspectives of scholars and editors, Mr. Duan taught the students the two main topics of law thesis writing and academic ability cultivation.


Part I The technical essentials of the law thesis

According to Duan, the excellence of a good paper can always be attributed to three major convention elements, namely, problem awareness, knowledge increment and effective logical connection between them.

1. Reflect problem awareness through topic selection

The significance of the topic is often underestimated. From the perspective of magazine editors, excellent topics even make up for the defects of writing. If the topic of the paper is obvious, the editor may make it revise repeatedly until it is published.

2. Connect the full text with complete logic

The structure of the paper is like playing cards. The order of playing cards is very important. From the perspective of teachers guiding papers, the structural problems of master’s and doctoral students are more important than point of view. According to Duan, it is very difficult for young scholars to publish their papers in top journals, and their papers are often excellent. Students should take them as their learning objects.

After a long period of academic accumulation and observation, Professor Duan believes that there are six generally accepted thesis structures. In addition to the introduction and the end, the main content can be divided into four parts according to the logic clues: describing the current situation, analyzing the problems, proposing solutions, questioning and responding. On the whole, the formation of article structure is a process of repeated exercises. From the beginning to the end of an article, many thanks to good structure.

3. On the knowledge increment of the paper from the comparative study

On the whole, the increment of knowledge is an important index to evaluate the thesis, and only when it reaches a certain proportion can it have academic depth. But the knowledge increment of a paper should be moderate and not too intensive. This is like cooking porridge. Rice grains represent the amount of knowledge in a paper. Too dense porridge is too "thick" and even boils into dry rice, which is not friendly to readers and takes a lot of effort to taste.

Among them, comparative study is an important way to improve knowledge increment. Duan pointed out that the research method of comparative method has been transformed. The study of foreign law can't simply write about the system of foreign law, but should be guided by solving China's problems.

Part II refining of excellent academic ability

4. Three stages of completion, perfection and perfect writing

Mr. Duan said that writing a paper can be divided into three stages: Writing in three parts and changing in seven parts. It is a process of constant revision and becoming perfect. It can be roughly divided into three stages: completion, perfection and perfection.

5. The cultivation of academic expression ability

Academic ability training, not afraid of slow, afraid of standing. Teacher Duan shared with the students the experience of self-cultivation of writing habits - "promoting reading by writing". Mr. Duan once asked himself to practice writing three or five thousand words a day, mainly in the form of reading notes. He could also write articles of different genres, even if it was "making up paragraphs", it could also exercise the author's sense of design for writing arrangement. At the same time, reading other people's literature, especially foreign literature, and trying to express others' views in their own language can achieve the dual training effect of thinking and language.

According to Duan, writing for reading is more conducive to academic enrichment. The so-called contribution is not to the Tang Dynasty, and repeated accumulation will imperceptibly solid knowledge. However, the pursuit of "learning hegemony" should not be put on learning, because writing skills can be strengthened through training, but knowledge can be learned through repeated accumulation, and a solid knowledge system can be formed. Otherwise, the completion of a thesis means the release of accumulated knowledge, and the lack of inside information will be particularly empty.

Finally, Mr. Duan earnestly warned that scholars should regard academic thinking as a normal life, not just after class or after work, but also in a reasonable way to use fragmented time. Papers are not created by some brute force without accumulation. The relationship between the accumulation of daily reading and writing and the formal writing of papers cannot be separated. Don't stay up late to write papers, and don't stay up late to eat.

In the interactive stage of the lecture, Mr. Duan fully responded to the questions put forward by the doctoral students of law school, including the progress and order of the writing of each part of the article, whether the practical problems can be traced back to the theoretical body, the proportion between the comparative law experience and the domestic system in the article, the feasibility of the cross legal system research and the problems that should be paid attention to in the research, how to improve the reading efficiency and the contribution gap Tong et al. For the issue of publishing doctoral journals put forward by Mr. Che Hao, Mr. Duan thinks that the competition for doctoral contributions is very fierce now, and there are indeed objective publishing difficulties; even so, strict publishing requirements are conducive to the growth of doctoral students.

In the exchange and discussion, Mr. Che Hao first thanked Mr. Duan for sincerely sharing such rich and valuable academic insights with his classmates in a long-distance way. Then, as a scholar and editor, he exchanged his thoughts brought by the lecture from the following aspects: the refinement of the title, the importance of the paper structure, the editing of the article, the method of writing to promote reading and resonance. Then, Mr. Liu Zhewei thought that Mr. Duan's lecture originated from his own experience summary of academic research, which was vivid and realistic, seemingly scattered but with outstanding main line. One is that diligent writing attitude is the premise of entering the academic field, and the two are that writing papers, reading notes and other manuscripts are interrelated. The third is to master specific writing skills. He realized that many students thought that thinking during the doctoral period was more important than writing, trying to wait for the moment of insight in reading and thinking. This process can be difficult. The lack of strict training may lead to confusion and even waste. It may be a more realistic way to balance thinking and writing.

Mr. Duan's interactive class lasted until 9 p.m., although the cloud could not meet the applause of students, but the separated space is bound to carry more precipitation and thinking of students. So far, the third lecture of law research and thesis writing course of Peking University School of law has come to a successful end.


Translated by: Bian Letian

Edited by: Mao Chengle