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"Legal Research and Thesis Writing" Lecture 4: Prof. Zhizheng Feng teaches how to present the research process and findings

On April 1, 2020, the fourth course of the "Law Research and Essay Writing" course of the Peking University Law School was lectured by Prof. Zhi Zhenfeng, who was a researcher at the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a professor at the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and " The Associate Editor of the Global Law Review, combined with his valuable experience accumulated in legal research as a scholar, teacher and editor, has taught his students to help the doctoral students prepare for research and enter the academic world in the future ,Lay the foundation. The course revolves around the theme of how to present the research process and discovery. It cuts in from the perspective of problems and methods, and explains in detail how to present the research results and the specific problems of research in the current era.

The course was presided over by the Assistant Dean of the School of Law, Teacher Yan Tian, and Teacher Liu Zhewei participated in the talks.

Introduction: Why do research?

Teacher pointed out that there is a paradox between scholars and scholars. Scholars who do not like learning are a kind of harm to scholars and learning. Students who do not love academics will find it very painful to write papers. This requires an accurate understanding of yourself. It takes seven years to complete the master's degree program. The opportunity cost is high and the price is huge. This period is enough to achieve success in a specific industry. So if you don’t like academics, the idea of ​​just realizing the purpose of utilitarianism is actually very cost-effective. Students should make choices according to their own wishes, and truly turn their occupation into a passionate career, so that they are willing to devote themselves to their careers. Only in this way, the work that others think is very hard and painful, can they enjoy it and enjoy happiness.

As far as the purpose of writing a thesis is concerned, the most basic reason is that everyone has the need to express and speak. More specifically, it aims to seek knowledge, beauty, truth, solution, truth, reason and innovation. From the perspective of knowledge production, it is called "knowledge"; for the practice of literature and art, it is meant to "beauty"; journalists and detectives pursuing the truth, and some kind of superstition paranoid pursuing the truth, can be called "seeking truth"; Need to "solve" the difficulties encountered in life; the logical thinking ability of human beings different from animals can be found from empirical phenomena, which is "seeking truth"; find the truth in social problems, refine the theory, and generate new ideas It is "reasoning reason"; it is difficult to achieve "renovation" in social sciences or humanities and social sciences. "Renovation" refers to research findings or papers that can be learned from the past and prevent precautions.

Overall, writing and doing research have multiple purposes, especially in humanities and social sciences. From a metaphysical point of view, those who have knowledge contained in the text are ideal; more importantly, they still explain some problems through their own research, solve some problems, and help to understand some problems. Presenting this process through writing is the process of writing and making academic papers. Therefore, academic papers are a form or a carrier needed to present the research process and the certification process.

1. What is the problem

Teacher believes that what is a problem is itself a problem. In social sciences, a good question is half of the success of the research, and a good question is the entrance to our research.

(1) What is the problem in the experience world?

Three steps to help explain:

1.Problem specific practical issues

In daily life and in the experience world, you may encounter specific troubles and problems, which are very specific, very specific, and very clear problems in practice. For example, how to judge a specific case faced by a judge is a problem.

2.question doubt

Continuously discover specific problems in life, and over time will produce a problem on the second level: question. For example, in the TV series "It's All Good", girls are not valued; for example, Teacher Qian Zhongshu said that girls' learning is a problem that hurts girls and learning. The importance of men over women in life, and the disrespect for women in words, will cause a question over time: why the world treats women so unfairly.

3.issue academic issues

Type-refined for many questions to form the third level of issue. A topic in life becomes an issue in academic research. Issues are summarized, refined, and generalized. Specific practical problems, corresponding to solutions; academic issues, corresponding to theory. This is the legitimacy of the scholar industry and the value of scholar work.

(2) How to find the problem?

1. From life practice

The theory is gray, and the tree of life is evergreen. The theoretical problems come from the refining and summarization of specific practical problems.

2. Inspired by reading

Everyone lives in the world, thinking and observing most of the time. Through reading, compare with the existing knowledge and theories to discover differences and problems. Professionals should have the ability to dismantle and type the overall problem, and discover problems in this process.

Second, what is the method

Teacher believes that in recent years, the debate on methods in the Chinese jurisprudence community has shown an increased emphasis on methods. Method is an important symbol of discipline maturity and an important boundary between traditional Chinese learning and modern learning. Traditional learning emphasizes virtue and makes moral judgments. Modern science was influenced by mathematics and Newtonian mechanics, and began to emphasize science.

Teacher emphasized that the matching of methods and problems should be emphasized. For the humanities research, it belongs to the speculative category, mostly adopting normative and deductive methods; for the social science research, it belongs to the experience category, and mostly adopts the refining and induction methods.

Teacher suggested that students make full use of school resources and choose courses in the field of sociology. In particular, the research methods of political science and news communication are very similar to the research of law.

3. How to present research results

The most ideal state is to master all the element information of related topics, exhaustively master all the materials of related topics, and based on Zhou Yan's rigorous thinking logic, draw the research results of the thesis. However, in reality, the ideal state cannot exist in the real world.

Teacher believes that although there is no way to achieve a perfect ideal, there are still directions of effort, of which there are four key elements:

1. Structure

The structure should be subordinated to the purpose. Whether it is a syllogism or a tetralogy, a clear structure is required. It generally includes the problem of open account and explanation; the specific argumentation is carried out at different levels; the three parts of conclusion are summarized and found. You can exercise your structural arrangements by submitting two newspapers and one journal.

2. Logic

Some articles can impress people, and some articles can persuade people. The former relies on rhetoric, the latter relies on logic. Excellent arguments are progressive. Before writing, there are inevitable value prejudices or inherent positions. On the basis of sufficient information and strict logical inferences, different conclusions may be drawn. At this time, scholars should follow professional ethics and correct prejudices. As a calm and neutral observer of society, scholars can have foresight, but they cannot be kidnapped by them, distort research results, and be realistic and objectively neutral.

3. Expression

Firstly, distinguish papers and argumentative papers, argumentative papers are a pile of arguments, academic papers are not enlarged versions of argumentative papers, literature pays attention to imagination, and law pays attention to facts and logic, the two are significantly different; Scholars are unconsciously propagating and propagating Western theories, thinking that they have more moral superiority. In fact, they are only different in content. They are essentially the same as propaganda. Propaganda emphasizes correctness, and research emphasizes argumentation. In addition, distinguish between annotations and decoration. Limited to necessity, it has three main functions: one is to review the literature and respect the predecessors, the other is to mark the source, which is convenient for readers to study in depth according to the picture, and the third is to make it easier to find the true meaning. The literature review is very important, but by no means equal to the research itself.

4. Discover

Is different from the universal truth that exists in the transcendental world. In the empirical world, the situation that the research conclusion can draw the truth does not exist. The discovery of the paper is the contribution. When writing a thesis or doing research, the most ideal state is to produce new theories, that is to say, to provide new explanations. "New" is reflected in the problems that others have not explained clearly, or the problems that others have not explained are reinforced. , This is the contribution. Recommend students to read "Comparative Politics and Research Methods" by Prof. Pan Wei of Peking University's Guoguan College.

Fourth, how to conduct research in the current era

Teacher Zhi pointed out that today is in an era of great change. On the one hand, the scientific and technological revolution brings convenience and also generates many problems, such as the artificial intelligence problem that does not exist in the traditional society, but is very prominent at the moment; Geopolitical changes, the doctrine of legal research is very important when the legal relationship is stable; but in a changing society, dynamic and immovable are dialectic and dynamic, which requires theoretical innovation, and new teachings based on new theory, right Academic understanding is more objective. Western theory is not a ceiling. China and the West are equal opponents of debate, equal dialogue, and competition with Taiwan.

Teacher encouraged students to seize opportunities, innovate theories, conduct in-depth research, and make contributions.

In the talk session, A.P. Liu Zhewei summarized the key contents of the teacher's lecture, and summarized a lot of gains through the style of casual talk.

In addition, Teacher Zhi also combined his own research experience and conducted in-depth discussions and exchanges on the relationship between departmental jurisprudence research and jurisprudence and departmental law raised by students, as well as empirical research and case analysis.

At the end of the course, Teacher Che reviewed and summarized the contents of the course, and thanked the teacher for the wonderful report. He encouraged the students to make more reserves and lay a solid foundation during the reading stage, while maintaining a sober understanding of academic career, and working hard to produce results.


Translated by: Qin Peizhao

Edited by: Jiang Lu