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Michael's comments

What have you learnt most from writing this assignment and what advice would you give to others? (part 1)

Well firstly to leave, leave yourself plenty of time especially if you want, if you want someone to read through it you are going to need to get it finished at least a week before it is due so you can, because it is fairly difficult to find people to read through it at university um so I realise you know how much time it can take up and that I should really get on to things earlier um I've always had that sort of problem leaving it a bit later, most people do but um and what else, and also found that um the yeah and you really, especially at university referencing and citations are quite important and it's really easy to plagiarise. Actually the first article that I found um that was referred to in the question I, I found that and I read through it and I almost, I was tempted to sort of paraphrase what they had said and um you have really got to be careful not to plagiarise. You can sometimes get away with it at school but they, they are a lot tougher on plagiarising at university so I was really careful not to you know. If I read something that I really liked and an argument that I, that I wanted to use, I would forget about it for a while and try and write it without referring to it until afterwards.

What have you learnt most from writing this assignment and what advice would you give to others? (part 2)

You shouldn't rely as much on sources and you should really be expressing your own opinion, developing your own um perspectives on things.

How would you compare writing for your Legal Process assignment with writing for assignments in Year 12?

There is a tutor at college, I am starting at college and there is a tutor at college who could have read through it but I didn't get it finished in time [00:06] before I hand it in. Would have like to have had someone to read through it for me but it was, it was almost good and it was almost a challenge just sort of to write it on your own and to think about it, and actually read through and critically analyse your own assignment and I read through it a couple of times and changed some things and um it's difficult and it is a lot better if you have got someone who can read through it objectively but um it was almost a challenge to read through it and try and change things yourself and, and critically analyse your own a...

How did you deal with the differences?

Yeah and also the format, you are not told how to go about writing it as much as university um the actual way of writing it, I didn't find that it differed that much from, from year 12 sort of assignments, that's, that's much the same especially it is quite similar to um Cat 1, [00:18] issues last year for English, um we learnt, you know we learnt quite a bit about arguing and writing critically and expressing your opinion last year was fairly similar there were some minor, minor differences in the way you argue in the, within the faculty within the sort of subject area, um but apart from that yeah it was quite similar.

Were there any other noticeable differences between first-year Legal Process and Year 12 writing?

There is just a certain style, you have to say things for example I'd just, I'd just realised when I was reading through some of the pieces that I found while researching that you need to say things like um it is submitted that and just there sort of a bit of legal jargon there that, and I just got a feel for that by reading some articles but apart from that, it was fairly, it was fairly similar. It wasn't a lot difference because it was fairly, a general essay, a fairly general assignment although um I found that there was a lot less help at university than there was in Year 12. There was no one sort of pointing you in the right direction, telling you to do this, um you know and if, and there were no drafts, you couldn't take it in and ask your teacher what they thought before you actually got it marked and so yeah basically I handed it in not knowing what she would think of it whereas at school you could hand it in know she liked this, she liked that, I'm not quite sure how she will like the bit I have re-done but you didn't really have much of an idea this year um as to what you.

How did you go about writing the essay?

I actually started with the introduction um the sort of, I wasn't quite sure what sort of format was required in this sort of, for this sort of essay um so I read through a few introductions um from the pieces that I had found while I was researching and um I sort of got an idea what sort of things you had to include in the introduction, you know you had to sort of include, you had to draw the reader in and maybe using some sort of statistics and then state your, summarise your opinion and summarise what you are going to say and so I wrote the introduction first but I actually, when I had finished the essay I went back and changed it a little bit, not a great deal but just went back and changed a few things because my focus had changed a little once I had started writing I realised that I needed to speak more about certain things.

What factors helped you decide how to write and structure the introduction?

I sort of regret doing it this way in a way but um in going about writing the, the essay I really um didn't actually make a written plan I was just trying to sort it out in my head and I was focusing, I divided it up into six little areas, introduction, then a discussion of the Victorian stance, a discussion of an overseas stance in an overseas jurisdiction and then discussion of consent and what that involves, the issue of consent and then a discussion of the subjective intentions and what that involves, and then a conclusion so I sort of initially I knew what I was, how I was going to write it, I had broken it up into six parts but it probably would have helped if I had um, and I sort of knew which, and I take, I took a few notes, I sort of make references to certain pages for certain sections but it would have been a lot better if I had um made a clearer plan, a written plan, I just sort of had it organised in my head and it took a lot longer to write so I was constantly trying to find things and if I had the page numbers there.

How effective was your approach to the research and writing?

The researching I thought my approach was fairly good. I was, just that I wish I had started a little bit earlier, I only, I know three weeks sounds like a fair bit but I wasn't researching constantly, I was just, you know every second day I would go over for a couple of hours and look for an article or two. Um, probably if I had spent a bit more time it would have, it would have helped, um but I was happy with the way I went about the research and I ended up getting quite a bit of material and variety, from a variety of sources so I was happy with that, um, my, my, um approach when it came to writing the assignment I thought it wasn't bad although I would have preferred to have written a plan and to have had it, because it took quite, quite a bit of time and actually I stayed up most of the night one night trying to finish it. It wasn't the night before it was due but just because I was sort of on the roll but I was still struggling through and I had to find you know pages in books, if I had sort of written those down before hand and written down a, a more definitive plan then that would have been fairly helpful so yeah I probably recommend writing a decent plan and.

Which aspects of your assignment were you most happy with?

I was probably most pleased with the discussion of consent and morality. I was happy with the way that turned out and the fact that I got it in and also um I was, and I was happy with the referencing and I got all that, I am pretty sure that that was all correct, it was, that's the other thing that was fairly difficult to know how to reference certain things and I had to speak to some friends and other people who were doing it, um but yeah I was happy with the consent and the morality discussion of that.

Which aspects of your assignment were you least happy with?

I was probably least happy with the discussion of Holland the overseas jurisdiction and ah yeah just probably the Holland discussion, I didn't um, probably didn't get enough information on that and um, just say two or three articles on that.

How far could you rely on class materials to write your assignment?

If I had done the question I was originally going to do then I probably could have relied on class material but um this question we had done very little on it at all, we did, actually later on when I was getting towards the end of the assignment we started doing it in criminal law and also um you know just in criminal law and so that sort of helped a little bit but yeah I had to, most of my assignment was based on research done outside of class.

How did you go about researching for the assignment?

One day I just decided to go over to the law library and got a big surprise because it was so, it's just so big and there is just no, very difficult to find things, um, probably took me half a day to find the article, the few articles that I wanted and just to read through them and so on and photocopy them, find the photocopier and um so I firstly went and asked, I didn't know where to start so I went and asked the receptionist and she pointed me in the right direction um looked up the catalogue and eventually found the article, where the article or the journal that the article's in and yeah so and then after that um finding that article I also realised you know that article was written when the issue is at its most contentious for this stage and so I, um in that same journal there were about five other articles and I photocopied those and found that in the footnotes of those I could, there were references to other ones and it was sort of, it's almost um, how would you describe it, it was like an expedition sort of thing, once you find one, you find another and then you find another and ah.

How did you decide when you had done enough research?

Well there are a lot of different sort of um perspectives and a lot of different arguments in the debate and so, in the debate and so I sort of, once I found, once I found that I was getting, I just finding articles that were repeating what other people had said and were arguing the same sorts of things as the articles I already had once you know I had about 15 or 16 articles and I was looking for more and um yeah I wasn't finding any original ones, any original arguments and that's when I realised I had enough, just, that I couldn't really find anything original and so I just stuck to the, used the stuff that I already had.

How long did you spend researching and writing?

I spent a lot more time researching than I did actually writing it, I probably spent three weeks researching and a week probably writing it so.

How did you decide which topic to choose? (part 1)

Selecting the topic, initially I read through them just in class while she was talking and just, I was inclined to go for No. 4 which was, which had to do with um, what was it, it was to do with civil rights in general and um and I thought that a case, I was looking for one that I knew something about it, at least could relate, you know one that I could relate to some sort of knowledge that I already had and so I, I thought about this case, I sort of thought of this case that we had done in criminal law a couple of weeks ago, I thought I might be able to relate it to that one, so initially I was going to do No. 4 and I did some research and found that um it would have been quite difficult because it would have involved speculation as to the Australian situation and that's what we, that's what the question involved discussing the Australian situation so if it involved speculation I didn't really want to do it to [00:56] and so um someone else actually did it in the class and said it was.

How did you decide which topic to choose? (part 2)

And then yeah it came down to the other three and there was one that was really open-ended, and I don't like open-ended questions, um, I find it difficult to make up my mind and so on so I wanted one that was, that gave me a bit of direction and was quite specific and then the first one just caught my eye because it was on euthanasia which um I am quite interested in and so I decided to do that and also my friend in college was also doing the same topic so.

Which aspects of the question were most helpful in deciding the direction your answer would take?

Well firstly um the lecturer referred to a specific journal article and so told us to summarise the Victorian legal situation and with reference to the situation in an overseas, the legal stance in an overseas jurisdiction, to comment critically on whether the primary focus will determine the legal [00:22] voluntary euthanasia should be the issue of patient consent rather than the subjective intentions of the doctors or nurses so it was, it was quite specific there, you could see that she was referring to consent and she was um also directing you to deal with the subjective intentions which, I wasn't quite sure what that was but I thought once I had ascertained what that was it wouldn't be too hard and it just looked um, yeah, quite definitive and so I just went about researching and.

What did you take "comment critically" to mean in the question?

Um that was actually the first thing I went about finding that article. It took a while because I had never done legal research and um I got some help from the librarians and the people who were there to assist us at the support desk sort of like a reception area and um yeah that was the first thing I went about finding because there was a reference to it in the question and that um was really helpful, I found just reading that, it clarified the subjective intentions part of the question and also it made it fairly clear what um issues I had to deal with in responding to that.

What importance did the article cited in the question have?

This is probably where I should of, I probably should have asked her again, she sort of went through it in class but um I took it as meaning that you needed to state your own opinion, that you needed to express an opinion and to say not just to summarise and not just to, not just to sort of give the current position you also have got to analyse it and critically comment so you have got to give your own opinion and state whether you think that is correct or whether it could be improved, so that's what I took it to mean just that you needed to express.

How did you manage to discuss moral issues in legal terms?

Well initially I went through and I discussed the legal situation and then when I, when it got on to discussions of morality I tried to um, I tried to establish that, voluntary euthanasia is no longer immoral because of current um, current perspectives in the community and um in the way people think and people's opinions and since there's 70 something 80% support for euthanasia I argued that it is no longer immoral and therefore tried to relate that back to the legal situation which is if something is no longer immoral then it shouldn't really be legally um, considered legally wrong.

How did you decide which overseas jurisdiction to focus on?

Yeah I just, obviously that um, I had to get, I had to find an overseas jurisdiction that obviously [00:07] because she's, she's told us to find one and um I didn't actually know that in Holland euthanasia was, is permitted but um I found out, originally I was going to Oregon in America but that was um, I found out that that only legalised physician assisted suicide which is only, which is only going part of the way to legalising euthanasia really so um I decided on Holland and then tried to contrast the situation, the legal, the legal stance that Victoria is taking with the one that Holland's taking, that the Dutch were taking.

What do you think were the central issues raised by the assignment topic?

Well first I thought, when I read the question, it was easy as soon as you saw the word euthanasia just to go off and argue about, argue whether you, you know argue for euthanasia or argue against euthanasia and just focus on the permissibility of euthanasia but I, I read through the question, I realised especially after reading the article that she referred to that it wasn't just a discussion of euthanasia it was a discussion of specific aspects of the debate and they were the issue of consent and when I did some further research I found out that had to relate to morality as well so I really, I was careful to just focus on consent and morality, just the things that she was asking basically in the questions she was referring to and also the subjective intentions which upon doing further research I found out what that meant and so I was really careful not to go off on a tangent and start arguing about euthanasia in general and just stick to the topic which related to consent and subjective intention.

What advice did you receive on how to begin researching and planning for the assignment? (part 1)

Yeah the extra advice was basically the day that we received the assignment she went through it and discussed what she wanted us to do for example um she wanted us to answer the question, that's fairly obvious but she made sure that we knew that and also um that you know she wanted an opinion, a critical analysis rather than just um, rather than just summarising other people's points of view and the law as it stands, she wanted us to actually state our opinions, express our opinions.

What advice did you receive on how to begin researching and planning for the assignment? (part 2)

And then also in addition to that we were given a class, we were given some advice on um legal research by the librarian and um, and so that went for about, you know another lecture, so about an hour 50 minutes and we were told how to research cases and also um statutes on the web and she also told us where we would go about or how we would go about finding um certain journals and that sort of thing so we got a little bit of um advice in that regard, yeah.

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