29/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
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Our Research Paper Template for Textual/Visual/Multimodal Media Analysis

Research Paper Template

If you want to improve your skills in this field, please contact us for our in-house training sessions, or visit these Summer School pages:

Objectives of this tutorial

Our Essay TemplateDeveloping the structure of your research paper could be a complicated and long process. This is especially problematic if you don’t have much time (left) to write it. This applies for example to the students of our one-week Summer Schools on Textual/Visual Media Analysis. They actually need to write an essay in 72 hours. To enable our Summer School students to quickly decide on their research paper structure, we developed this Research Paper Template (please click on link to download Word file).

Our Research Paper Template has been developed in line with our Summer School course objectives. Its structure reflects the way in which our students are expected to approach their data, concepts and methods. We used the Research Paper Template for the first time in 2016. It proved to be of great help to the participants in our Summer Schools in their analysis of media representations. Some of them -both students and lecturers- asked us whether they could use the template for their future work or classes.

Therefore, we now offer our Research Paper Template as a free download on the GeoMeans website. We expect that the template could be useful for other assignments as well. It is good to keep in mind, however, that the structure of an essay should always reflect its educational or analytical objectives. Therefore, we encourage you to change our Research Paper Template if that helps to bring its structure more in line with your objectives.

Structure of research paper template

The structure of our Research Paper Template looks as follows:

1. Theme, Concept and Data
a. Relevance of Theme
b. Relevance of Key Concept
c. Relevance of Data
2. Research Questions
a. Meta Question
b. Central Question
c. Operational Questions
3. Methodology
a. A Broad Perspective
b. A Narrow Perspective
4. Findings
5. Conclusions
6. Bibliography
7. Annexes

Writing the sections of the research paper template

To help you write the different sections, we developed a series of relevant questions to address in your research paper.

1. Theme, Concept and Data
1a. Relevance of Theme
Why have you chosen the theme? How does it relate to your personal/professional interests? Why does it matter to your society, to your discipline or to human kind?
[answering these questions helps you formulate the meta-question]

1b. Relevance of Key Concept
What is a key (academic) concept in your theme? How would you define this concept? Which words, grammatical structures and visual building blocks do (implicitly) refer this concept?
[answering these questions help you formulate the central research question and the operational questions]

1c. Relevance of Data
Why have you selected a particular textual, visual or multimodal representation (or two representations)? What makes it a relevant “vehicle of meaning”? How does it relate to your theme? What can it teach us about your key concept in a particular context?
[answering these questions help you formulate the central research question]

2. Research Questions
2a. Meta Question
Meta research questions make clear why your research is relevant to the world, your society or your discipline.

2b. Central Question
The central research question makes clear what your research is trying to achieve. For this course, I would recommend to refer directly to your article/image/cartoon, to include your key concept and to use a word referring explicitly or implicitly to meaning-making processes.
How does central question follow from meta question?

2c. Operational Questions
Operational research questions make clear how the central research question can be linked to your concepts and methods. By answering these ‘smaller and less abstract’ questions, you can indirectly answer the central question.
How do operational questions help to answer the central question?
Do you see the need to define sub-operational questions?

3. Methodology
3a. A Broad Perspective
Why have you selected critical discourse analysis, social semiotics, framing analysis or a combination of two of them? What are the analytical strengths and weaknesses of this approach?

3b. A Narrow Perspective
Do you follow an interpretation of the method of one particular scholar? E.g. Van Dijk, Richardson, Entman and so on.
How does this scholar define the concept that is pivotal in her/his approach? E.g. discourse, a sign/semiotic resource or a frame?
What are its key characteristics? Why is this specific approach useful to interpret your data?
How you do use your method specifically? How does your approach help you to interpret textual and/or visual elements?

4. Findings
Analyse the text(s)/image/cartoon(s) by means of your operational questions

5. Conclusions
Summary of the answers to the your operational questions
Use these answers to formulate an answer the question to your central question
Reflect on this answer in more abstract terms (on a larger scale), referring to your meta question
What are the surprising aspects of your findings?
How does your own background affect these findings?
What are other possible weaknesses of your findings?
What questions do your findings raise, suggesting a possibility for further research?

6. Bibliography
Mention all your sources here. Make sure to prevent plagiarism!

7. Annexes
Please copy the text of your article(s), your image(s) and other data to this annex.

Summary of this tutorial

Hopefully this online tutorial on our research paper template was helpful to you. Key thing is that the analysis of textual, visual and multimodal media requires a strong structure, like all academic research. This template offers you such a structure, and helps you get started with writing each section by asking valuable questions.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

26/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Our Template for Country Risk Reports

Country Risk Reports

Objectives of this tutorial

This tutorial offers you advice on the objectives, structure and analytical aspects of country risk reports. Moreover, you can also freely download our Country Risk Reports Template here. We use the template during our in-house training sessions and Maastricht Summer School.

Structure of country risk reports

Like most reports, country risk reports start with introduction and conclusion. Further below, I explain which questions could be relevant here. The core part of country risk reports consists of sections that discuss the impact of macro-economic and political risk indicators on the risk of a country. Below, you find an example of a structure for country risk reports.

1. Introduction
2. Internal Economic Situation
3. External Economic Situation
4. Internal Political Situation
5. External Political Situation
6. Conclusions
7. Bibliography
8. Annexes

Introductory section

In the introduction, the following sub-sections and questions could be helpful.

Target Audience
Who is target audience of your country risk reports?

Selected Countries
Which country do you analyze in your country risk reports? What are general features of this country? Does the country have a hard currency? Is it an Emerging Market or Developing Country?

Report Objectives
Do your country risk reports refer to a particular transaction in a country, or on the country strategy for all operations? Do they seek to support the case for a particular rating, limit on transaction amount or ceiling for total country exposure?

Timeframe
To which period does the country risk analysis refer? To the next twelve months, three years or five years?

Risk Definitions
How do you define country risk in your country risk reports? Country risk could for example refer to both:

Convertibility Risk (CR), the likelihood that a debtor in a country cannot exchange local-currency into foreign-currency due to government restrictions or lack of foreign-exchange reserves, and

Transfer Risk (TR), the likelihood that a debtor is not able to transfer foreign currency to another country to fulfill a foreign-currency payment obligation to creditor abroad due to government restrictions or lack of foreign-exchange reserves

Sections on macro-economic and political risk indicators

You could use one section each for macro-economic and political risk indicators. Alternatively, you could use two sections each for these indicator categories that address respectively internal (domestic) and external (foreign) trends.

The internal economic section could then have various sub-sections, such as:
-Economic Structure
-Business Cycle
-Economic Policy

The same applies to the external economic section, with these possible sub-sections:
-Balance of Payments
-External Solvency
-External Liquidity

For the internal/external political sections, sub-sections could be helpful as well.

You can use the following questions to select indicators for your country risk reports:
1. Which risk indicators raise growth potential of internal economy?
2. Which risk indicators reduce growth potential of internal economy?
3. Which risk indicators raise vulnerability of internal economy?
4. Which risk indicators reduce vulnerability of internal economy?
5. Which risk indicators raise growth potential of external economy?
6. Which risk indicators reduce growth potential of external economy?
7. Which risk indicators raise vulnerability of external economy?
8. Which risk indicators reduce vulnerability of external economy?

After identifying the risk-increasing and risk-mitigating indicators, describe the 10-year trend for each indicator. Is it going up, down, rather stable, or is it hard to see a trend? How do the values for each indicator compare with those of other countries in the same period?

Then analyze the transmission mechanisms of which each indicator forms a part. Which other indicators influence the values of each indicator? And which other indicators are influenced by each indicator?

After answering these questions, say something about the impact of the indicator on the internal and/or external economy.

Concluding section

Try to formulate your conclusions with this three-step process:

1. Which risk-increasing indicators have you identified?
a. How does each indicator on its own or jointly with some other indicators affect the growth potential and/or vulnerability of the internal economy (e.g. size of national economy)?
b. How does each indicator on its own or jointly with some other indicators affect the growth potential and/or vulnerability of the external economy (e.g. foreign-exchange reserves)?

2. Which risk-mitigating indicators have you identified?
a. How does each indicator on its own or jointly with some other indicators affect the growth potential and/or vulnerability of the internal economy (e.g. size of national economy)?
b. How does each indicator on its own or jointly with some other indicators affect the growth potential and/or vulnerability of the external economy (e.g. foreign-exchange reserves)?

3. What is the overall effect of the risk-increasing and risk-mitigating indicators on country risk? In other words, to what extent do the risk-mitigating factors compensate for the risk-increasing indicators? And what can you say about the risk of the country as compared to other countries?

Summary of this tutorial

Hopefully this online tutorial on country risk reports was helpful to you. Key thing is that work on country risk reports always starts with defining its objectives and setting its key parameters. Who is the target audience, what is the time horizon, and how is country risk defined?

If you have any questions, please let us know.

20/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
Comments Off on Macro-Economic Risk Indicators [Reading List]

Macro-Economic Risk Indicators [Reading List]

Macro-Economic Risk Indicators

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20/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
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Political Risk Analysis [Reading List]

Political Risk Analysis

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20/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
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Political Risk Data [Reading List]

Political Risk Data

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20/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
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Political Risk Indicators [Reading List]

Political Risk Indicators

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19/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
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GeoMeans Courses at Maastricht Summer School 2018

GeoMeans Courses at Maastricht Summer School 2018In 2018, GeoMeans offers you skills courses at Maastricht Summer School for the sixth time. Leonhardt van Efferink teaches you the skills needed to study political and country risks, geopolitical scenarios and frames, and texts and photos in the (social) media. Moreover, Leonhardt helps you with developing your analytical framework and apply it to a country/data source of your choice. Each of his courses enables you to benefit from his vast research experience in academia, government and the private sector. Continue Reading →

01/07/2018
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

Visual Media Analysis: News Photos, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal Discourses/Frames [Summer School]

Period: 13 – 17 August 2018 (one week earlier than initially announced); Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Program: available by the end of July; Language: English; Application process: Maastricht University; Application deadline: 23 July 2018; Accomodation: Maastricht Housing; Funding: Not available

Media Representations Analysis 1: Texts, Critical Discourse Analysis and News Framing [Summer School]Description
The daily posting of millions of photos on social media, the strong resonance of some magazine covers and efforts by many states to influence the visualization of their foreign military missions underline the importance of visual media analysis. This course teaches you the skills to interpret news images and related sentences, captions and headlines. Continue Reading →

08/12/2017
by Leonhardt van Efferink
10 Comments

Country Risk Analysis: Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging Markets [Summer School]

Period: 16 – 20 July 2018; Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Program: available by the end of June; Language: English; Application process: Maastricht University; Application deadline: 25 June 2018; Accomodation: Maastricht Housing; Funding: Not available

Country Risk Analysis: Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging MarketsDescription
The Asian Crisis in 1997-1998, Argentina’s default in 2001 and the recent economic downturns in Brazil, Russia and South Africa underline the relevance of country risk analysis for companies, policymakers and NGOs. This course teaches you the skills to study country risks in Emerging Markets from an economic perspective. Continue Reading →

08/12/2017
by Leonhardt van Efferink
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Political Risk Analysis: Domestic Factors, International Relations and Economic Impact Assessment [Summer School]

Period: 23 – 27 July 2018; Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Program: available by the end of June; Language: English; Application process: Maastricht University; Application deadline: 2 July 2018; Accomodation: Maastricht Housing; Funding: Not available

Political Risk Analysis: Domestic Factors, International Relations and Economic Impact Assessment [Summer School]Description
The recent developments in Turkey, the social unrest in Venezuela and the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine underline the continued importance of political risk analysis for companies, policymakers and NGOs. This course teaches you the skills to analyse political risk drivers and their impact on the economic growth potential of Emerging Markets. Continue Reading →

08/12/2017
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

Geopolitical Scenario Planning: National Security, Geo-Economics and Foreign Policy Strategy [Summer School]

Period: 30 July – 3 August 2018; Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Program: available by the end of June; Language: English; Application process: Maastricht University; Application deadline: 9 July 2018; Accomodation: Maastricht Housing; Funding: Not available

Geopolitical Scenario Planning: National Security, Geo-Economics and Foreign Policy StrategyDescription
The rise of China, increased uncertainty about US foreign policy and growing concerns about natural resources scarcity underline the relevance of geopolitical complexity in international relations. This course teaches you the skills to study geopolitical drivers of inter-state conflicts, write scenarios for these conflicts and assess the impact of these scenarios on the foreign policy strategy of the states involved. Continue Reading →

08/12/2017
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Geopolitical Framing Analysis: National Images, World Views and Global Dividing Lines [Summer School]

Period: 6 – 10 August 2018; Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Language: English; Application process: finished; Contact Leonhardt for the options to do this course (partially) at your university;

Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 1: Fragmented Identities, Rising Powers and International Security Threats [Summer School]Description
The declaration of independence by Catalonia, BREXIT and phrases such as “Clash of Civilizations”, “Borderless World” and “the End of History” underline the relevance of geopolitical frames. This course teaches you the skills to study geopolitical framing, which concerns the construction of similarities, differences and connections between states. Continue Reading →

08/12/2017
by Leonhardt van Efferink
5 Comments

Textual Media Analysis: Critical Discourse Analysis, News Framing and Qualitative Research Design [Summer School]

Period: 13 – 17 August 2018; Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Program: available by the end of July; Language: English; Application process: Maastricht University; Application deadline: 23 July 2018; Accomodation: Maastricht Housing; Funding: Not available

Textual Media Analysis: Critical Discourse Analysis, News Framing and Qualitative Research DesignDescription
The ‘fake news’ debate, the tweets of American President Donald Trump and the question whether media should speak of immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers underline the importance of language in (social) media. This course teaches you the skills to study the possible meanings of media texts. Continue Reading →

02/08/2017
by Leonhardt van Efferink
Comments Off on A Flexible Tool for Impact Assessment of Political Risk Indicators (by Gaia Verhulst)

A Flexible Tool for Impact Assessment of Political Risk Indicators (by Gaia Verhulst)

Our Guest Contributor: Gaia Verhulst

Political Risk IndicatorsIn 2014, Gaia Verhulst obtained a MSc in Comparative and International Politics from the University of Leuven, Belgium. Inspired by her dissertation on traditional leaders and rural development in South Africa, she decided to pursue a Specialised Masters degree in International Cooperation and Development at Università Cattolica in Milan, Italy. Upon graduating with highest honours, she performed several internships in private and non-profit organisations in South Africa and Belgium. She currently works as the Fundraising and Communication Officer of a Belgian development NGO that seeks to enable rural development in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the future, Gaia aspires to professionally combine her enjoyment of political analysis and her passion for socio-economic development in an international setting, while acquiring country or region-specific expertise.

The Summer School on Political Risk Analysis

In July 2017, I participated in the Summer School “Country Risk Analysis 1: Political Risk Indicators, Geo-Economics and Report Writing” at Maastricht University. With an academic background in international relations and international development, I applied for the Summer School to be introduced to (geo-)political risk analysis, a method that I deemed useful to make multidimensional analyses of (developing/emerging) countries and regions. Participating in the course was a good learning experience because the course was intellectually challenging and practice-based. Exchanging views with a diverse group of students and professionals from four different continents enabled me to open up my perspectives on geo-politics and showed me possible pathways to combine my analytical mind-set with my passion for international development topics. The experience has taught me about the complexity of simplification, whereby history, present, and future are interlinked and influenced by various factors. Continue Reading →

23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
6 Comments

GeoMeans Summer Schools at Maastricht University in 2017

Please check for 2018 editions of these courses: GeoMeans Courses at Maastricht Summer School 2018

We are very happy to teach analytical skills at Maastricht Summer School for the fifth time this year. This page introduces our six courses, but if you want to apply for some of them straight away, please visit the Maastricht University website. GeoMeans organises two courses on geopolitics, two on country risk and two on media representations: Continue Reading →

23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
8 Comments

Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 1: Fragmented Identities, Rising Powers and International Security Threats [Summer School]

Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 1: Fragmented Identities, Rising Powers and International Security Threats [Summer School]Period: 3-7 July 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

Description
The civil war in Syria, BREXIT and the unexpected election of Donald Trump as American president all underline the continued importance of national identity, power and security. This course teaches you the skills necessary to study how different ideas about these key concepts can affect geopolitical conflicts. Continue Reading →

23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 2: Geographical Factors, Geostrategy and Scenario Planning Tools [Summer School]

Geopolitical Conflict Analysis 2: Geographical Indicators, Geostrategy and Scenario Planning ToolsPeriod: 10-14 July 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

Description
The ongoing Indian-Pakistani rivalry over Kashmir, the recent violence between Azeri and Armenian soldiers related to Nagorno-Karabach and the melting of the Arctic ice cap underline the continued importance of geography in foreign policy and international relations. This course teaches you the skills necessary to develop an analytical framework to study past, present and future drivers of geopolitical conflicts, and their impact on the foreign policy strategy of the countries involved. Continue Reading →

23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
0 comments

Country Risk Analysis 1: Political Risk Indicators, Geo-Economics and Report Writing [Summer School]

Country Risk Analysis 1: Political Risk Indicators, Geo-Economics and Report Writing [Summer School]Period: 17-21 July 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

Description
The recent developments in Turkey, the social unrest in Venezuela and the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine underline the continued importance of political risk analysis for companies. This course teaches you the skills necessary to study political risks, and explore how these risks can affect the economic growth potential of Emerging Markets. Continue Reading →

23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
2 Comments

Country Risk Analysis 2: Macro-Economic Risk Indicators, Causal Chain Tool and Recession Scenarios for China [Summer School]

Country Risk Analysis 2: Macro-Economic Risk Indicators, Causal Chain Tool and Recession Scenarios for China [Summer School]Period: 24-28 July 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

Description
The current economic recession in Brazil, the unusual budget deficit of Saudi Arabia and the uncertain growth prospects of China underline the continued importance of country risk analysis for companies. This course teaches you the skills necessary to study country risks in Emerging Markets from an economic perspective, with a special focus on China’s future growth path. Continue Reading →

23/12/2016
by Leonhardt van Efferink
19 Comments

Media Representations Analysis 1: Texts, Critical Discourse Analysis and News Framing [Summer School]

Media Representations Analysis 1: Texts, Critical Discourse Analysis and News Framing [Summer School]Period: 31 July-4 August 2017

Program: Click Here to Download Course Program

Description
The role of media before the American presidential elections, the ‘terrorist or freedom fighter’ debates and the question whether European media should speak of immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers underline the continued importance of language in media coverage. This course teaches you the skills necessary to study to study how media texts can be interpreted. Continue Reading →