A particular strength of mine is qualitative research, and I have received consistently high marks in academic assessments of this nature. Included here are links to several examples of my research, with brief descriptions of each. Marks provided conform to the British degree classification system, whereby first-class is 70+, and upper-second is 60-69
Evaluating and accounting for the success of radical-right neo-populist parties in Western Europe in recent years.
Submitted in January 2017, this 4400-word research essay examines the recent rise of radical-right neo-populist parties in Western Europe, and attempts to identify and weigh explanatory factors. Rejecting the common and fashionable assumption that “economic crisis” is of primary and exclusive significance in explaining a phenomenon that has rocked the Western world of late, this paper instead argues that supply-side factors are also of critical importance, and that the demand-side factor of cultural backlash is of equal (if not greater) weight than the “economic crisis” hypothesis frequently proposed.
Mark received: 76 (first-class)
Assessment feedback:“This is an excellent essay. It is very well researched, drawing on a wide variety of sources (including survey data); it is clearly structured; beautifully written; and shows a clear grasp of the key debates and theories. You have successfully blended the theory and material into a very intelligent and convincing answer to the question. I cannot really find fault with the paper – well done!”
To what extent does the media have an effect on agenda setting?
A November 2015 submission, this shorter, 2200-word essay explores the degree to which the media have an impact on political agendas, both systemic (the public agenda) and institutional (the policy-makers’ agenda). Using immigration policy in the USA and UK as a case study, it concludes that the media have a significant effect on the systemic agenda, but is surprisingly limited in its ability to shape the institutional equivalent.
Mark received: 73 (first-class)
Assessment feedback: “This is an excellent essay. The argument is clear from the beginning and supported well through the discussion of the two country cases in the area of immigration policy. The structure is very good. The argument is strong and nuanced – rather than simply saying that the media plays a big role, you consider the extent of its inf luence on systemic and institutional agenda separately, and consider the conditions under which the media may have more inf luence than expected. Another good thing about this essay is that it considers the media to be a conduit between the public and politicians and that it f acilitates a twoway communication, so that the media ref lects both the concerns of the public and policy agendas of politicians. The essay draws nicely on the literature, while showing plenty of evidence of independent thinking.”
The resource curse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
This 4200-word essay, submitted in December 2016, explores the effect of the infamous resource curse on the DRC, focusing especially on the period during former President Joseph Mobutu’s rule. Adopting a theoretical approach, it assesses the impact of different explanatory mechanisms for the resource curse on one particular case, providing insight into how a country with such great resource wealth could end up in a state of such tragic ruin.
Mark received: 71 (first-class)
Assessment feedback: “This is a very good essay that provides a comprehensive analysis of state building/f ailure in the DRC through the framework of the “resource curse”. You demonstrate a fair amount of critical engagement with the relevant literature and demonstrate good empirical knowledge of DRC politics.”
Assess the effectiveness of strategies used by European governments to deal with minority nationalism
In 2200 words, this paper discusses the methods used by the governments of Spain, the UK and Belgium to mitigate the rise of minority nationalism; it was submitted in October 2015. Critically examining the range of strategies utilised, from the repressive to the accommodative, it concludes that appeasement is infrequently productive, and more often has unsavoury consequences.
Mark received: 72 (first-class)
Assessment feedback: “This is a very good essay with a clear and nuanced argument. The comparative analysis is executed well and shows how the cases are dif f erent or similar to each other, rather than simply providing an isolated description of each. Each case is analysed critically, showing your independence of thinking. Well done! The idea that government strategies with respect to minority nationalism of ten have unintended consequences is clear and illustrated well.”