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Media Representations and Research Methods: Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics and News Framing

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €399 one-time
More information



Please note that this course will take place online.

Course Description
What do the newspaper coverage of the War in Ukraine, the tweets by Elon Musk and the heated social media debates about migration have in common? They all confirm the pivotal role of texts and images in our societies. This course teaches you the analytical skills to study the possible meanings of textual and visual media representations. Interactive lectures offer you concepts and methods to examine what combinations of words and/or visual elements mean in terms of a broader debate in society. These lectures further help you to understand how national identities and power relations affect the interpretations of media representations. Your individual assignment concerns a short paper, in which you apply a method to study one or two news articles, cartoons or social media posts. Specially for this Summer School, Dr Leonhardt van Efferink developed a template that helps you to write a well-structured course paper. On top of this, he offers individual feedback in class and active personal tutoring by e-mail. Finally, his support includes a simple framework to develop focused, consistent and transparent research questions.

1. Designing an analytical framework to study media representations with textual and/or visual elements (e.g. newspaper/magazine articles with photos, cartoons and social media posts).
2. Developing a research method that draws on critical discourse analysis, social semiotic analysis and/or news framing analysis, in line with your research objectives.
3. Explaining the role of the national and ideological contexts in which (social) media content is being produced.
4. Understanding the complexity of text-image relations and their role in meaning-making processes.
5. Producing a research design and dataset for your thesis or dissertation that is manageable.

Recommended Literature
Dr Leonhardt van Efferink has based this course on publications in various languages (see overview below for some examples). You are not required to do pre-course reading. However, if you would like to do so, you are advised to select one of the publications below. You can also contact Leonhardt for tailor-made reading advice.
1. Caple, H. (2013) Photojournalism. A Social Semiotic Approach.
2. Dahinden, U. (2006). Framing. Eine integrative Theorie der Massenkommunikation.
3. D’Angelo, P. (ed.) (2018) Doing News Framing Analysis II. Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives.
4. Geise, S., & Lobinger, K. (eds.). (2013). Visual Framing. Perspektiven und Herausforderungen der visuellen Kommunikationsforschung.
5. Machin, D. (2007) Introduction to Multimodal Analysis.
6. Machin, D. and Mayr, A. (2012) How to do Critical Discourse Analysis.
7. Richardson, J. (2007) Analysing Newspapers. An Approach from Critical Discourse Analysis.
8. Royce, T. D. (2006). Intersemiotic Complementarity. A Framework for Multimodal Discourse Analysis. In T. D. Royce, & W. Bowcher (Eds.), New Directions in the Analysis of Multimodal Discourse (pp. 63-109).
9. Van Gorp, B. (2010) Strategies to take the Subjectivity out of Framing Analysis. In P. D’Angelo, & J. A. Kuypers (Eds.), Doing News Framing Analysis. Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives (pp. 84-109).
10. Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (eds., 2016) Methods of Critical Discourse Studies.

Teaching Methods
▪ Lectures ▪ Presentations

Assessment Methods
▪ Attendance ▪ Final Paper ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation

Course Coordinator
Dr L.A.S. van Efferink

Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023
Application deadline
21 Jul 2023, 23:59:59
Central European Time
Studies commence
21 Aug 2023
Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023
Application deadline
21 Jul 2023, 23:59:59
Central European Time
Studies commence
21 Aug 2023