TRADE 7003 - Research Methods in International Trade

North Terrace Campus - Trimester 1 - 2016

Research Methods in International Trade Policy is a course designed to assist making the transition to the Masters of International Trade and Development studies at the University of Adelaide. The first component of the course reviews the different approaches to learning, academic reading and note taking in the various disciplines. It includes a component on critical thinking skills required to make sense of the vast literature on international trade, much of which presents data in sophisticated ways. Activities include memo writing, report writing, assignment writing, and preparation of trade policy papers. The second component addresses the fundamental research skills which are required by students to access relevant data across the three primary disciplines of international relations, economics and law.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code TRADE 7003
    Course Research Methods in International Trade
    Coordinating Unit Institute for International Trade
    Term Trimester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 1 week intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions Available to MIT&D students only
    Quota A quota of 24 applies
    Course Description Research Methods in International Trade Policy is a course designed to assist making the transition to the Masters of International Trade and Development studies at the University of Adelaide. The first component of the course reviews the different approaches to learning, academic reading and note taking in the various disciplines. It includes a component on critical thinking skills required to make sense of the vast literature on international trade, much of which presents data in sophisticated ways. Activities include memo writing, report writing, assignment writing, and preparation of trade policy papers. The second component addresses the fundamental research skills which are required by students to access relevant data across the three primary disciplines of international relations, economics and law.
    Course Staff
    Name: Mr Peter Gallagher
    Role: Course Coordinator and Associate Expert, IIT
    Location: Level 6, Nexus 10 (10 Pulteney Street)
    Telephone: +61 410 584 395
    Fax: +61 8 8313 6948
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Identify, critically analyse and develop the evidence necessary for effective and durable trade policies
    2 Draw on a foundation knowledge of international trade resources and research techniques in further international trade courses.
    3 Distinguish between different kinds of resource associated with the law, political context and economics of international trade.
    4 Design and undertake an efficient trade policy research project, using skills associated with effective electronic database and Internet searching in the international trade analysis and trade policy environments.
    5 Find and present international trade and trade policy information so it is meaningful and effective in policy and analytical contexts.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Required Reading

    Papers and articles referenced below can be found in digital form in the Course Information section of the MyUni website

    *** NOTE WELL***: This is an intensive course. In order to cover a wide range of topics in five days of class, students must undertake a LARGE AMOUNT of preliminary reading IN ADVANCE of the class.

    The main assessment for this course comprises class quizzes held each day except for day one. Students who do not
    prepare in advance cannot expect full marks in the quiz.

    There is at least two to three hours of preliminary reading to be done for each day of the course. Because this course is now delivered in 5 consecutive days, students would be well advised to start their reading as soon as possible, well in advance of the start of classes.

    Before the first day of the course: all students should

    a. [Required] Visit the website of the Writing Center at  This site contains a number of short articles that you may find helpful. Those on grammar e.g. on the use of articles ("a", "the", "an", "some" etc.) in English are well worth review but will not be discussed in class.

    b. [Required] Download and read at least the following (short) articles before the class. I will discuss these articles in class and will expect students to be familiar with their content

    Reading effectively:

    Paragraph writing:

    Writing an abstract:

    Quick guide to referencing:

    c. [Recommended] Also download and read for future reference

    Introductions and conclusions:

    Writing a research report:

    Writing essays:

    NOTE: there will be a required INDIVIDUAL exercise in paragraph writing on day one. This is assessable and will be marked in the same way as Syndicate exercises on days 2-5. PLEASE see the daily class outline for Day 1 on MyUni for details of the exercise. It will be discussed in class

    Before the second day of the course: all students should

    a. [Required] Read Chapter 3 and Chapter 5 of "Research Methods" (Course materials). All of this material EXCEPT Section 3 of Chapter 5 (on Regression Analysis) will be included in the quiz.

    b. [Recommended] Read "Export Promotion Agencies Revisited" paying attention to the report of the analysis in Table 1 (Course materials). This article will be used for the class exercise. It will NOT be part of the quiz.

    b. [Recommended] Read "Brazil's closedness to Trade" (Course materials). This article will be used for the class exercise. It will NOT be part of the quiz.

    c. [Recommended] Read Chapter 1 and Section 9.5 of the OECD publication “Understanding National Accounts” (Course materials)

    Before the third day of the course

    a. [Required] Read "WTO and Trade Economics: theory and policy" Sections I, II and III (pages 4-2o) (Course materials) This is an explanation of trade theory for non-economists. It will be included in the quiz.

    a. [Required] Read "The Concise Encylopedia of Economics: International Trade" by Arnold Kling. (Course materials) This brief (5-page) essay covers some historical material on trade theory and on the impact of exchange rates. It will be included in the quiz.

    a. [Required] Read Chapter 4 of “Research Methods” (Course materials). This is a brief (4-page) exposition of the static analysis of a tariff and a quota. It will be included in the quiz.

    b. [Required] Read . "Trade In Value-added", pages 1 -3. This is a note by the OECD and WTO on the most important recent development in the understanding of world trade. It will be included in the quiz.

    b. [Recommended] Read. "Ricardo's Difficult Idea" by Paul Krugman. This is a fine essay by a leading trade theorist. It is not difficult to follow but contains a lot of important insight. It will NOT be part of the quiz. 

    c. [Recommended] Read "H&K Fernandez Project" (Course materials). This is the basis of the syndicate exercise for today.

    Before the fourth day of the course

    a. [Required] Read “The domestic sources of foreign economic policies“ by Michael J Hiscox (approx. 30 pages in Course materials or download from the author’s Harvard web site). This is a lucid discussion of the interests and institutions that set trade, immigration, investment and monetary policy agendas in both high and low-income countries. It contains helpful “key points” summaries that students should use to check their understanding of the topics in the essay. The discussion in this paper will be included in the quiz.

    a. [Required] Read “The French Road to Cancún” by Jean-Marie Paugam. ( approx. 13 pages in Course materials) This is a case study from “Managing Participation in WTO” : see the full content of the book on the WTO website. It details the factors that influenced French policies in preparation for a crucial WTO Ministerial meeting. Students should pay special attention to the section “Lessons for Others” that summarises the analysis in the paper. It will be included in the quiz.

    b. [Recommended] Read. “Vanuatu’s suspended WTO Accession - Second Throughts?” by Daniel Gay (Course Materials). This case study from “Managing WTO Participation” will be the basis of a syndicate exercise in class. It will NOT be part of the quiz.

    c. [Recommended] Read “Setting The Trade Policy Agenda: What Roles For Economists” by Kym Anderson (Course Materials). Prof. Anderson asks why economists seem to have such a small impact on trade policies. This paper will NOT be part of the quiz.

    c. [Recommended] Read “Public Choice from The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics” (Course materials). A short summary of key theoretical points in Public Choice theory by one of the leading authorities in the field. Sceptical and “Maddisonian”. We will discuss Public Choice theory in class. This paper will NOT be part of the quiz.

    Before the fifth day of the course

    a. [Required] Read “Global Inequlity & Poverty (2001)“, a chapter from the Australian Treasury’s Economic Outlook publication (Course materials). This is a long discussoin of income growth (and other measures of prosperity) in the 20th century which is the focus of our course on the fifth day. Students are well advised to read the whole chapter but you must read at least the following sections:

    1. Summary p. 1

    2. Introduction p. 3

    3. Gains in average world income and living standards in the 20th century p. 6 - 9

    4. Turning the corner? p. 14 - 15

    5. 'Divergence, big time' from slow compounding of productivity differences p. 27 - 28

    6. The effects of central planning on global income equality p. 29 - 30

    7. The probably slow narrowing of absolute income gaps p. 42

    8. Wars and ‘tropical underdevelopment': causes or effects? p. 43 - 44

    9. Conclusions p. 45

    Material from these sections will be included in the quiz.

    a. [Required] Read “World Economy After 1945” ( approx. 10 pages in Course materials). This is a chapter from my forthcoming history of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). It ties a brief discussion of 20th and 21st century global growth trends to trends in trade and investment with an emphasis on the role of multinational corporations. It will be included in the quiz.

    b. [Required] Read. “A Brief History of Multinational Enterprises” (approx 8 pages Course Materials). This is an annex from my book on the history of the ICC that summarizes the activities and contributions of MNEs in the 20th Century. It will be part of the quiz.

    c. [Recommended] Read “Measured, Unmeasured, Mismeasured, and Unjustified Pessimism” by Dierdre McCloskey (about 50 pages in Course Materials). This is a recent review by a leading economic historian of Thomsas Picketty’s book “Capital”. It is a tour-de-force essay on the subjects of inequality, economic growth and prosperity. Do yourself a favour and read the whole thing, but this paper will NOT be part of the quiz.
    Recommended Resources
    This intensive course is only an introduction to the concepts and methods relevant to trade research. The supplementary texts mentioned here will help you to better understand the material we will discuss in class and will help you, after the course, to continue to improve your understanding of trade analysis

    1. Students with no background in international economics or trade may wish to to read an introductory text before starting the classes.

    * “International Trade: Free, Fair and Open?”, is an OECD publication that contains an easy introduction to the concepts and the data. It is FREELY AVAILABLE in different formats here

    * Alternately (or as well) students should consult the introductory chapters of a standard textbook (available in the Library or frequently at second-hand bookstores) such as Chapter 1 of “International Econmics” by Krugman and Obstfeld (Addison-Wesley – several editions)

    2. Students not familiar with the structure and content of the WTO Agreements, could read at least the second chapter of ‘Understanding the WTO’ that can be found on-line here:

    * Students should also acquaint themselves with the content of at least Articles I - III of the GATT (1947) that can be found at

    3. Any elementary statistics text will provide the basic descriptive statistics needed as a preliminary for this course. Students with no previous background in statistics or probability will improve their understanding of the concepts introduced by consulting a good introductory text such as “Statistics Essentials for Dummies”, by Deborah Rumsey, available in many bookshops and on line (e.g. for about $20 or less.

    * A good, introductory, on-line (free) text covering this same material is “Concepts and Applications of Inferential Statistics” at

    4. Students may find these Excel spread-sheet models of static equilibrium analysis of trade interventions helpful:

    5. Students should be familiar with, and to practice, good English grammar and expression. A suitable modern grammar such as Patricia T. O’Conner’s “Woe is I” (the latest edition, 2009, published by Penguin Putnam is available from many large bookstores e.g. Dymocks. The on-line price is $19.95 plus shipping).
    Online Learning

    This course relies heavily on the use of on-line research materials including in-class use of U.N. trade databases. Students are strongly encouraged to bring a wifi-enabled device (preferably a laptop or tablet) to class to follow along with the demonstrations.

    Online Resources

    For more information about the organizations whose publications we will use, the best sources are their websites:

    World Trade Organization
    World Bank
    Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
    International Trade Centre
    Food and Agriculture Organization
    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There will be five units conducted as graduate seminars/workshops.

    Students will be expected to PREPARE EACH DAY’s CLASS carefully. The program for each day EXCEPT the first day will be:

    6. A QUIZ on the background material that will be marked in class. The quiz will be held **during the first session of the class ** on every day but the first day.

    7. The purpose of the quiz is to assess students' comprehension of the material to be read in preparation for the class. The questions will draw only on the reading material.

    8. Students will have an opportunity to pose questions on the reading material (and the previous day's lecture) BEFORE the quiz.

    9. The quiz will be open-book. Students will be permitted to consult their notes etc during the quiz. But there will NOT BE TIME to consult the reading materials for the first time. Students who have not read the required reading in advance will not do well in the quiz.

    10.Students arriving late for class will have to leave the room and complete the quiz before joining the class

    11. Quiz answers will be discussed in class

    12. The quiz scores will count towards students' final mark (details of assessment will be discussed in the first class)

    13. Preliminary questions, the quiz and the discussion will occupy the first 90 minutes of class each day

    14. A workshop exercise related to the unit to be completed by student groups.

         * Groups will change each day

         * The group exercises will be described in the class materials distributed before classes begin so students can begin to prepare the exercises at any time (the sooner the better)

         * Group exercises will comprise 90 minutes before the lunch break plus 45 minutes after the lunch break

    15. A discussion/presentation of the workshop results by student groups. A group mark, based on the presentation will be assessed for the completion of the exercise. The group mark will count towards students' final mark.

         * 90 minutes will be allotted for presentations and discussion

    16. The final hour of class will comprise a presentation by the course convenor on the topics for the following day.

    The first day's class will be devoted to a seminar on research writing followed by individual exercises on research writing; presentation and discussion of the exercises and a lecture on the material for Day 2. The exercises on Day 1 will not be marked and will not count towards the student's final mark.

    PLEASE NOTE: The required reading for each class will take THREE TO FOUR HOURS. Students MUST prepare these classes in advance; preferably in the weeks before classes begin. Students will probably NOT have time to prepare each day’s class on the night before. If you have not read and understood the assigned materials before class you will not do well in the quizzes or the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This is an intensive course that will introduce (or re-introduce) economic, statistical, political-economy concepts and research techniques that students may have not acquired in their undergraduate learning but that are essential for professional trade and public policy analysis and development.

    The workload is heavy. Overall, students will be expected to devote more than 40 hours to reading, research and assignments in preparation for classes, during and following the classes.

    The reading materials provided are intended to help students with no background in these areas to acquire the basic level of competence needed to support other studies that are part of the Masters of International Trade course.

    The Institute expects students undertaking this elective to attend all classes (approximately 40 hours of participation time) and to devote an additional 15 -20 hours to preparatory reading.

    Obviously, it would be impossible to find the required time to complete this work during the week set aside for tuition. Students are expected to set aside time before and after the tuition week to complete the preliminary reading and assignments

    The reading materials provided are intended to help students with no background in these areas to acquire the basic level of competence needed to support other studies that are part of the Masters of International Trade and Development course.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Day One
    An introduction to research writing

    a. Course outline, assessment
    b. How to read a paper
    c. How to write a paper
    d. How to incorporate research in your papers
    e. Individual writing exercises

    Preparation for Day 2 (lecture)
    Day Two
    National accounts and introductory statistics

    a. Statistics up to regression table reading
    b. National accounts
    c. Syndicate Exercise:
    * Explain the meaning of a regression report
        * Explain the meaning of a trade/GDP ratio, why is it a proxy for 'openness'?

    Preparation for Day 3 (lecture)
    Day Three
    Trade concepts and trade data

    a. Free trade: what is it and why do we want it?
    b. Barriers: tariffs, NTBs, quotas, subsidies, trade-remedies
    c. Trade flows: data
    d. Trade barriers: data
    e. Valude-added trade concepts and data
    f. Syndicate Exercise:
        * H & K Fernandez

    Preparation for Day 4 (lecture)
    Day Four
    The political economy of trade

    a. Stolper-Samuelson & the distribution of trade costs/subsidies
    b. Institutions and coalitions of interest
    c. Trade agendas
    d. Managing WTO membership
    e. Syndicate Exercise:
         * Vanuatu's accession to WTO

    Preparation for Day 5 (lecture)

    Day Five
    Trade, growth, inequality since 1945

    a. A (very) short history of the world economy since 1945
    b. A history of multinational enterprises
    c. Growth, inequality and poverty since 1945

    Assignment due 2 weeks after completion of classes - Date TBA.
    Specific Course Requirements
    As this is an intensive course, the Institute expects students undertaking this course to attend all classes.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Students will be assessed on their class participation including participation in group-exercises in class, a daily class-quiz and the syndicate exercises to be completed in class.

    The marks for assessments will be allocated as follows:

    Each daily quiz (4 plus the writing exercise on day one): 10%

    Each class Syndicate exercise (5 in total): 8%

    Class participation: 10%

    NOTE: Students who fail to achieve a credit grade in class assessments may complete a written research assignment in the three weeks following the last day of classes as a supplementary assessment.

    This course is not exempt from any requirement of the Assessment for Coursework Programs policy

    REQUIREMENT: As this course is taught in intensive mode, students are required to attend all scheduled classes.
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.

    Assignments must be submitted in:

    1. Softcopy through Turnitin on MyUni

    (a) Writing assignment on Day 1

    (b) (Optional) Final assignment to be submitted on a date TBA (about 2 weeks after class)

    All assignments must be presented professionally with clear headings, appropriate referencing and using one and a half spacing. 

    Extensions will only be granted if requests are received in writing to the course coordinator at least 24 hours before the final due date unless they are requested on medical or compassionate grounds and are supported by appropriate documents. Late assignments will be penalised at a rate of 20% per day.

    Your assignment must include the IIT assignment cover sheet which can be downloaded from MyUni under “Assignments”. Each page must be numbered with your student ID and name. 

    Please contact the course coordinator, preferably by email, at any time to make an appointment for assistance or guidance in relation to course work, assignments or any concerns that may arise. Assignments will normally be returned two weeks after they have been submitted.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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