In reviewing the history of portions of international studies I reflect on how we might best advance knowledge. I dwell on two issues: questions of method and the urgency of refocusing our efforts on leaders and domestic affairs as the centerpiece for understanding the world of international relations. I argue that scientific progress is best made by combining three methodological approaches in our research: formal, mathematical logic to ensure internal consistency in arguments about complex and contingent relations among variables; case studies and archival research to evaluate verisimilitude between theory and action; and statistical analysis to establish the generality of the hypothesized relations among variables. Often such methodologically diverse and progressive research will best be accomplished by encouraging collaboration rather than by perpetuating the current norm of penalizing co-authorship especially among junior scholars. I offer concrete examples of advances in knowledge achieved through the employment of mathematical reasoning and statistical analysis as many have cast doubts about the substantive contributions of these particular approaches. My perspective is, of course, personal and may not be shared by many others. I set out my thoughts, therefore, with the hope that they will stimulate constructive debate and dialogue and that they will serve to integrate diverse approaches to international affairs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations