Share this

Explanation and Progress in Security Studies: Bridging Theoretical Divides in International Relations, Fred Chernoff

Reviewed by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

BUY

 

Why have some lines of inquiry in international studies exhibited consensus in their results, while others have not? Fred Chernoff hypothesizes that the use of divergent criteria of explanation may account for differing levels of consensus: if scholars researching some phenomenon do not operate with the same standards for what constitutes a good—or a better—explanation, it may be more difficult for those scholars to agree on which of several competing explanations is the best. To evaluate this hypothesis, Chernoff canvasses scholarly work on nuclear proliferation, alliance formation, and the democratic peace, recording the explanatory criteria used in the most influential work in each line of inquiry to determine whether disagreements about criteria of explanation and a lack of consensus findings go together and whether agreements about criteria and consensus findings go together. He concludes that these associations hold and that this helps explain why democratic peace research has achieved a general consensus “with regard to the power of the liberal explanation for the behavior of democratic dyads” (p. 233), while research on the other two topics has not achieved such consensus.

Chernoff makes a powerful case for the importance of “metatheory” in conducting and evaluating social scientific research. Without clarity abo

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy, Vincent Pouliot Reviewed by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

International Theory: To the Brink and Beyond, Andrew P. Dunne Reviewed by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Developments in Beijing

The Varieties of Collective Financial Statecraft: The BRICS and China
LESLIE ELLIOTT ARMIJO

Chinese Thinking on the South China Sea and the Future of Regional Security
FENG ZHANG

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS