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Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics$
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Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, and Steven E. Lobell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199899234

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899234.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

A Methodology of Neoclassical Realism

A Methodology of Neoclassical Realism

(p.99) Chapter 5 A Methodology of Neoclassical Realism
Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics

Norrin M. Ripsman

Jeffrey W. Taliaferro

Steven E. Lobell

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 5, we provide a methodology for neoclassical realist research. The chapter begins with guidelines on theory building, specifying how to identify appropriate research questions or puzzles, the epistemology of soft positivism that undergirds our approach, and the process of theory construction. This includes the specification of appropriate dependent and intervening variables together with the appropriate independent variables and structural realist baseline, and the establishment of scope conditions for the theory. The chapter then shifts its focus to the process of theory testing, with discussions on how to identify key actors for testing purposes; selecting alternative explanations; and a primer on historiography, process tracing, and standards of evidence.

Keywords:   neoclassical realism, methodology, research puzzles, research questions, soft positivism, standards of evidence, foreign policy executive, theory testing, historiography

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