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Wargaming for International Relations Research

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This webinar will cover the use of wargames in international relations research.

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Political scientists are increasingly integrating wargames—simulations of crises—into their research. Either by fielding original games as a data-generating process or by leveraging archival wargame materials, researchers can study rare events or topics where data are difficult to obtain. Scholars, however, have little guidance on how to apply this novel methodological approach to political science research. This article evaluates how political scientists can use wargames as a method of scholarly inquiry and sets out to establish a research agenda for wargaming in international relations. We first differentiate wargames from other methodological approaches. We then chart out how researchers can build and run their own games, or draw from archival wargames for theory development and testing. In doing so, we explain how researchers can navigate issues of recruitment, bias, validity, and generalizability when using wargames for research, and identify ways to empirically test the potential benefits and pitfalls of wargames as a tool for political science scholarship. We argue that wargames offer unique opportunities for political scientists to study issues related to decision-making both in and beyond the international relations subfield.

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Jacquelyn Schneider is a Hoover Fellow at Stanford University and a non-resident fellow at the Naval War College's Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute.

Reid Pauly is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University and the Dean's Assistant Professor of Nuclear Security and Policy at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Pauly earned his Ph.D. from MIT and has held fellowships at the Belfer Center (Harvard Kennedy School) and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (Stanford). His work has been published in International Security, The Nonproliferation Review, and two edited volumes. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled "The Assurance Dilemma in Coercive International Politics."

Erik Lin-Greenberg is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research examines how emerging military technology affects conflict dynamics and the use of force. His work has appeared in academic and policy outlets including Journal of Conflict Resolution, Security Studies, Journal of Peace Research, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. He completed his PhD at Columbia University and previously held fellowships at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

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