Writing Armageddon

Writing Armageddon
Furious writing or writing furiously?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Contributor Publication: K.Travlos "Islands in a Sea of Fog"

I have been lucky and Uluslararasi Iliskiler- International Relations has published in Volume 13, Issue 50, my article “Islands in a Sea of Fog: A Rapid Evidence Assessment of Quantitative Research in the pre-1816 Period”. You can find the abstract at

A bit about the article

This article is part of my preparatory work for the next stage the 1715-1815 Militarized Interstate Dispute Project I am working on with others (see http://ktravlospolisci.blogspot.com.tr/p/research-ii.html and http://hdl.handle.net/2142/46760 ) . The goal was to conduct an overview of the field of quantitative studies that focus on temporal domains that include periods before 1815.  It was an exercise in locating existing datasets (of which there were many more than I initially thought there would be), becoming aware of synergies, looking at the types of articles that got published using pre-1815 data, and locating gaps. Suffice to say that there is a lot of data out there that can be linked to the 1715-1815 MID Project and provide enough variables to sustain quantitative analysis.  Beyond that some of the articles surveyed were very interesting on their own.

 During the review process it became evident that I would need something more than an overview, so I decided to also conduct a REA using data extracted from the articles, in order to ascertain how often they noted differences in behavior between the pre and post-1815 period. The findings in general did not support an expectation of difference. In another name studies that focus on the past were more likely to not find important differences with the present, making their findings relevant for the discussion of current issues. This finding of course challenges the “presentism” dominance in the study of conflict. That said I would caution that a more sophisticated meta-analysis might be required to resolve the question of relevance.

Who would find this useful?

First of all any scholar who is interested in conducting a large n study including pre-1815 temporal domains. My article is a good depository of extant data, and thus can lead them to find the data they need.  There is data here of interest for scholars of inter-state, intra-state, non-state and extra-state conflict. Furthermore even scholars working in the qualitative tradition will find this data useful for the selection of cases, or the finding of information for cases.

Second, scholars interested on the question of change in international politics, and especially in international conflict. The extant data has important things to say, and its inclusion in research designs would not only expand the number of observations, but also permit interesting evaluations of the evolutionary dynamics of interstate conflict. The question of difference is not as resolved as advocates of “presentism” would assume.

Third, students and scholars creating literature reviews will find my article narratives useful as a quick source. They are located with replication data at http://ktravlospolisci.blogspot.com.tr/p/replication-data.html

Fourth, scholars interested in conducting a meta-analysis of the field on international conflict can use my data to do so, or to connect to data extracted from articles focusing on post-1815 temporal domains.

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