Cumulation, Evaluation, and the Research Process: Investigating the Diffusion of Conflict

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Starr, Harvey; & Siverson, Randolph M. (1998) Cumulation, Evaluation, and the Research Process: Investigating the Diffusion of Conflict , Journal of Peace Research 35(2): 87–93.

Broad analytic assessments of research areas can be invaluable for scholars because they can inform the ongoing feedback process between theory and research that is at the heart of scientific inquiry. Unfortunately, Simowitz's (1998) evaluation of diffusion analyses of conflict has several problematic characteristics that make it less useful to the research community than might otherwise be the case. The major difficulties we see in her article are: (1) the forced, idiosyncratic synthesis of the standard of scientific progress and its consequent application; (2) the excessively unilinear conception of scientific process (and progress); (3) the inaccurate understanding of some of the research on war diffusion; (4) the failure to include in the evaluation several studies and results that might have led to different conclusions; and (5) the absence of any constructive suggestion of where research on the topic of war and conflict diffusion might profitably be directed.