This summer, I worked with Professor Brutger from the Political Science Department on a project titled “Threats, Promises, and Strategies in International Negotiations.” My fellow research assistants and I worked together to analyze over 200 different negotiations on issues spanning nuclear arms limitations to religious freedom in Vietnam. Our goal was to identify trends that frequently emerged in successful negotiations, such as the type of ultimatums posed or whether there was mediator involvement. This project marks the first dataset in the international relations realm that uses quantitative measures to interpret qualitative case studies.
Through my research experience, I learned about the essence of communication within a team. By clearly marking our progress on different studies, we were able to get our analysis done relatively quickly and move on to comparison of our data. Thorough discussions with each other were extremely critical to this project, as the criteria we set for our analysis required us to agree on different definitions. Translating written cases into hard numbers meant that we all needed to follow the same set of standards, which would not have been possible without effective communication. Even if I do not pursue a career in research, my participation in this PURM project helped me develop my analytical reading skills and learn more about different international negotiations. I gained a new mentor, with whom I will be completing an Independent Study in the fall. It was an extremely rewarding educational experience that I would highly recommend.