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Teaching with Inter-Nation Simulation and Case Studies

  • James A. Robinson (a1), Lee F. Anderson (a2), Margaret G. Hermann (a3) and Richard C. Snyder (a4)


“Simulation” and “case studies” are supplementary teaching aids available for university courses in political science and international relations. The newer technique, simulation, has been used at several universities to augment instruction in international relations, foreign policy making, national security policy, urban politics, and political parties and elections. In fields other than political science, similar techniques abound. The number of business games or simulations exceeds 100, and less numerous games exist for educational administration, legislatures, career choices, and diplomacy, to name a few. Case studies also supplement a wide range of politics courses, including introduction to American government, public administration, party organization, legislative processes, and public law. The case method is the hallmark of schools of law and schools of business, and it is now emulated in teaching the history of science and in training in research methodology in sociology.

Different types of simulations and cases and their uses have been described and discussed elsewhere. Evaluation of games and cases as supplementary instructional aids has almost invariably been impressionistic. The consumers of these teaching methods have reported their personal experiences with them and have advanced claims for and criticisms of them, but they have undertaken little empirical research to determine whether the claims for particular simulations or cases are valid or to compare the actual effects of alternative methods. Moreover, the Ford Foundation expended thousands of dollars to induce business schools to try business games, but their investment in evaluating the success or failure of this innovation extended to convening a conference to discuss the subject, not to carrying out research on it.



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1 In addition to the use of Inter-Nation Simulation at Northwestern by Chadwick F. Alger, Raymond Tanter, and others, the aame technique has been used at The Ohio State University in courses on national security policy and decision making and at the University of Michigan in an introductory course in international relations. Professors Lincoln Bloomfield and Norman Padelford of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have a political-diplomatic game for use in foreign policy courses. Bernard Cohen introduced a similar game at the University of Wisconsin. Other forms of simulations or games include Robert C. Wood's local politics game designed for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Smith College; James S. Coleman's election game used at The Johns Hopkins University and in Baltimore high schools; Dale Garvey's national political system game at Kansas State Teachers' College, Emporia; and Robert Alperin's American government game at the University of Maryland.

2 Greenlaw, Paul S., Herron, Lowell W., and Rawdon, Richard H., Business Simulation in Industrial and University Education (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962). A useful directory of management games, including information about basic models, administration, and where further information can be found, is in Kibbee, Joel M., Craft, Clifford, and Nanus, Burt, Management Games: A New Technique for Executive Development (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1961), pp. 315336.

3 For an introductory reader, see Guetzkow, Harold, ed., Simulation in Social Science: Readings (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962.)

4 Casebooks include Westin, Alan F., ed., The Uses of Power: 7 Cases in American Politics (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1962); Stein, Harold, ed., Public Administration and Policy Development: A Casebook (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952); and Tillett, Paul, ed., Cases on Party Organization (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963).

5 Conant, James B., ed., Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957), 2 volumes. Riley, Matilda White, Sociological Research: A Case Approach (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1963), 2 volumes.

6 See Guetzkow, ed., op. cit.; Stein, ed., op. cit., pp. xx–xxiv; and Bock, Edwin A., ed., Essays on the Case Method in Public Administration (New York: Inter-University Case Program, 1962).

7 See Dill, William R., Jackson, James R., and Sweeney, James W., Proceedings of the Conference on Business Games (New Orleans: Tulane University School of Business Administration, 1961). A critical appraisal of an elaborate innovation is Cohen, Kalman J., Dill, William R., Kuehn, Alfred A., and Winters, Peter R., The Carnegie Tech Management Game: An Experiment in Business Education (Homewood, Ill.: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1964).

8 Exceptions include Somit, Albert, Tannenhaus, Joseph, Wilke, Walter H., and Cooley, Rita W., “The Effect of the Introductory Political Science Course on Student Attitudes Toward Personal Political Participation,” this Review, 52 (1958), 11291132; Boocock, Sarane S., Effects of Election Campaign Game in Four High School Classes (Baltimore: Department of Social Relations, The Johns Hopkins University, 1963, mimeo.).

9 Reviews of the literature by Wilbert J. McKeachie have appeared periodically. See Research on Teaching at the College and University Level,” in Gage, N. L., ed., Handbook of Research on Teaching (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963), pp. 11181172; “Impact of New Media on Higher Education,” to be published in a volume of papers edited by Bruce Biddle and Peter H. Rossi.

10 Systematic data on American political scientists have been collected through a mail questionnaire to a random sample of those listed in the Directory of the American Political Science Association. See Somit, Albert and Tannenhaus, Joseph, American Political Science: A Profile of a Discipline (New York: Atherton Press, 1964).

11 Donald T. Campbell and Julian C. Stanley, “Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Research on Teaching,” in Gage, op. cit., pp. 171–246.

12 For an effort to determine some effects of a training program on subsequent administrative performance, see Guetzkow, Harold, Forehand, Garlie A., and James, Bernard J., “An Evaluation of Educational Influence on Administrative Judgment,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 6 (1962), 483500.

13 Guetzkow, Harold, Alger, Chadwick F., Brody, Richard A., Noel, Robert C., and Snyder, Richard C., Simulation in International Relations: Developments for Research and Teaching (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963), esp. chs. 2–3.

14 Among the cases used in American foreign policy were the following: Roberts, Chalmers, “The Day We Didn't Go To War,” Reporter, 09 14, 1954, pp. 3135; Dawson, Raymond H., “Congressional Innovation and Intervention in Defense Policy: Legislative Authorizations of Weapons Systems,” this Review, 56 (1962), 4257; Schilling, Warner, “The H-Bomb Decision: How to Decide Without Actually Choosing,” Political Science Quarterly, 76 (1961), 2446; McLellan, David S. and Woodhouse, Charles E., “The Business Elite and Foreign Policy,” Western Political Quarterly, 13 (1960), 172190.

15 Gyorgy, Andrew and Gibbs, Hubert S., Problems in International Relations, 2nd. ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962).

16 Among administrative cases were Cyert, Richard M., Simon, Herbert A., and Trow, Donald B., “Observation of a Business Decision,” Journal of Business, 29 (1956), 237248; Simon, Herbert A., “The Birth of an Organization: The Economic Cooperation Administration,” Public Administration Review, 13 (1953), 227236; Herzberg, Donald and Tillett, Paul, “A Budget for New York State, 1956–1957,” Inter-University Case Program Case 69; Rourke, Francis E., “The Politics of Administrative Organization: A Case History,” Journal of Politics, 19 (1957), 461478.

17 McClelland, D. C., Atkinson, J. W., Clark, R. A., and Lowell, E. L., The Achievement Motive (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1953); Atkinson, J. W., ed., Motives in Fantasy, Action and Society (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1958). Scores on TAT are determined by content analysis of short essays written in response to the projection on a screen of several pencilled sketches. In this research the content analysis was done for each of the three courses by the same two scorers. The rank order correlations between their scores on a sample of essays (N = 57) were as follows: Men: n ach, .83; n aff, .83; n power, .66. Women: n ach, .84; n aff, .73; n power, .66.

18 Harvey, O. J., Hunt, D. E., and Schroder, H. M., Conceptual Systems and Personality Organization (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1961).

19 McClelland, David C., The Achieving Society. (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961).

20 Lasswell, Harold D., Psychopathology and Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930); World Politics and Personal Insecurity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934); Power and Personality (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1948); Rogow, Arnold A. and Lasswell, Harold D., Power, Corruption, and Rectitude (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963).

21 Driver, Michael J., Conceptual Structure and Group Processes in an Inter-Nation Simulation, Part One: The Perception of Simulated Nations (Princeton: Educational Testing Service, 1962), sections 2, 3 and Appendix A.1.

22 Guetzkow, Alger, Brody, Noel, and Snyder, op. cit., pp. 150–189.

23 We have sometimes been embarrassed by the advantages claimed for Inter-Nation Simulation by some of our friends and colleagues. For example, Ralph M. Goldman has remarked, “Ad-mittedly primitive and oversimplified, these simulations are unquestionably successful in providing the students with insight into many of the decision-making realities with which policymakers must operate”: The Political Context of Arms Control: A Systems Approach,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 7 (1963), 618646, at p. 639, fn. 9; Journal of Arms Control, 1 (1963), 712740, at p. 733, fn. 9.

24 For a review of the literature, see McKeachie, Wilbert J., “Procedures and Techniques of Teaching: A Survey of Experimental Studies,” in Sanford, Nevitt, ed., The American College: A Psychological and Social Interpretation of the Higher Learning (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1962), pp. 312334.

25 Snow, C. P., The Search (New York: The New American Library of World Literature, Inc., 1960), p. 23.

26 William R. Dill, “The Educational Effects of Management Games,” in Dill, Jackson, and Sweeney, op. cit., pp. 61–72.

27 Cohen, Bernard C., “Political Gaming in the Classroom,” Journal of Politics, 24 (1962), 367381.

28 Campbell, Donald T. and Fiske, D. W., “Convergent and Discriminant Validation by the Multi-trait-Multimethod Matrix,” Psychological Bulletin, 56 (1959), 81105.

29 The presence of observers was explained to the sections at the first class meeting and was justified in terms of our desire to contribute to better undergraduate teaching on the basis of empirical research.

30 Handbook: Cooperative Test on Foreign Affairs. (Princeton, N. J.: Educational Testing Service, Cooperative Test Division, 1962).

31 Forehand, Garlie A. and Guetzkow, Harold, “The Administrative Judgment Test as Related to Descriptions of Executive Judgment Behaviors,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 45 (1961), 257261.

32 Boocock, op. cit.

33 Greenstein, Fred, Children and Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965); Easton, David and Hess, Robert, “The Child's Political World,” Midwest Journal of Political Science, 6 (1962), 229246; Eulau, Heinz, Wahlke, John, Ferguson, LeRoy, and Buchanan, William, “The Political Socialization of American State Legislators,” Midwest Journal of Political Science, 3 (1959), 188206.

34 McClelland, Charles A., College Teaching of International Relations (San Francisco State College, multilithed, 1962), pp. 269270.

35 For examples recalled affectionately by a veteran and inspiring teacher, see Hyneman, Charles S., “Some Crucial Learning Experiences: A Personal View,” in Connery, Robert H., (ed.), Teaching Political Science: A Challenge to Higher Education (Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1965), pp. 217237.

36 This research was supported by the Cooperative Research Branch, U. S. Office of Education, and Northwestern University under Contract No. OE-2-10-122, Project 1568. We acknowledge also the assistance of the International Relations Program, Northwestern, through funds made available by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Illinois Center for Education in Politics.

Teaching with Inter-Nation Simulation and Case Studies

  • James A. Robinson (a1), Lee F. Anderson (a2), Margaret G. Hermann (a3) and Richard C. Snyder (a4)


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