How to Identify and Assess a Foreign Policy?

  • Jean-Frédéric Morin
  • Jonathan Paquin


This chapter focuses on an essential prerequisite for every FPA, namely, identifying a foreign policy so that it can be grasped and explained. This stage is often neglected and constitutes the Achilles’ heel of several studies, which are so preoccupied with the decision-making process that they overlook the foreign policy itself. Yet, it is crucial for analysts to carefully define the policy that they aim to explain. To define is to interpret. In other words, by defining, the researcher attributes a meaning that will, in turn, influence the type of explanation sought. This chapter focuses on five benchmarks that provide the basis for a comparative approach, including the goals, mobilized resources, instruments, process and outcomes. As this chapter makes clear, identifying benchmarks is not difficult; it is access to comparable data for research that poses problems.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Frédéric Morin
    • 1
  • Jonathan Paquin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversité LavalQCCanada

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