As a discipline of study, international politics can be studied with a scientific approach, but the nature of the complexity of society does not truly allow scientific parameters to fully encompass the issues involved.
To decide whether international politics can be studied as a science, it is first necessary to define what constitutes a scientific study of a topic. At the end of the 19th century as the pursuit of science was beginning to be done according to modern standards, definitions of science were offered in order to more clearly ascertain the nature of scientific research. According to Michels (1880), science is created when three aspects of research are utilized. First one observes, then one records those observations, and finally one draws conclusions based on what has been recorded (pp. 383). The Popular science monthly (1872) defined science more simply as a search for real truth (pp. 226). Although, this definition is complicated by philosophies on what is ’real’ and what is ’truth’.
development of an objective, consistent, documented system of knowledge based on rigorous systematic observations that lead to hypotheses that are then tested and refined (pp. 4). This definition defines science as the ability to observe and record something that will lead to a conclusion which is very similar to the musings of Michels on the topic. Science, in other words, is defined by the ability to research and draw conclusions about a topic.
If this is the definition of science, then any topic that has an observable aspect can be considered a science. Therefore, the topic of international politics can be viewed from a scientific point of view because the activities that occur in the international political arena can be observed, recorded, and have conclusions drawn from those observations. According to Olson and Groom (1991),