Promise and Pitfalls of Terrorism Research

35 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2010

See all articles by Joseph K. Young

Joseph K. Young

American University; American University - School of International Service

Michael Findley

Brigham Young University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 28, 2010

Abstract

Using a database of recent articles published in prominent political science journals, we show the rapid increase in terrorism research. Given this increased awareness and attention, we identify several problems that still plague the study of political terrorism including definitional problems, not distinguishing among different types of terrorism, and using the wrong unit of analysis when designing research. After identifying these problems especially as they relate to the quantitative study of terrorism, we suggest some solutions. We then apply these suggestions to investigate whether different types of terrorism, changing the definition of terrorism, or changing the unit of analysis affect key predictors of terror events cross-nationally. One of our tests consists of varying the unit of observation to include directed-dyads, which offers the potential to test some of the many strategic models of terrorism. Our analysis suggests that varying definitions of terrorism, such as military vs. non-military targets, might not be that consequential, whereas different types of terrorism, such as domestic vs. transnational, could be driven by fundamentally different processes. We also conclude that modeling transnational terrorism differently using directed dyads yields new and interesting insights into the process of terrorism.

Suggested Citation

Young, Joseph K. and Findley, Michael, Promise and Pitfalls of Terrorism Research (April 28, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1676553 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1676553

Joseph K. Young

American University ( email )

School of Public Affairs
4400 Massachussetts Ave
Washington, DC 20016
United States

American University - School of International Service ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Michael Findley (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - Department of Political Science ( email )

745 SWKT
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801.422.5317 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://politicalscience.byu.edu/faculty/mfindley/

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
180
Abstract Views
1,364
Rank
310,979
PlumX Metrics