Research on Terrorism

A Review of the Impact of 9/11 and the Global War on Terrorism
  • Andrew Silke
Part of the Integrated Series In Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 18)

This survey of terrorism research focused on research studies published in the first five years after the 9/11 attacks. It highlights a number of positive trends which can be seen in this initial period after 9/11. To begin with, it is clear that more researchers are working on the subject than before and there has been a real increase in collaborative studies. This allows studies to be more ambitious in both data-collection and data analysis, though there has only been a very small shift away from literature review-based research. There has, however, been a much more promising increase in the use of descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The use of inferential statistics on terrorism data in particular has more than trebled since 9/11, a trend which can only help improve the reliability and validity of the conclusions being reached by researchers. Admittedly, this is an increase starting from an extremely low level indeed (and still compares poorly to core journals in other areas) but it is unquestionably a major step in the right direction.


Inferential Statistic Terrorist Group Active Researcher Mass Casualty Core Journal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    These figures are based on statistics provided by The statistics relate to non-fiction titles on the subject of terrorism published in a given year. The figures may not include every relevant title published in a year, but should be seen as broadly representative. The statistics were accessed on August 1, 2006.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See, for example, Monica Czwarno (2006). Misjudging Islamic Terrorism: The academic community’s failure to predict 9/11. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 29/7, pp.657-694.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The findings from the previous reviews were published in the following papers: (1) Andrew Silke (2001). The Devil You Know: Continuing Problems with Research on Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, 13/4, pp.1-14; (2) Andrew Silke, (2004). The Road Less Traveled: Recent Trends in Terrorism Research. In A. Silke (Ed.), Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures (pp.186-213). London: Frank Cass; and, (3) Andrew Silke (2006). The Impact of 9/11 on Research on Terrorism. In Magnus Ranstorp (Ed.) Mapping Terrorism Research. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Alex Schmid and Albert Jongman (1988). Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Databases, Theories an Literature(Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Company), p.177.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p.179.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See Andrew Silke (2001) note 3, and Silke (2004) note 3.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Andrew Silke (2006) note 3.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Garvey, W., Lin, N., & Tomita, K. (1979). Research studies in patterns of scientific communications: III, Information-exchange processes associated with the production of journal articles. In W. Garvey (Ed.), Communication: The essence of science (pp.202-224). Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
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    Monica Czwarno (2006). Misjudging Islamic Terrorism: The academic community’s failure to predict 9/11. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 29/7, pp.657-694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Each article which was published in the review period was entered into a database based on eleven separate features. Coding was made for each author of each article on the following features: a. Author name b. Whether first, second or third author c. Journal title d. Journal Volume details e. Year of Publication f. Country where the author is based g. Occupation/background of the author h. Geographic focus of the article i. Temporal focus of the article j. Terrorist Group focus of the article k. Terrorist Tactic focus of the article l. Conceptual focus of the article m.Data-gathering methods used n. Statistical analysis methods usedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chava Frankfort-Nachmias and David Nachmias, Research Methods in the Social Sciences (5th edition) (London: Arnold, 1996) pp.427-428.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Marc Sageman (2004). Understanding Terror Networks. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; Robert Pape (2005). Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. New York: Random House; Ronald Clarke and Graeme Newman (2006). Outsmarting the Terrorists. London: Praeger Security International.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Two journals from both disciplines were reviewed. In all the cases the review period stretched from 1995 to 1999 and a random selection of eight issues from each journal title were reviewed.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    The criteria used when judging the focus of an article was that the paper had to be primarily about one or at most two groups. It was not sufficient that a group was briefly mentioned or received discussion of a page or two. There had to be substantial evidence that the group was a major focus of the article.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Monica Czwarno (note 2).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See Andrew Silke (note 7).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    For example the valuable contributions made by Chris Quillen: Chris Quillen, ‘A historical analysis of mass casualty bombers’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 25/5 (2002) pp.279-292; and, Chris Quillen, ‘Mass casualty bombings chronology’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 25/5 (2002) pp.293-302.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    For an excellent introduction to this subject see Robert Asprey, War in the Shadows (London: Little Brown, 1994).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    For more on this campaign see D. Woolman, ‘Fighting Islam’s fierce Moro warriors’, Military History, 9/1 (2002) pp.34-40.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Silke
    • 1
  1. 1.University of East LondonUK

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