The Devil You Know: Continuing Problems with Research on Terrorism

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In a review in 1988, Schmid and Jongman identified a number of key problems in research on terrorism. These included serious concerns with the methodologies being used by researchers to gather data and with the level of analysis that was undertaken once data was available. Following on from this work, this article draws on a review of research published between 1995 and 2000. It was found that the problems identified in 1988 remain as serious as ever. Research is ultimately aimed at arriving at a level of knowledge and understanding where one can explain why certain events have happened and be able to accurately predict the emergence and outcome of similar events in the future. Terrorism research, however, has failed to arrive at that level of knowledge. This article outlines some of the causes of these continuing problems and highlights ways in which the situation can be improved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages15
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • terrorism research
  • terrorism studies
  • research on terrorism

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