Taking stock of research methods and analysis on oppositional political terrorism
- Cite this article as:
- Ross, J.I. Am Soc (2004) 35: 26. doi:10.1007/BF02692395
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A variety of techniques are used by journalists, practitioners, experts, consultants, and scholars in conducting research on terrorism.2 This information appears in the context of journal articles, chapters in scholarly books, academic monographs, newspaper and magazine articles, and books for popular audiences. In general, this work can be divided into qualitative and quantitative approaches. A subtle but necessary distinction should also be made between research produced for popular audiences and that which is done for the academic or scholarly community. There is an understanding that work for this latter audience is more rigorous but may lack the excitement and sensational appeal to sustain a wider interest. Nevertheless, a symbiotic relationship exists between popular and academic writers; at various times they depend upon or use research from each other. Periodically, researchers conduct comprehensive reviews of the research on terrorism and the methods used by investigators. Since the examples from which they draw are illustrative, these writings are not meant to be comprehensive, but rather illustrative. Building on similar work by Schmid (1983) and Gurr (1988), I review salient contributions in both qualitative and quantitative approaches to terrorism studies.