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Policy Brief

Moving Terrorism Research Forward: The Crucial Role of Primary Sources

27 Jun 2013

Research can only be as good as the data on which it is based. Unfortunately for scholars in the field of terrorism studies, getting access to reliable primary sources, such as government archives and interviews with (former) terrorists, has been a long-standing challenge. The good news is that the last couple of years have seen some important improvements in this regard that have opened-up exciting new avenues for research on terrorism. This Background Note discusses the causes and consequences of the scarcity of primary source-based research for academics and policy makers. It also highlights several examples of an encouraging trend towards the greater use of such data in the study of terrorism. Finally, it provides a critical analysis of several forms or primary data commonly used by terrorism researchers.

Download the Background Note.

How to cite: Schuurman, B. and Q. Eijkman. "Moving Terrorism Research Forward: The Crucial Role of Primary Sources", The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague 4, no. 2 (2013).