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Developing An Empirical Understanding of Improvised Explosive Devices: A Social and Behavioral Science Perspective


Developing An Empirical Understanding of Improvised Explosive Devices: A Social and Behavioral Science Perspective

Abstract: 

Unclassified, open-source data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) were used to create quantitative measures detailing the worldwide use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by terrorists from 1970 to 2004. We define terrorism as: The threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. We define IEDs as: Bombs that are constructed in part or wholly from military or commercial explosives or commercial components, and used in a manner other than intended by the manufacturer. In this analysis we focus on describing and understanding some of the social and political characteristics associated with the terrorist use of IEDs. This report includes a brief review of past social science research on IEDs followed by a series of focused observations resulting from data collection and analysis efforts.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

LaFree, Gary, and Richard Legault. 2009. "Developing An Empirical Understanding of Improvised Explosive Devices: A Social and Behavioral Science Perspective." National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (August): https://www.start.umd.edu/sites/default/files/publications/local_attachm...

START Author(s): 
Gary LaFreeRichard Legault
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