A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism




With the consuming attention given to terrorism it is surprising how little of our knowledge is based on systematic empirical analysis. Schmid and Jongman (1988), in their encyclopedic review of political terrorism, found that most the more than 6,000 published works on the topic is impressionistic, making broad generalizations based on episodic evidence. More recently, as part of the Campbell Collaboration’s systematic review program, Lum, Kennedy, and Sherley (2006) conducted a thorough and systematic review of counterterrorism evaluations. From the more than 20,000 writings on terrorism between 1971 and 2004, only seven met their criteria of being moderately rigorous evaluation studies. For comparison, a similar review of criminal justice evaluations 10 years earlier found more than 500 rigorous and scientifically sound program impact evaluations (Sherman et al. 1997), raising a stark contrast between what we know about criminal justice and what we know about terrorism. The dearth of rigorous evaluations of counterterrorism efforts raises an obvious question: On what are policy makers basing their strategies to counter terrorism?

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Dugan, Laura. 2009. "Terrorism." In The Oxford Handbook of Crime and Public Policy, ed. Michael Tonry. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 428-454. http://books.google.com/books?id=Yx6tZOSv3S0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=The...

START Author(s): 
Laura Dugan
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