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Conducting Qualitative Research on Terrorism: Finding and Using Primary Sources

By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Political Science and International Relations
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Terrorism continues to be one of the 21st century’s leading security challenges. The 2001 attacks on the United States, the “war on terrorism” that was launched in their wake, and the rise of deadly terrorist groups such as the so-called “Islamic State,” have ensured that this form of political violence has demanded ongoing attention. Not just from the politicians, policymakers, and practitioners tasked with addressing the threat, but also from journalists think tanks and academics looking to understand the issues at stake. Yet for all the attention that terrorism has garnered, those looking to conduct research on this topic face several well-entrenched conceptual, theoretical, and methodological hurdles. Based on my own experience, this case study provides guidance on navigating these obstacles and provides pointers for carrying out qualitative research on terrorism, specifically with regard to acquiring primary sources.

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