John F. Morrison

Analyzing Interviews with Terrorists

Cover page

For years the dominant narrative has been that there is a dearth of primary sources in terrorism studies. This is now changing. The talk about the scarcity of data is gradually being replaced by discussions of a “data revolution” and a “golden age” of terrorism research. We are now publishing more research based on the analysis of primary source data than ever before. Included in this has been some ground-breaking interview research with recent and former terrorists—research that could define how we think about terrorist involvement for years to come. With this increased access to data, if our research is to have any analytical value and concurrently respected both within and outside of academia, we need to actively consider how we analyze it. This chapter discusses some of the issues that need to be taken into consideration when analyzing first-hand interviews, including the importance of specificity, different available analytic techniques, the role of triangulation, and ethical practices.


Suggested citation:

Morrison, John F. Analyzing Interviews with Terrorists. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2020.