Omi Hodwitz

Recognizing & Resolving Issues in Terrorism Research, Data Collection, & Analysis

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In the years following 9/11, countries around the world sought to implement evidence-based counterterrorism policy and practices. Political narratives suggest these measures have been effective in stemming the tide of extremist violence, often in the absence of empirical results supporting this claim. This chapter focuses on the need for appropriate and well-informed quantitative methods of assessment and analysis. The chapter begins with an introductory discussion about the collection of quantitative data; readers are introduced to data collection techniques and effective methods of quality control. The focus then expands to include appropriate quantitative techniques for addressing specific research questions, including the impact of policy, of diverse practices, as well as isolating the effects of political, economic, and social factors on extremist behavior. The chapter concludes with a series of cautionary tales regarding drawing conclusions from statistical results, lessons learned from the analytical field, and best practices moving forward.