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VOL. XII, Issue 4

Research Desiderata: 150 Un- and Under-Researched Topics and Themes in the Field of (Counter-) Terrorism Studies – a New List

Seven years ago, the March 2011 issue of Perspectives on Terrorism published a list of 50 Un- and UnderResearched Topics in the Field of (Counter-)Terrorism Studies. That list was primarily meant for students in search of a new topic for their Master or doctoral theses, and has contributed to a number of publications. Today, we feel there is a need for a new list, based on considerations such as:

i. Much of the research in the field is concentrated on a very limited number of topics; 

ii. In particular, much of the attention in the field is concentrated on individual terrorist groups and incidents and not enough on the movements and campaigns of which these are a part; 

iii. In the area of counter-terrorism research, significant attention is given to preventing ‘downstream’ individual radicalisation and not enough to preventing ‘upstream’ structural extremism; 

iv. There is a continuing dearth of evaluation and replication studies; 

v. The links between terrorism studies and some other fields of violence studies (e.g. genocide) are weak, despite the fact that they share certain common characteristics.

Based on such reflections, the editors asked members of the Editorial Board and Advisory Board of Perspectives on Terrorism - and a few other colleagues from the scholarly, policy and practitioner communities - for suggestions that would be incorporated into a new list of the most un- and underresearched topics in the study of terrorism and counter-terrorism. We received many responses, suggesting a great variety of topics and themes, and also added our own research desiderata. We have grouped topics and themes into the following 14 categories: 1. Terrorist Organisations and Terrorist Group Members (25 topics) 2. Radicalisation & De-radicalisation (7) 3. Causes of Terrorism (10) 4. Religion and Terrorism (10) 5. Internet/(Social) Media and Terrorism (15) 6. Terrorism and the Public/Public Opinion (6) 7. War and Terrorism (6) 8. State and Regime-Linked Terrorism (2) 9. Country and Regional Studies (6) 10. Prevention of, and Countering (Violent) Extremism and Terrorism- PVE/CVE (10) 11. Counter-Terrorism by Governments and International Organisations (37) 12. Victim Issues (7) 13. Conceptual Issues (4) 14. The Areas of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies (5). 

We hope that this new list will stimulate new research in academia and beyond. We also invite readers to inform us where they see other gaps in our present knowledge of terrorism and counter-terrorism.

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…