Counterterrorism: the State of Scholarship, Directions for Future Data Collection and Analysis
By Mariya Y. Omelicheva
The prominence of counterterrorism analyses in the context of the broader scholarship on terrorism has increased recently as a result of the growing recognition of the inseparable nexus of terrorism and counterterrorism. Terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid, and London also triggered exceptional academic interest in the topic of states’ responses to terrorism. A bulk of this research has been predominantly descriptive and exploratory in character with the case studies of a handful of established democracies dominating the field. The scholarship of this type has provided invaluable knowledge about individual governments’ experiences with combating terrorism and advanced our understanding of the discrete and specific factors affecting counterterrorism policies. Yet, if we aim to understand the general explanatory power of various influences on states’ responses to terrorism and make valid predictions and prescriptions for the future behavior; it is necessary to compare states’ counterterrorism measures across time and space. Regrettably, the number of studies based on the systematic empirical analyses aimed at accounting for differences and similarities in a broad range of counterterrorism policies across multiple cases have been disappointingly limited.
What has inhibited explanatory research in the area of counterterrorism is insufficient conceptual work. The shortage of data suitable for cross-sectional longitudinal studies of states’ responses to terrorism has also decelerated the advancement of knowledge. Several organizations now maintain global and regional databases on terrorist incidents. There are, however, no datasets containing information on different aspects of states’ counterterrorism programs. While the quantity of information collected on the counterterrorism efforts by various states’ agencies has significantly...