Who, Why, What, When, Against Whom? The Problem With Researching the Effectiveness of Terrorism

Recent years have seen an increase in academic and policy interests regarding how individuals and groups come to choose terrorism as a tactic. Many studies have been conducted on the processes and pathways of radicalization, especially in light of the large online-propaganda machinery of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and the unprecedented number of foreign fighters leaving their Western homes to ISIS-controlled territories in Syria and Iraq. It is, however, just as important to ask about the outcomes and effectiveness of terrorist actions as it is asking about the individual and organizational causes of extremist violence.

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