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Building a Global Terrorism Database

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2006
208 pages
This is a report on a project that coded and verified a previously unavailable dataset of 67,165 terrorist events that occurred throughout the world from 1970 to 1997.
The core of the report is a description of the variables contained in the database; no research questions were addressed in the project. The database was originally compiled by the PGIS Corporation's Global Intelligence Service. The dataset covers incidents by year, terrorist groups, type of attack, country, incident date, success, the region, target type, number of perpetrators, weapons used, number of fatalities, number of U.S. fatalities, number of wounded, number of U.S. residents wounded, kidnappings, and nationality. This report also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the completed database. Strengths include its broad definition of terrorism and its longitudinal scope. Weaknesses of the database are potential media bias and misinformation, lack of information beyond incident-specific details alone, and missing data from lost cards. The current project sought to enter the original PGIS data reliably, using a number of data-entry quality control strategies throughout the data entry phase. It also plans to continue to assess the validity of the PGIS data by comparing it to other sources, by internally checking records, and by continuously examining the database. This is an ongoing project that will be furthered by new projects being planned with RAND and the Monterrey Institute. 66 references and 8 appendixes with supplementary and detailed information

Date Published: April 1, 2006