The authors report on an examination of available research literature that evidence suggests that there is little scientific knowledge about the effectiveness of most counter-terrorism interventions, and additionally, it appears that some interventions either failed or increased the likelihood of terrorism and terrorism-related harms.
The objective of this Campbell systematic review is to determine the effectiveness of counter-terrorism strategies from the available social scientific research literature using systematic review methods. From over 20,000 studies that the authors located on terrorism, they found only seven which contained moderately rigorous evaluations of counterterrorism programs. The authors conclude that there is little scientific knowledge about the effectiveness of most counter-terrorism interventions. Further, from the evidence we were able to locate, it appears that some evaluated interventions either didn't work or sometimes increased the likelihood of terrorism and terrorism-related harm. The findings of this review dramatically emphasize the need for government leaders, policy makers, researchers, and funding agencies to include and insist on evaluations of the effectiveness of these programs in their agendas. These agendas would include identifying ways to overcome methodological and data challenges often associated with terrorism research, increasing funding to evaluate existing programs through methodologically rigorous evaluation designs, and paying attention to existing evaluations of programs when implementing them. Further, programs should be assessed to establish if they cause more harm than good or if they create unanticipated consequences. Publisher Abstract Provided
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