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Evaluating and Assessing Terrorism Prevention Programs: What Research Sponsored by the National Institute of Justice Tells Us

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2024
33 pages

This document analyzes lessons and insights gleaned from terrorism prevention programs, and discusses their implications for future assessment and evaluation processes.


This report presents several projects that provide insights into National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-sponsored evaluations of terrorism prevention programs implemented across different populations, focusing on the process of program evaluation as well as evaluation findings. Important lessons that emerged from the research underscore the importance of gaining community buy-in and assuring program relevance for participants before implementing the programs; program benefits can extend beyond meeting terrorism prevention goals and can be carried out within public health or community resilience initiatives; and evaluative efforts in general face challenges that limit their ability to assess the impact of a program, its adaptability to other places or communities, and the veracity of evaluation findings. The evaluation findings suggest that several activities should be considered when addressing challenges, including the implementation of formative evaluations or evaluability assessments, strategies to limit participant attrition and thus maintaining appropriate sample sizes, and using control or comparison groups as part of the assessment. The report also discusses important gaps and considerations that should be incorporated into future programmatic and evaluation decisions, and suggests that future programmatic, research, and policy-oriented activities may explore and test efforts aimed at incorporating terrorism prevention activities with a broader portfolio of public health and violence reduction-focused efforts.

Date Published: April 1, 2024