Counterterrorism Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry and Their Essay

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Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry and their Relevance to Counterterrorism

The domain of counterterrorism brings with it a multitude of disciplines that help develop critical concepts and information relevant to the development of a counterterrorism program or strategy. Qualitative research approaches, in fact, have been used in domains such as counterterrorism to help understand insurgency attacks and events, and how to best respond to or prevent these events from happening. In this paper, the five qualitative approaches will be discussed in the context of counterterrorism: narrative research, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study. Discussion of these qualitative approaches will help determine which among the approaches has the least relevance to the study of counterterrorism. This paper posits that among the approaches mentioned, it is phenomenology that has the least relevance because the methodology it adopts lacks the rigor of narrative research and case study or the 'representativeness' that ethnography and grounded theory offers for the reader of counterterrorism.

Counterterrorism as a field of study and a strategic program for any country's national security traces its roots in different fields of specialization: it has a component of history, management, organizational development, political science, and even cultural studies/anthropology in it. Because it is rooted from numerous disciplines in the social science domain, it is not surprising then that counterterrorism strategy development would depend on social science research approaches. Appropriately, qualitative approaches have been determined as more useful to understanding the specific societies and cultures that exist in countries, which ultimately determine the identity of the country or cultural group of interest. Counterterrorism is developed to provide "reconnaissance" for a country and its national security: it acts to detect, identify and deter/prevent terrorist attacks and could actually conduct organized attacks against insurgents or terrorists.

With this in mind, the qualitative approaches will be evaluated based on the information and knowledge needed in counterterrorism. As mentioned earlier in the paper's thesis, narrative research and case study are more relevant to the study of counterterrorism because of the rigor and specificity in details it provides for the individual trying to understand a target group for a counterterrorist strategy. Conversely, if the reader of counterterrorism would like to have a more "generalized" information and insight that would best represent and describe the target group (or group under study), then the more general approaches of grounded theory and ethnography are appropriate and relevant for this objective. Because… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Counterterrorism Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry and Their.  (2012, June 8).  Retrieved January 20, 2020, from

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"Counterterrorism Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry and Their."  8 June 2012.  Web.  20 January 2020. <>.

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"Counterterrorism Qualitative Approaches to Inquiry and Their."  June 8, 2012.  Accessed January 20, 2020.