The Global Terrorism Database II (GTD2) project was undertaken to address the fact that there is little robust empirical analysis of terrorism. The two primary reasons for this problem included insufficient temporal and spatial coverage of available data, and a lack of public availability of terrorism data. Due to this lack of available empirical data regarding terrorism, the researchers sought to code and verify a previously unavailable dataset composed of terrorist events recorded for the entire world from 1998 through 2004. The goal of the GTD2 was to create a comprehensive and sound data set on global terrorism that can be used to derive methodologically robust insights into the phenomenon of terrorism and how to counter it.
Information in the Global Terrorism Database II (GTD2) was drawn entirely from publicly available, open-source materials. These included electronic news archives, existing data sets, secondary source materials such as books and journals, and legal documents. GTD2 employed a novel approach -- that of not choosing any particular definition of terrorism, but rather allowing users of the database, within limits, to filter out the data that do not accord with their own definitions of terrorism. This was accomplished by collecting data that covers a range of definitions and coding these data so as to allow users to work with only those cases that meet their own definition of terrorism. This way, scholars and analysts can feel comfortable using data that meet their own conception of what terrorism is. This scheme might sometimes yield seemingly incongruous findings from the same dataset, as used by different researchers. However, so long as each researcher is explicit about how he or she has filtered the database and makes an attempt to justify this choice, individual results should still be capable of duplication. Perhaps more importantly, for the first time it will be possible to analyze which research findings about terrorism change if the definition changes, and which are robust to varying definitions, thus helping to resolve some of the larger theoretical issues surrounding the terrorism phenomenon. All information contained in the GTD2 merely reflects what is reported in those sources. While the database developers attempted to the best of their ability to corroborate each piece of information among multiple independent open sources, they made no further claims as to the veracity of this information. All source materials used to generate the information for an individual incident were preserved electronically in the form of Reference Source Documents (RSTs). Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, these RSTs cannot be made available online.
The criteria for incident inclusion and the coding scheme used in GTD2 were developed by a Database Development Committee, which consisted of recognized experts in terrorism and data collection. In order to be considered a "terrorist incident" the event had to have been committed by nonstate actors, had to have been violent, and intentional. In addition the act must have met two of the following three criteria: (1) The act must have been aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal. In terms of economic goals, the exclusive pursuit of profit did not satisfy this criterion. (2) There must have been evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience (or audiences) than the immediate victims. (3) The action must have been outside the context of legitimate warfare activities, i.e. the act must have been outside the parameters permitted by international humanitarian law (particularly the admonition against deliberately targeting civilians or noncombatants).
To produce the GTD2 an administrative staff managed both paid and volunteer researchers who monitored a variety of open sources, identified potential cases for inclusion in the database and then coded these cases. Data in this collection contain 7,154 events. All researchers working on the database underwent intensive training in various aspects of the database creation process and their output was monitored for quality control. In addition, the database made use of anumber of custom-built software tools to facilitate the training, monitoring and case-writing process. Draft cases were subjected to a stringent review process, consisting of several tiers of cross-checking and data integrity validation through an incident administration interface. Lastly, the data were processed to the online interface, designed by Monterey Bay Technologies, and used to generate input for various statistical tools.
This data collection was designed to document every known terrorist event that occurred in the world from 1998 through 2004. In order to be considered a "terrorist incident" the event had to have been committed by nonstate actors, had to have been violent, and intentional. In addition the act must have met two of the following three criteria: (1) The act must have been aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal. In terms of economic goals, the exclusive pursuit of profit did not satisfy this criterion. (2) There must have been evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience (or audiences) than the immediate victims. (3) The action must have been outside the context of legitimate warfare activities, i.e. the act must have been outside the parameters permitted by international humanitarian law (particularly the admonition against deliberately targeting civilians or noncombatants).
All known terrorist events that occurred in the world from 1998 through 2004.
Information in the database was drawn entirely from publicly available, open-source materials. These included electronic news archives, existing data sets, secondary source materials such as books and journals, and legal documents. All information contained in the GTD2 merely reflects what is reported in those sources.
The main variable categories presented in these data include: Identification Numbers, Incident Date, Incident Location, Incident Information, Attack Information, Target Information, Perpetrator Information, Perpetrator Statistics, Perpetrator Claim of Responsibility, Weapon Information, Casualty Information, Consequences, Hostage/Kidnapping Additional Information, and Source Information. Sub-variables under Identification Number include: Coder and Event ID. Sub-variables under Incident Date include: Year, Month, Day, Approximate Date, Extended Incident, and Date of Extended Incident Resolution. Sub-variables under Incident Location include: Country, Region, Province/Administrative Region/U.S. State, City, Vicinity, Location Description. Sub-variables under Incident Information include: Incident Summary, Criteria (Criterion 1: Political, Economic, Religious, or Social Goal, Criterion 2: Intention to Coerce, Intimidate or Publicize to Larger Audience(s), Criterion 3: Outside International Humanitarian Law), Doubt Terrorism Proper, Alternative Designation, Part of Multiple Incident, and Situation of Multi-Party Conflict. Sub-variables under Attack Information include: Successful Attack, Suicide Attack, Attack Type, Attack Type -- Alternative Categorization, Additional Attack Type, Second Attack Type, Second Attack Type -- Alternative Categorization, Third Attack Type, and Third Attack Type -- Alternative Categorization. Sub-variables for Target Information include: Target Type, Target Entity, Name of Entity, Specific Target, Nationality of Target, Additional Targets, Second Target Type, Second Target Entity, Second Name of Entity, Second Specific Target, Nationality of Second Target, Third Target Type, Third Target Entity, Third Name of Entity, Third Specific Target, and Nationality of Third Target. Sub-variables for Perpetrator Information include: Perpetrator Group Name, Perpetrator Individual Name(s), Perpetrator Group Type, Perpetrator Group Sub-Type, Group's Ideological Influences, Additional Perpetrator Group, Second Perpetrator Group Name, Second Perpetrator Group Type, Second Perpetrator Group Sub-Type, Second Group's Ideological Influences, Third Perpetrator Group Name, Third Perpetrator Group Type, Third Perpetrator Group Sub-Type, Third Group's Ideological Influences, Specific Motive, and Perpetrator Group(s) Suspected/Unconfirmed. Sub-variables for Perpetrator Statistics include: Number of Perpetrators, Number of Male Perpetrators, Number of Female Perpetrators, and Number of Perpetrators Captured. Sub-variables for Perpetrator Claim of Responsibility include: Claim of Responsibility, Mode for Claim of Responsibility, Claim Confirmed, Additional Claim of Responsibility, Second Group's Claim of Responsibility, Second Group's Mode for Claim of Responsibility, Second Group's Claim Confirmed, Third Group's Claim of Responsibility, Third Group's Mode for Claim of Responsibility, Third Group's Claim Confirmed, and Competing Claims of Responsibility. Sub-variables for Weapon Information include: Weapon Type, Weapon Sub-Type, Additional Weapons, Second Weapon Type, Second Weapon Sub-Type, Third Weapon Type, Third Weapon Sub-Type, and Weapon Details. Sub-variables for Casualty Information include: Total Number of Fatalities, Number of U.S. Fatalities, Number of Perpetrator Fatalities, Total Number of Injured, Number of U.S. Injured, and Number of Perpetrators Injured. Sub-variables for Consequences include: Psychosocial Consequences, Property Damage, Extent of Property Damage, Value of Property Damage, and Property Damage Comments. Sub-variables for Hostage/Kidnapping Additional Information include: Hostages/Kidnapped, Total Number of Kidnap Victims/Hostages, Number of U.S. Kidnap Victims/U.S. Hostages, Hours of Kidnapping/Hostage Incident, Days of Kidnapping/Hostage Incident, Country the Kidnapper/Hijackers Diverted To, Country of Kidnapping/Hijack Resolution, Ransom Demand, Total Ransom Amount Demanded, Ransom Amount Demanded from U.S. Sources, Total Ransom Amount Paid, Ransom Amount Paid by U.S. Sources, Ransom Notes, Kidnapping/Hostage Outcome, and Number Released/Escaped/Rescued. Sub-variables for Source Information include: Name of Source, Source Publication Date, Full Source Citation, Name of Second Source, Second Source Publication Date, Full Second Source Citation, Name of Third Source, Third Source Publication Date, Full Third Source Citation, and Prevailing Source.