Your understanding of terrorism at this point has much to do with your background and personal experiences. The term terrorism is controversial, and there many different variations of it. One of the most well-known attempts to define terrorism was completed by Alex Schmid and Albert Jongman. In the late 1980s, Schmid and Jongman began researching various definitions of the term.  Review the attached document on Schmid and Jongman’s research PDF. 

 Once you have completed your reading and reviewed the document, discuss the core components you feel are the most important and why. Also discuss the components you feel are the least important and why. 

CJ 530 Module One Discussion: Definition of Terrorism

Schmid and Jongman developed a questionnaire and surveyed all of the top scholars, researchers, and
analysts working in the field of terrorism at the time. They asked all participants in the survey to write
down their own definition of terrorism. Schmid and Jongman then collected the completed surveys,
compiled a list of 109 different definitions, and began to study each definition, searching for key
elements that the definitions had in common. From this study, Schmid and Jongman compiled a list of
22 key definitional elements. In 2011, Schmid revisited his original research with the purpose of further
narrowing down and defining these definitional elements to develop a consensus definition. Once again,
Schmid sent out a questionnaire and analyzed the survey results, and this ultimately led to him cutting
the original 22 elements down to 12 core components from which he could develop the following
academic consensus definition of terrorism:

Terrorism refers, on the one hand, to a doctrine about the presumed effectiveness of a special
form or tactic of fear-generating, coercive political violence and, on the other hand, to a
conspiratorial practice of calculated, demonstrative, direct violent action without legal or moral
restraints, targeting mainly civilians and non-combatants, performed for its propagandistic and
psychological effects on various audiences and conflict parties . . . (Schmid, 2011, pp. 86—87)

For the discussion in this module, you will look further at the 12 core components developed and used
by Schmid in this consensus definition. Before completing your initial post, examine the 12 elements in
the chart below. In your initial post, consider which components are most important and why. Also
discuss which components you feel are least important and why.


Schmid, A. P. (Ed.). (2011). The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research. London, UK: Routledge.

12 Core Components of Terrorism

It should say
something about a
doctrine and/or
practice of violent

It should refer to the
context in which
terrorism is employed
as a tactic

It should contain the
concept of physical
violence or threat

It should say
something about

It should mention that
terrorism instills fear,
dread, panic or mere

It should say
something about the
direct victims

It should point at the
fact that direct victims
are not the ultimate

It should say
something about the

It should mention that
terrorism is
predominantly political

It should refer to the
intent of acts of

It should contain the
motivations to engage
in terrorism

It should mention that
terrorist acts form part
of a campaign of

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