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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Terrorism research resources: Getting Started

Defining terrorism

There is not one universally agreed upon definition of terrorism. Terrorism has been defined as political violence committed to generate fear. It has also been compared to guerrilla warfare. Others associate terrorism with larger power struggles such as the cold war and contemporary religious-political conflicts. Researchers have also discussed the notion of state terrorism or violence committed by the state through torture or the use of intimidation tactics. Definitions of terrorism and the characteristics of terrorists also change over time. For instance, individuals who were once considered terrorists, such as Nelson Mandela, are now celebrated heroes.


Getting started

For background information on terrorism, try searching the following databases:

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Provides access to the full text of electronic encyclopedia articles, dictionaries and more. Click on the link above and enter your search terms such as “terrorism” and “terrorist financing".  You can also type your search terms in the box below.

Sage e-Reference Collection A collection of over 70 subject encyclopedias, including major titles in criminal justice, research methods, psychology, and social issues from Sage publishers. Enter your keyword search terms in the basic search box, below.


Subject Guide

Karen Okamoto

Terrorism in the news