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Title Research Study on the Role of Women and Youth in Preventing Extremism
Post date 01/11/2019
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

Since 2001, many Euro-Mediterranean countries have been the target of dozens of terrorist attacks. The rise of home-grown terrorism (especially affiliated to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State organisation), the so-called foreign fighters (FFs) phenomenon and the resurgence of the far-right have placed a renewed interest on countering and/or preventing violent extremism.

An increasing number of States, international organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs) have developed policies that aim at preventing violent extremism (PVE). While CVE aims at countering the existing threats by relying almost exclusively on security forces, PVE is a subset of policies and programmes that aim at preventing the violent threat from materialising.

As part of PVE initiatives, states have developed both programmes of de-radicalisation (cognitive and behavioural) as well as disengagement, which eventually aim to facilitate a way out of clandestine groups for individual terrorists. Scholarly work in terrorism and security studies has concentrated on describing the various programmes available (from France to Saudi Arabia and Indonesia) as well as evaluating their implementation from a public policy perspective. Unfortunately, there has been very little research on public support for government initiatives of both de-radicalisation and disengagement, which leaves policy makers with little information about how specific initiatives that deal with violent extremism will be received by the wider population.

This survey experiment will contribute to a research gap in the field by examining how a particular framing can increase/decrease support for a government policy that deals with terrorists and/or former terrorists. Ultimately, we aim to identify the conditions under which a government policy can be effective. As the threat of terrorism will not go away in the short term, executives across the Euro-Mediterranean region have a great interest in knowing what policies can actually find support in their societies.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

This on-line survey experiment will test whether particular framings of Government policies affect public support for counter-terrorist public policies in the areas of deradicalization and disengagement.

First we aim to test whether citizens believe individuals with extremist ideas can be effectively ‘deradicalized’. The experiment will test whether policies of deradicalization (cognitive and behavioural) would be supported by individuals based in the seven countries of study: France, Jordan, Germany, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and United Kingdom. The deradicalization policies focus on two separate aspects: policies based on education and critical thinking; and policies based on social reintegration and employment.

Second, the experiment will test whether there is support for policies of disengagement and, in particular, the reduction of prison sentences. More specifically, we aim to understand whether terrorists need to ask for forgiveness and publicly declared they are no longer affiliated to the terrorist groups (disengagement) in order to be on the receiving end of penitentiary benefits.

The hypotheses follow the framework and goals detailed before. Our first set of hypothesis concerns de-radicalization policies and are the following:

H1: Information about specific areas where de-radicalization policies will be applied increases support for de-radicalization policies.
H1a: De-radicalization policies aimed to reintegration and employment measures increase support for de-radicalization policies. The second set of hypotheses relate to policies of disengagement:

H2: Support for disengagement policies from violent extremist groups decrease when the possibility of reduced prison sentences is discussed.
H2a: Support for the idea that terrorists should carry out their complete sentences decreases when they are given the possibility to reject the extremist ideology and confirm they no longer belong to a terrorist group.

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

Non-probabilistic online panel with 1200 respondents in each of the 7 countries (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) included in the survey, implemented by Spanish service providers.

Eligibility and exclusion criteria for participants:
The survey will be administered to the online panel participants in each of the countries. All the participants are 18 or older.

Experimental design:
A 3x1 experimental design tests the hypothesis through the manipulation of vignettes. In the first experiment, a control group receives no additional information. A second group receives a vignette with information that the adoption of measures based on education and the prosecution of extremist ideas is being discussed in the parliament. A third group receives the same information but the vignette focus is instead on employment and reintegration in society. In the second experiment, the first group receives a vignette with information that the parliament is discussing a new programme of disengagement from violent extremist groups that allows a reduction of penalties for convicted terrorists if they reject their violent extremist ideology. A second group receives a vignette with information that the parliament is discussing a new programme of disengagement from violent extremist groups that does NOT allow a reduction of penalties for convicted terrorists even if they reject their violent extremist ideology. The control group only receives the information that the parliament is discussing a new programme of disengagement from violent extremist groups.

The survey participants will be randomly assigned to one of the three groups: control, positive and negative. Arrangements were done to maximize balance between conditions of the respondents (sex, age, etc).

C4 Country France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
C5 Scale (# of Units) 1,200 respondents in each country
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? No
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Researchers
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? Yes
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) D74