ERIC Number: ED312698
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Nov-20
Reference Count: N/A
Visions of Terror: A Q-Methodological Analysis of American Perceptions of International Terrorism.
Dowling, Ralph E.; Nitcavic, Richard G.
A study examined the efficacy of Q-methodology as a tool to explain perceptions of the American public regarding international terrorism, seeking to identify through this methodology distinct views of terrorism and the significant variables characterizing those views. To develop their instrument, researchers interviewed 16 individuals and based the structure of the Q-sort on the themes presented, resulting in an instrument with 49 statements. Forty-one students at a midwestern university completed the terrorism Q-sort. Results showed that Q-methodology provided a useful tool for examining perceptions of international terrorism and for focusing future studies of unanswered questions about the effects of media coverage of terrorism on audiences. Q-factor analysis revealed four patterns of perceptions regarding terrorism. Viewing terrorists as driven by human needs and possibly noble motives distinguished the "Humanist/Cold-War Patriot" and the "Pacifist-Isolationist" from the "Frightened Philosopher" and the "Aggressive Patriot." Generally, however, attitudes that distinguished the types, such as concern with U.S. or Soviet involvement, perception of threat, and advocacy of military action, tended to be similar in three of four types. Similarities across three types combined with consensus across all four types resulted in half of the subjects' loading on two types. Information from this preliminary investigation should provide useful information for revision of the terrorism Q-sort--a process already underway. (Two tables of data and one figure are included and 26 references are attached. An appendix contains the research instrument and data.) (SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A