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Research Proposal – A Terror On Your Doorstep: Homegrown Terrorists
This research proposal intended to establish a relationship between personal beliefs and homegrown terrorism. Two theories have been provided to support and understand the proposal’s topic. The present literature has a lacuna when it comes to peer-reviewed and quantitative research studies. This proposal aims to fill those gaps through a quantitative methodology. This methodology includes a correlational research design and a questionnaire as a measurement instrument. Our population is vulnerable due to their restrictive environment. Therefore, since a vulnerability exists in our population, this proposal is focusing to take the highest ethical level to prevent and minimize any harm. The data from this population will be tabulated using inferential statistics through the SPSS software. The limitations and threats to validity of this research proposal are clear and the best course of action to minimize them has been considered. Finally, this proposal has four different plan for its dissemination.
The United States of America and other countries around the world had suffered, at some point, some sort of terrorist attack. From the bombing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to the Frankfurt Airport shooting in Germany, terrorism has been the synonym of terror (Böckler, Hoffmann & Zick, 2015). However, on September 11, 2001, the United States witnessed one of the terrifying events in its history: a large scale, well planned and organized terrorist attack (Reyes, 2018). The reason for this is that the 9/11 was first terrorist attack streaming live in the United States. Watching, literally, people jumping off the window is a scar in everyone’s memory who watched while it happened. The perpetrator wasn’t U.S. citizens but after the 9/11 a new “trend” of terrorism emerged hitting the American soil with an unprecedented force (Kirchick, 2010 & Precht, 2007). This trend, this type of terrorism was a local, internal and a domestic one: United State awoke a rotten root, a disease called homegrown terrorism. This emerging threat means that terrorism is not solely from foreign groups or countries (Precht, 2007). In recent years, in the United States, “there has been unprecedented growth in violent activity inspired by radical” groups who are far more destructive because homegrown terrorists are citizens, born, raised and educated within their own country (Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010). What are the reasons, if any, of this growth? What changed? Why is the country having more and more homegrown terrorists? This research proposal intends to examine the problem of homegrown terrorists. The research will address the predisposition of personal beliefs for individuals who are born, raised and educated within the U.S., that engage in domestic terrorism (Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010 & Reyes, 2018).
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study are two. First, this study intends to shed some light on homegrown terrorists by adding some “growth of knowledge” (Oliver, 2012) to the literature/research already done in this topic by scholars. Second, this study aim to establish, analyze and describe a relationship between homegrown terrorists and personal beliefs (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 46 & Hale, 2011).
Research Question and hypotheses
This research proposal have one research question and two hypotheses: one alternative hypothesis and one null hypothesis. The research question for this proposal is as follows: Is there a correlation between personal beliefs and the change of behavior in an individual that leads to being a homegrown terrorist? (Reyes, 2018). The alternative hypothesis is that there is a positive correlation between personal beliefs and the change of behavior in an individual that leads to being a homegrown terrorist (Reyes, 2018). The null hypothesis is that there is no correlation between personal beliefs and the change of behavior in an individual that leads to being a homegrown terrorist (Reyes, 2018).
The theoretical framework for this research proposal will be composed of a combination of two theories. The first theory is a psychological theory called the Identity Theory from Erik Erikson in 1959. This theory proposes a psychological development of an individual through eight phases (Schwartz, Dunkel & Waterman, 2009; Sokol, 2009 & Victoroff, 2005). Every phase will come with a conflict, crucial point or crisis that the individual must face and resolve in order to continue the psychological development (Schwartz et al., 2009; Sokol, 2009 & Victoroff, 2005). Erikson explained that every psychological phase or stage will produce an outcome, whether is a positive or negative one, and the outcome of previous stages will affect the other stages (Schwartz et al., 2009; Sokol, 2009 & Victoroff, 2005). In other words, failure in one of the stages will mean an unhealthy psychological development. These stages are 1. Trust vs. Mistrust, 2. Autonomy vs. Shame, 3. Initiative vs. Guilt, 4. Industry vs. Inferiority, 5. Identity vs. Role Confusion, 6. Intimacy vs. Isolation, 7. Generativity vs. Stagnation and 8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair (Sokol, 2009). For Erikson, the most crucial, most important psychological stage was the fifth: Identity vs. Role Confusion (Sokol, 2009). He understood that adolescence is a “transitional period of development” where an individual goes from childhood to adulthood, where an individual looks for a sense of self and participation in a group (Sokol, 2009). In other words, adolescence is a bridge during an individual’s growth. A bridge that is full of confusion and changes not only psychological but physiological as well and social causes play an important role in an individual’s life including the so-called phenomenon of peer-pressure (Matić, Dremel & Šakić, 2015).
The second theory is the Quest for Personal Significance Theory from Kruglanski and colleagues (Dugas, Bélanger, Moyano, Schumpe, Kruglanski, Gelfand, Touchton-Leonard & Nociti, 2016; Kruglanski & Orehek, 2011 & Kruglanski & Fishman, 2009). This theory proposes that personal significance is a fundamental factor and a “motivational force in human behavior” (Kruglanski & Orehek, 2011 & Kruglanski & Fishman, 2009). The theory explains that an individual is motivated and seek an attachment to social groups by defending the group’s point of view/beliefs and by working within that group (Kruglanski & Orehek, 2011). This theory also explains that the personal significance is not due to lack of finances nor education because it focuses on perceptions of injustices and some sort of deprivation (Kruglanski & Orehek, 2011). Therefore, Kruglanski and colleagues (2016, 2011 & 2009) proposed that “most terrorist attacks is the quest for personal significance”. In other words, the theory postulates that the quest for personal significance is an ordinary goal, a desire, that an individual endeavor, socially talking, to “make a difference” (Dugas et al., 2016)
For purposes of this proposal, clarification and better understanding of the research question’s concepts that will be used from now on, a definition of them will be provided. These are the operational definitions of concepts that the researcher will be using throughout the research to analyze and explain certain aspects of the research’s topic. Personal beliefs are support and acceptance of convictions held by an individual that he/she considers it to be true and may prompt an individual to expresses it as a need or desire (Reyes, 2018; Matsick & Conley, 2016; Thompson, Lamont, Parncutt & Russo, 2014, p. 128; Kruglanski & Orehek, 2011 & Vohs, Baumeister & Sage Publications, 2007, p. 110). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2018) defines behavior as “the way in which someone conducts oneself”. For purposes of this study, behavior will be used as the particular way in which an individual control his/her actions that are socially and legally accepted (Reyes, 2018). Therefore, a change of behavior is when an individual is unable to control his/her behavior and actions in a social and legal manner. A homegrown terrorist is an individual who is a citizen, born, raised, educated and resides within the United States (and its territories) who is willing to carry out terrorist attacks to/in his/her own country (including its people and infrastructures) (Reyes, 2018; Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010 & Precht, 2007).
LITERATURE REVIEW SECTION
Nowadays terrorism looks like an old tale, old news, something of the past that no one cares to talk about. The reasons for this are many and it will vary depending on what country you’re in, what point of view you’re looking at and what political/ideological/beliefs you have. Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that terrorism is a social and complex problem affecting countries, regardless of their politics, socioeconomic and religious statuses, around the world (Horgan, 2017; Schwartz, Dunkel & Waterman, 2009 & Schbley, 2003). Despite the knowledge of its existence, the world has not come with a definite and concrete definition about terrorism or at least a mutual agreement of what terrorism is (Jackson, 2009 & Kruglanski & Fishman, 2009). This can result very problematic because there’s no way to approach, resolve or at least minimize this social problem. Even though defining terrorism is not easy task, there shouldn’t be over one hundred almost two hundred definitions of terrorism in the literature (Jackson, 2009). For purposes of this research proposal and for the sake of clarification, two different definitions of terrorism will be provided. However, only one will be used and the reasons for it will be explained. The first definition is from the Federal Bureau of Investigations [FBI] (2010), under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). According to the FBI (2010), terrorism is “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”. The second definition is from a study that was focusing on definitions for terrorism but the focus of the study shifted to have a better understanding of a religious terrorist (Reyes, 2018 & Schbley, 2003). The definition that Schbley (2003) finally gave to terrorism is that “terrorism is any violent act upon symbolic civilians and their properties”. From the perspective of both definitions, we can agree that terrorism uses violence, persons, and their properties. However, the definition that will be using from now on is the second one. The second definition is short, simple and easy to understand. What makes a country is its people, therefore violence against the people and their properties, regardless of the means and methods, cannot be justified or tolerated and it is considered terrorism (Schbley, 2003). Now, the definition of domestic terrorism will be any violent act against civilians and their property by an individual who was born, raised and educated in that country (Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010).
It is true that there are many studies on terrorism, especially studies that try to establish a definition of terrorism. However, most of these studies focus on terrorism in general, many of them are not peer-reviewed and do not abound on the threat of domestic terrorism. To this, it is added the rarity of peer-reviewed studies with the sole focus of domestic terrorism (Jackson, 2009). Nevertheless, these studies are qualitative. In other words, they study an individual or a certain phenomenon for being peculiar or strange without providing data that can be quantified. Most of the literature about homegrown terrorists we came across are case studies of a specific individual who, for whatever reason, decided to engage in terrorism. For these reasons, this proposal aimed to add knowledge in a quantitative manner. The few peer-reviewed studies, whether quantitative or qualitative, had a pattern in some aspect of terrorism and domestic terrorism. First, the articles agreed in a rise and emerging new threat of homegrown terrorists (Scarcella, Page, & Furtado, 2016; Klausen, Campion, Needle, Nguyen & Libretti, 2015; Olsson, 2015; Kirchick, 2010; Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010 & Dernevik, Beck, Grann, Hogue & Mcguire, 2009). Second, the articles talked, defined and explained radicalization as the process of behavioral changes (atypical behavior) in an individual’s psyche due to politics or ideology (Gill, Corner, Conway, Thornton, Bloom, & Horgan, 2017; Scarcella et al., 2016; Klausen et al., 2015; Olsson, 2015; Kirchick, 2010; Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010; Dernevik et al., 2009 & Victoroff, 2005). Researchers found that this process is usually done through the Internet (Gill et al., 2017; Scarcella et al., 2016; Klausen et al., 2015; Olsson, 2015; Kirchick, 2010; Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010; Dernevik et al., 2009 & Victoroff, 2005). Third, the studies found a background pattern in a homegrown terrorist: they are educated, the are from respected families or middles class family, they don’t exhibit economic hardships, previous behavior wasn’t associated with violence, most of them are males and they are from different ethnic, race, cultural, religious and regional backgrounds (Scarcella et al., 2016; Klausen et al., 2015; Kirchick, 2010; Kis-Katos, Liebert & Schulz, 2011; Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010; Dernevik et al., 2009 & Victoroff, 2005).
Another point that was discussed in the literature, and that has been the focus of debate, has been the psychology of terrorism. From a psychological point of view, some of the studies reviewed argued that terrorism is caused by some mental disorder. In other words, a terrorist, whether is international or domestic (homegrown), commits terrorist acts because he/she suffers from some personality disorder, schizophrenia or psychopathy and thus the process of radicalization is a given (Borum, Fein & Vossekuil, 2012; Kruglanski & Fishman, 2009 & Victoroff, 2005). Other researchers gave themselves the task of refuting these studies. Especially Sageman (2004, p. 83), whose study was later published as a book, found in his sample of 172 individuals from an Al Qaeda network that mental illness is not an explanation for terrorism nor a pattern of mental illness was detected. He also thought of the possibility of a childhood trauma from the psychoanalytic theory perspective, however, the indicator was too little to none trauma in their lives (Sageman, 2004, p. 85). In other words, not only Sageman (2004), but other researchers found that there is no empirical evidence to support a psychological profile for terrorists, a terrorist personality nor a theory that terrorism is the result of a mental illness (Klausen et al., 2015; Dernevik et al., 2009; Jackson, 2009 & Schwartz et al., 2009).
Despite that the literature had given similarities there are weaknesses to these studies. First, these studies cannot come to an agreement on how long the radicalization process take (Jackson, 2009). Some of them say months, others years. Second, only two studies reported the lack and the need of assessment tools to, at least, identify behaviors of homegrown terrorists (Scarcella et al., 2016 & Klausen et al., 2015). That same study reported the lack of demographics and how they can differ depending on the individual (Klausen et al., 2015). Therefore, there is a lacuna in research when it comes to female terrorists, whether they are homegrown female terrorists or not (Jacques & Taylor, 2013). Most of these studies sampled males, leaving out the possibility that a female may have another reason to radicalized, diverse factors or other life-situations to lead her to terrorism like personal beliefs (Klausen et al., 2015 & Jacques & Taylor, 2013). Hence, this gap is another reason for this paper by establishing a relationship between homegrown terrorists and personal beliefs regardless of gender. Just because an individual is a female does not mean that the possibility to engage in act of terrorism does not exist. The literature failed to agree and provide a solid definition of terrorism (Jackson, 2009). Another gap found was the lack of human contact. The lack of face-to-face sampling techniques. Including the case studies, the sample of these studies was of second hands. That is, the information obtained was from second sources, other studies, databases or library archives (Jackson, 2009). The bigger weakness we came across with the literature in both terrorism and homegrown terrorist is the profile of Islamic terrorists (Jackson, 2009). Almost every peer-reviewed article that was reviewed for this research proposal pointed out, in different words, the same factor: our terrorists and homegrown terrorist are Islamic terrorists (Jackson, 2009). Which contradicts the previous analysis of the background pattern of homegrown terrorists. It is true that the corrections were made after conclusions were drawn, however, this academical construct has put an onerous suspicion and has poisoned the Muslim community by increasing maltreatment, discrimination, hate crimes and phobias (Jackson, 2009).
In conclusion, the literature provided that terrorism is diverse. In a short time, homegrown terrorists had been seen with frequency after 9/11 (Muhlhausen & Baker McNeill, 2011). This evolving threat is complex yet attractive to some people (Horgan, 2017 & Klausen et al., 2015). Even though homegrown terrorism has been studied in different academic disciplines, the literature still shows the lack of peer-review studies and the lack of quantitative data (Horgan, 2017 & Jackson, 2009). “The events of September 11, 2001, were a major catalyst for the study of terrorism” yet there is still a lacuna when it comes to assessment tools (Horgan, 2017). The literature also revealed that the samples for this studies, with the exception of Sageman’s book, there is not concrete human contact. Furthermore, the gap between females terrorist opens up new doors, opportunities, and possibilities for new research. Therefore, the necessity of this study lies in the purpose of it: adding knowledge and establishing a relationship between homegrown terrorists and their personal beliefs with quantitative data.
Planning a research is not easy task. Let alone when the researcher must choose what type of methodology is the best fit for the research. Every step of the research should be done carefully especially when it comes to the methodology section. How to gather your data, what instrument is needed and what tool must be used to analyze your data is part of the consideration a researcher must take in order to answer the research problem/question (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 80). Quantitative, qualitative and a mixed-method approach are different, uniques and certainly their purposes and the type of data differ greatly (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 80). Through either one, you will collect one or both types of data numerical (statistics) or nonnumerical (observations) (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 80). With that being said, and taking into account the lack of quantitative studies found during the literature review, this proposal will be using a quantitative methodology. Another reason for this methodology is that quantitative research deducts, seeks to explain, predicts, generalized and establish relationships between variables through statistics to prove, test and verify hypotheses and theories (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 80 & Ponterotto, 2002). Furthermore, the research question and both alternative and null hypothesis are trying to establish a correlation between variables. Because we’re looking to get numerical data to see if there’s any correlation at all, a quantitative design would be our best approach (Reyes, 2018).
Since the methodology is quantitative, a research design is quantitative as well. Like it was mentioned before, this proposal is trying to establish a correlation. The best research design for this is from one of the non-experimental descriptive research designs: a correlational research design (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 137 & Lavrakas, 2008). The correlational design facilitates the withdrawing of conclusions about the actual status of a problem, situation or issue but must not be confused with cause-and-effect (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 367; Bleske-Rechek, Morrison & Heidtke, 2015, p.49 & American Psychological Association [APA], 2013). In other words, “correlation does not imply causation” (Reyes, 2018 & Bleske-Rechek, et al., 2015, p. 49).
A correlational research investigate, measure and analyze the degree in which differences and similarities exists or are related to one or more variables (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 137 & Lavrakas, 2008). Explore the possibility of relations or associations between variables. This design establish a correlation if a variable increases or decreases another variable regardless if is a positive or negative result (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 137). This type of method allows the researcher to collect “quantitative data about two or more characteristics” of a distinct group (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 137).
This proposal will be working with a vulnerable population. This population are prisoners for which special consideration must be taken due to their “restrictive, institutional environment” (Office of the Human Research Protection Program [OHRPP], 2012). These special considerations will be discussed in the procedure section of this proposal. The inclusion characteristics for the sample of this population are:
- Males and females between the ages of 18 and 50 years old whose sentences are terroristic threats or terrorism-related offenses and at the time of the study must be serving their sentences in a prison or jail state in/of the state of Texas under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (Reyes, 2018).
- Must be citizens born, raised, educated [at some level] and have resided in the United States and/or its territories (Reyes, 2018; Wilner & Dubouloz, 2010 & Precht, 2007).
- Terroristic offenses or terrorism-related crimes can be federal, state crimes or non-federal crimes (18 U.S. Code § 2332b).
- Any individual transferred of an out-of-state prison that meets the previous three requirements.
The exclusion characteristics for the sample of this population are:
- Individuals over or below the age range (Reyes, 2018).
- Individuals who are being charged with terroristic threats or terrorism-related crimes at the time of this study and have not sentenced yet (Reyes, 2018).
- Individuals who are serving their sentences for terroristic threats or terrorism-related offenses in the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment [SAFP] (Reyes, 2018).
- Individuals whose sentence is only for assault and not for a combination of one offense with terroristic threats or terrorism-related offenses (Reyes, 2018).
No race, ethnicity, religion, cultural background, political views, disability (mental or physical), employment and marital status would be used as a criteria for inclusion nor exclusion of the sample (Reyes, 2018). In the fiscal year of 2016, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported 21,507 inmates whose sentences are for the offenses of Assault/Terroristic Threat (Reyes, 2018). From this 21,507; 744 are inmates in SAFP which are excluded (Reyes, 2018). The remaining individuals are 20,763. This research proposal was hoping to have a sample of 500 individuals, however, this won’t be the case. Per the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, as of January 31, 2018, there is only 25 prisoners whose sentences are terroristic threats or terrorism-related offenses. For now, the sample size for this proposal is 25 individuals.
The measurement instrument that will be used in this proposal to collect the raw data is a questionnaire (Reyes, 2018). Questionnaires, whether they are paper and pencil or online (in a computer) are cost-effective (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 141 & Abbott, & McKinney, 2013, p. 210). This instrument is excellent for larger populations and for far away populations because saves additional and unnecessary expenses to the researcher because can easily gather the data while addressing and meeting the requirements of the research (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 141 & Abbott, & McKinney, 2013, p. 210). One questionnaire will be provided, integrating the variables and divided by sections (Reyes, 2018). The questionnaire will be designed by the researcher and will be scrutinized by a colleague with the expertise of survey research. The researcher will look into the questions of the questionnaire to make sure no biases or prejudices are being asked.
Special considerations are needed when it comes to prisoners (OHRPP, 2012). Since this is a vulnerable population, the special considerations call for a special approval under the federal government and is also reviewed by the Institutional Review Board [IRB] (OHRPP, 2012). This federal regulation is the 45 CFR 46.305(a) which requires the following seven things:
- This proposal must be one of the research categories permissible under 46.306(a)(2) (OHRPP, 2012).
- The benefits of this proposal, in comparison with the prisoner lifestyle, cannot outweigh the risk of this study (OHRPP, 2012).
- The risk of this study is equivalent to the risk a non-prisoner would accept (OHRPP, 2012).
- Selection of prisoner are fair to all prisoners “and immune from arbitrary intervention by prison authorities or prisoners… [and] control subjects must be selected randomly from the group of available prisoners who meet the characteristics needed” for this study (OHRPP, 2012).
- The study provides information in a language understandable for the population (OHRPP, 2012).
- Prisoners’ participation in this study does not count for parole boards’ decisions and every participant “is clearly informed in advanced” (OHRPP, 2012).
- If the study has a follow-up of it participants after its conclusion, arrangements for the follow-up must be made taking into account the variety of each individual sentences and the participant will be informed of this fact (OHRPP, 2012).
Additional approvals from the Federal Bureau of Prisons will be taken into consideration as well, especially if the IRB or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice so requires it. After getting all the approvals, the recruitment process for the sample would be trough recruitment letters, referrals (from other participants and/or prison/jail staff) and flyers, notices or information sheets (OHRPP, 2012). A paper and pencil self-questionnaire would be administered to anyone who wants to participate. The questionnaire would be given in a classroom-setting type inside the prison/state jail. The specific time-frame for the questionnaire (what time is going to be?) will be determined in conjunction with the prison/state jail’s Warden. The researcher has taken into consideration that, even though this population lives in a restricted environment, they still have a schedule, routine or itinerary to follow. The time for the self-administered questionnaire would be one that better fits the sample’s routine. After the questionnaire is completed, the participants will put it in a locked box near the exit. When their participation is completely done, the participants will return to their daily routine.
The data analysis tool for this proposal are parametric and nonparametric inferential statistical processes to analyze the data. The parametric statistics will be the student’s t-test, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), t-test, regression and factor analysis (Gill et al., 2017 & Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 241). These statistical tests are the best fit because establishes a “statistically significant difference” between means, reduces the possibility of a Type II error, establishes a correlation, make possible to predict the value of a dependent variable from an independent variable without indicating cause-and-effect, examine the correlation between variables and determine the proximity of frequencies (Reyes, 2018 & Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 241). The only nonparametric statistic that will be used is the chi-square (Gill, et al., 2017 & Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 241). Furthermore, these statistical tools will test the hypotheses (Reyes, 2018 & Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 241). The software that will be used in this proposal is the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) because is the only software the researcher has access to and the only one the researcher knows and understand better.
Limitations of the Study and Threats to Validity
Like any other research proposal, there are limitations and threats to validity. One limitation and is also a threat to validity (selection of the subjects) is the size of the sample. At first, it looked like there were too many subjects to participate. However, the number got drastically reduced. From thousands (literally) now I only have 25. To this be must add that not all 25 individuals are going to participate. Another threat to validity would be the Hawthorne effect, instrumentation and the experimental validity (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 85 & Argosy, 2013). I must take into consideration that my population, because of their environment, their responses, actions, and behaviors might change at any given moment (Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 169 & Argosy, 2013). Since the instrumentation is a questionnaire designed by the researcher the possibility of bias is higher.
The best course of action to minimize these threats would be eliminating, as much as possible, bias in the questionnaire by carefully scrutinize the questions (Reyes, 2018). The recruitment strategy should be design to avoid subjects to participate for convenience, non-voluntarily and/or lateness (latecomers) (Reyes, 2018). Another strategy to avoid these threats to validity is to emphasize the benefits of the study to avoid the loss of participants and provide a statement to all subjects about, whether they are being observed or not, their responses, actions and behaviors should not change at any given moment (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 169 & Argosy, 2013).
Ethics in research is not only about presenting the real data, conclusions, and results. Ethics in research is also the protection of your human subjects. Is the research’s duty to protect his participants from any harm before, during and after the research begins and finishes (Reyes, 2018). In order to protect the participants and the researcher as well, an informed consent must be given. Is not only a requirement of the IRB but is also the ethical and legal responsibility of the researcher (Nijhawan, Janodia, Muddukrishna, Bhat, Bairy, Udupa & Musmade, 2013). The informed consent for this investigation will be in writing (paper inform consent), it will be explained in detail to the participants, the participants will have enough time to read it by themselves and there would be an open forum to discuss any question, doubts or concern about the informed consent and the study before any of the participants signs the document. The informed consent of this proposal will cover the following:
- Description of the study – the nature, purposes and/or goals of the research, the type of activities involved and what type of participation is required in a language that everybody can understand (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Timeframe – the duration of the study and the participation of the subjects (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Voluntary statement – indication that the study is completely voluntary without any penalties or loss of benefits (usually monetary, if any) if the participant decides to leave/terminate at any phase of the research (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Risks and benefits – description of risks, discomforts and benefits (including monetary compensation if any) for either the participants, the field of psychology or society (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Ethics – the informed consent will describe the ethics involved in this study, any possible ethical issues and the steps that the researcher will take in order to resolve, prevent or minimize that ethical issue as stipulated in the American Psychological Association: Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct [APA Ethics Code] (2010) and in the American Psychological Association: Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology [SGFP] (2013) (Reyes, 2018 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Confidentiality – a statement that guarantees the confidentiality and anonymity of the participant’s information (demographics and/or personal information) and responses in the questionnaire (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Data storage and access – the researcher will provide the means in which the data will be storage like a safe, locked cabinet, encrypted data or password protected computers/databases and what personnel will have access to it (Reyes, 2018 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Researcher’s information and contact means – the researcher’s name, occupation and contact information will be provided in the informed consent. The researcher will also provide contact information about an individual and/or office, related to the research, to the participants in case there’s any doubt, questions or concern about the study through the informed consent (Reyes, 2018; Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103 & Nijhawan, et al., 2013).
- Results – the informed consent will cover a section to provide a statement with details of the findings (how is going to be published, how the participants can get access to the results) “about the study upon its completion” (Reyes, 2018 & Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103).
- Signatures – a place will be provided to the participants in order to date and sign the informed consent (Reyes, 2018 & Leedy & Ormrod, 2016, p. 103).
To ensure the safety of all participants from a potential risk or harm, the researcher will prevent or at least minimize it by providing detailed information about the study protocols and procedures, assembling a research team with the knowledge, experience and expertise in the population studied as well how to conduct research (Reyes, 2018). Another way to ensure their safety is incorporating a “data safety monitoring plan” (UNM Office of the Institutional Review Board, 2016) with an expert team who can safeguard the data and respond to emergencies in case of a breach of confidentiality or data leakegage (this will also limit the access of people to the data), storing data in a safe and locked place and/or encrypting, giving passwords/codes to digital data, databases and/or computers/electronic devices, obtainig certificates of confidentiality (CoC) for a vulnerable population, ensuring the sample is adequate to generate useful results and provide on-site behavioral/psychlogical/emotional support to the participatns trhough counselors, psychologists and/or psychiatrists during and after the questionnaire (Reyes, 2018 & UNM Office of the Institutional Review Board, 2016).
To maintain the highest ethical standard, the researcher will emphasize, before beginning the questionnaire, that their participation is completely voluntary and that they are free to go whenever they want to without any penalties. Lastly, the researcher will be disclaimed that the participation in this study won’t change nor affect the parole board’s decision in any of their sentences (OHRPP, 2012).
This research proposal is planning to use different dissemination strategies. The reason for this is to have a backup plan in case the main strategy or other strategies fail. First, the researcher will try to disseminate this proposal through peer-reviewed journals by a press release (this will be the main strategy since the lack of peer-reviewed studies in this topic) (Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), 2009). Second dissemination strategy is a research summary document of this study with the key findings and a fact sheet (Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), 2009). The third dissemination strategy is a media coverage through, either one or all of them, local news, local newspaper or local radio stations (Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), 2009). The fourth dissemination strategy, and is a combination of two, it will be hosting or attending seminars, local events (including Argosy University) or conferences with flyers, brochures, poster and/or research briefs (Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), 2009). Every single dissemination strategy will include a letter of appreciation to the participants. This letter will be sent to the participants as well with any finding of the study (Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), 2009).
This proposal aimed the problem of homegrown terrorists. The literature review emphasizes the purpose of this study: addition to the knowledge in the topic with quantitative data by establishing a relationship with personal beliefs and homegrown terrorism. Also, this proposal brought up the lacuna of female terrorists in the present literature and the lack of face-to-face participants. Furthermore, this proposal found the weakness of the present literature towards the Muslim community. The academic literature points out to this community like the bad people in our country; putting them at higher and unnecessary risk. The population of this proposal is vulnerable and every ethical step has been taking into consideration to protect and/or minimize any possible harm, threat or ethical issue to the participants. The data of this proposal is quantitative with a correlational design and a self-administered questionnaire. In order to analyze this quantitative data, inferential statistic (parametric and nonparametric statistics) will be used to test the hypotheses and to answer the research question. However, limitations and threat to validity exist. The two limitations/threat to validity that the researcher is more concerned about are the sample size (is too small) and the Hawthorne effect (change in behavior due to the knowledge of being observed). Nonetheless, precautions have been planned to avoid or at least minimize these. Lastly, the researcher has four different dissemination strategies to choose in case, for whatever reason, the previous one fails. Is just a precaution, a backup plan for this proposal.
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