12 Articles and Sources to Support Your Terrorism Essay

Over the years, I’m sure at least some of your teachers have used unique writing assignments to help you learn. Maybe you learned about the Civil War by writing a letter from the point of view of Abraham Lincoln. Or maybe you learned about character and plot by re-writing the ending of Hamlet.

Some topics lend themselves to fun assignments. Other topics, like terrorism, usually do not.

If you’re writing about terrorism, chances are your paper will be a traditional argument essay or compare and contrast essay. It will likely take on a much more serious tone and will require solid research to support your arguments.

If you’re in need of a little help with your rather traditional and standard writing assignment about terrorism and need help finding sources, here are 12 articles and sources to help you get started with your terrorism essay.

12 Articles and Sources to Support Your Terrorism Essay

I’ve grouped this list of 12 terrorism resources into three categories:

  • General terrorism resources
  • Psychology and sociology of terrorism
  • Terrorism and 9/11

I’ve included a brief summary of each resource and have also included APA (References) and MLA 8 (Works Cited) citations.

If your instructor requires you to include dates of access for online sources, just add the access date to the end of the MLA 8 source, after the period at the end of the URL. Here’s the format you should use: “Accessed day month year” (Example: “Accessed 4 Jan. 2017.”).

General terrorism resources

terrorism essay
By HonestReporting.com, Flickr.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Source #1: Terrorism

This US government website includes a definition of terrorism and an overview of terrorism and counterterrorism task forces. In addition, within the pages of the site, you can find videos, press releases, speeches, and much more. It also links to several other resources.

(Note: If you use something other than an informational text page, you may need to tweak the entry or add information to meet the requirements for the source type.)

MLA 8 Citation

“Terrorism.” FBI, www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism.

APA Citation

Terrorism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism

Source #2: Global Terrorism Database

This comprehensive, open-source database is hosted and updated by the University of Maryland. It includes over 150,000 terrorism cases from around the world (dating from 1970 to present) with information sourced from over four million news articles and 25,000 news sources.

MLA 8 Citation

Global Terrorism Database. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), June 2016, www.start.umd.edu/gtd/about/.

APA Citation

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2016). Global terrorism database [Data file]. Retrieved from https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd

Source #3: The Evolution of Islamic Terrorism: An Overview

terrorism essay

Published by PBS, a well-respected television and news source, this article provides a timeline of the evolution of Islamic terrorism. The website also links to a variety of other terrorism-related PBS stories.

MLA 8 Citation

Moore, John. “The Evolution of Islamic Terrorism: An Overview.” Frontline, www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/target/etc/modern.html.

APA Citation

Moore, J. (n.d.). The evolution of Islamic terrorism: An overview. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/target/etc/modern.html

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Source #4: National Counterterrorism Center

This government website houses a variety of resources, including hearings and official statements. (These are official government documents, so be prepared for some detailed—and rather dry—reading.)

MLA 8 Citation (page/resource on site)

“Title of Page Used from Site.” National Counterterrorism Center. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, DATE (day, month, year/omit if no publication date), www.nctc.gov/index.html.

MLA 8 Citation (entire website)

National Counterterrorism Center. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, www.nctc.gov/index.html.

APA Citation (page/resource on site)*

Title of page used from site. (YEAR/”n.d.” if no publication date). Retrieved from https://www.nctc.gov/transparency.html

*Note: If citing the entire website in APA, the URL is cited parenthetically in the text of your essay rather than as an entry in your reference list.

Psychology and sociology of terrorism

terrorism essay
“Brain power” by Allan Ajifo, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Source #5: The Psychology of Terrorism

This blog post speculates on why so many young British men of Asian descent have become terrorists. The source is considered credible as it is written by Steve Taylor, PhD, a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, and published by Psychology Today.

MLA 8 Citation

Taylor, Steve. “The Psychology of Terrorism: What Makes Young Men Prepared to Kill for a Cause?” Psychology Today, 9 Sept. 2014, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201409/the-psychology-terrorism.

APA Citation

Taylor, S. (2014, September 9). The psychology of terrorism: What makes young men prepared to kill for a cause? [Web log]. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201409/the-psychology-terrorism

Source #6: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Terrorism

Published by the respected news source CNN, this article examines how people’s brains react to a constant state of terror and fear.

MLA 8 Citation

LaMotte, Sandee. “The Psychology and Neuroscience of Terrorism.” CNN, 15 July 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/25/health/brain-and-terrorist-attack/.

APA Citation

LaMotte, S. (2016, July 15). The psychology and neuroscience of terrorism. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/25/health/brain-and-terrorist-attack/

Source #7: The Psychology Of Radicalization: How Terrorist Groups Attract Young Followers

terrorism essay

This source contains an overview of and the transcript and audio for an episode on the original NPR podcast Hidden Brain. The episode examines “the social and psychological drivers behind international terrorism, and why our best efforts to prevent radicalization so often fail.”

Note that the entries below differ depending on whether you cite the text, cite the transcript of the audio, and/or listen to the podcast audio.

MLA 8 Citation (overview text on URL)

“The Psychology of Radicalization: How Terrorist Groups Attract Young Followers.” NPR, 15 Dec. 2015, www.npr.org/2015/12/15/459697926/the-psychology-of-radicalization-how-terrorist-groups-attract-young-followers.

MLA 8 Citation (podcast transcript)

“The Psychology of Radicalization: How Terrorist Groups Attract Young Followers.” NPR, 15 Dec. 2015, www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=459697926.

MLA 8 Citation (podcast audio)

“The Psychology of Radicalization: How Terrorist Groups Attract Young Followers.” Hidden Brain from NPR, 15 Dec. 2015, www.npr.org/2015/12/15/459697926/the-psychology-of-radicalization-how-terrorist-groups-attract-young-followers.

APA Citation (overview text on URL)

The psychology of radicalization: How terrorist groups attract young followers. (2015, December 15). NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2015/12/15/459697926/the-psychology-of-radicalization-how-terrorist-groups-attract-young-followers

APA Citation (podcast transcript)

NPR (Producer). (2015, December 15). The psychology of radicalization: How terrorist groups attract young followers [Podcast transcript]. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=459697926

APA Citation (podcast audio)

NPR (Producer). (2015, December 15). The psychology of radicalization: How terrorist groups attract young followers [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2015/12/15/459697926/the-psychology-of-radicalization-how-terrorist-groups-attract-young-followers

Source #8: The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?

terrorism essay

Though this is an older source (published in 1999), it was originally prepared for the Library of Congress. This is a lengthy article detailing a study that was designed to identify individuals and groups who may be more likely to become terrorists, and to help improve counterterrorism methods.

Consider using this source to compare studies in 1999 to studies of today, or to compare acts of terror through various decades.

MLA 8 Citation

Hudson, Rex A. “The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?” Library of Congress, Sep. 1999, www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/Soc_Psych_of_Terrorism.pdf.

APA Citation

Hudson, R. A. (1999). The sociology and psychology of terrorism: Who becomes a terrorist and why? Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/Soc_Psych_of_Terrorism.pdf

Terrorism and 9/11

terrorism essay
“9/11 Memorial” by Dave Z, Flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

Source #9: 9/11 Attacks

This is a resource posted by History.com (a division of the A+E Television Networks) and contains a timeline of the events as they occurred on 9/11. The resource also links to additional videos and articles regarding 9/11.

MLA 8 Citation

“9/11 Attacks.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks.

APA Citation

9/11 attacks. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks

Source #10: The Terrorist Threat Is Worse Now Than It Was Before 9/11

In this article, author Pamela Engel identifies a variety of terrorist organizations and explains how terror and terrorist threats have grown in recent years.

This article is credible and passes the CRAAP test. It is published by Business Insider, which was founded in 2007 by former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget and DoubleClick executives Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan. Business Insider is “the largest business news site on the web.”

MLA 8 Citation

Engel, Pamela. “The Terrorist Threat Is Worse Now Than It Was Before 9/11.” Business Insider, 11 Sep. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/are-we-safer-now-than-on-911-2016-9.

APA Citation

Engel, P. (2016, September 11). The terrorist threat is worse now than it was before 9/11. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/are-we-safer-now-than-on-911-2016-9

Source #11: Terrorism Since 9/11

terrorism essay

Compiled from honors seminars at Ohio State University and with the help CATO Institute interns, this source summarizes cases of terrorism, home and abroad, where the United States was a target.

The site also links to the nearly 1,000-page book that collates the details of all terrorism cases listed on the URL.

Please note: If you click through to another link, make sure to revise the MLA or APA entry accordingly. The entries below are only for the exact URL included for the source as a whole, which has the list of terrorism cases. Individual case links would require changing the title and URL in the citations.

MLA 8 Citation

Mueller, John, editor. “Terrorism Since 9/11.” Ohio State University, 10 Jan. 2017, politicalscience.osu.edu/faculty/jmueller/since.html.

APA Citation

Mueller, J. (2017). Terrorism since 9/11. Retrieved from http://politicalscience.osu.edu/faculty/jmueller/since.html

Source #12: The Evolution of Terrorism Since 9/11

Published by the FBI and written by Lauren O’Brien, an intelligence analyst in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section, this article includes an overview of terrorism since 9/11, including Al Qaeda, the Global Jihadist Movement, and the rise of affiliates.

MLA 8 Citation

O’Brien, Lauren B. “The Evolution of Terrorism Since 9/11.” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sep. 2011, leb.fbi.gov/2011/september/the-evolution-of-terrorism-since-9-11.

APA Citation

O’Brien, L. B. (2011, September). The evolution of terrorism since 9/11. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Retrieved from https://leb.fbi.gov/2011/september/the-evolution-of-terrorism-since-9-11

Have Sources. Need Writing Assistance.

terrorism essay

Okay, so you have a handful (or two) of sources—now what?

Before you begin writing, it often helps to read a few example essays. Check out these essays for inspiration:


After you’ve read the sample essays, it’s time to get to work on your own terrorism essay.

First, read through your sources to get a better sense of their arguments. Take notes to help you remember important points and to mark sections you may want to cite in your paper.

(Read 10 Note Taking Strategies to Write a Better Essay for more help with taking notes.)

Next, outline your ideas. Identify key arguments for your paper and decide which pieces of information you’ll cite to support your arguments. (Hint: Start with creating your thesis statement to help keep you focused.)

After you’ve drafted your terrorism essay, don’t forget to put the finishing touches on it by making sure the format and all sources are correct.

Have other sources you need to cite? Make sure to follow the necessary guidelines for specific source types that you need to follow. These resources can help with both formatting and further citations:

(Not required to follow MLA or APA? Read Essay Formatting Survival Guide (Infographic) for a few basic formatting tips.)

Finally, you’ll need to revise. Of course, it’s always best to have another person read your paper after you’ve revised your own work. That’s where Kibin editors come in — we’re here 24/7 to provide expert corrections and feedback.

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.