The Effect of Terrorist Attacks on Social Events Attendance

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Terrorist attacks have been on the rise in the recent past especially in the western countries. For instance, the United Kingdom had at least five terrorist incidences in 2017, which includes the Manchester arena bombing. Despite the high security in these nations, a few terrorists have been successful in maneuvering through restrictions to launch attacks on social events and other public gatherings. Extremist attacks can be a difficult topic to discuss, particularly with individuals affected by the incidence. Comprehending the reason behind an attack is essential when establishing the context of terrorist activities (National Research Council). In most cases, attacks are politically or religiously motivated while on some occasions it may be due to revenge. The research question for this study is; To what extent do recent terror attacks make people less likely to attend social events? The reason for this research question is to examine whether the public can be influenced by these incidences while deciding between attending an event or not. Moreover, it is critical to study the extent to which such activities have impacted social events attendance. Regardless of the fact that some people might choose to cancel their social events attendance, others are likely to continue appearing at public gatherings since security agencies guarantee of improved security.


The first hypothesis is that terrorist attacks make people less likely to go to highly-attended social events. This may be due to the fear of being a part of the casualties in case of any incidence. The second hypothesis is that when terrorists attack social gatherings such as concerts, it contributes to low attendance of such events by potential clients.

Literature Review

According to research, terrorism has a significant impact on the event industry in the UK and other several countries (Holbrook). The reason for the terrorist incidences on social events is due to the media coverage. On most occasions, extremists conduct an attack with the intention of attracting the attention of the media. To clarify, when the media outlets cover a story about a particular incidence, their influence is likely to result in many people changing their minds about a specific issue. The media acts as a global voice for all extremists seeking to air their agenda to particular group or country. Attacks on social events have led to the organizers incurring high costs during planning since high security should be guaranteed for every attendee. Moreover, the law enforcers are obliged to be on alert whenever there are public gatherings. Despite the variations on the types of attacks carried out, they all generate attitudinal, behavioral, and emotional responses in all the affected individuals (Bruce). The reaction of a person to crisis situations is influenced by aspects such as the effectiveness of warnings, the level of preparedness, and the confidence exhibited by the law enforcement agencies which have the mandate to deal with such problems. Regardless of the efforts by the governments to try to manage the situation, the feeling and attitudes of the civilians are unlikely to be entirely controlled. According to research, there are four ways in which human response to terrorist activity should be examined. These approaches are; anticipatory behavior, response to the warning, the instant response to the actual attack, and the recovery (Bruce). Likewise, the public responds better to a warning system which is free from ambiguity and directed to specific people at risk. To put it into perspective, civilians requires information such as the likely place of attack and how the situation can be controlled. Through this process, few people are likely to be affected by an incidence.

Experiment Design

For this experiment, there are two treatments which have been implemented to manipulate the response of the those surveyed. The two procedures are designed to ensure that the respondents either choose a social or non-social event. The reason I have two treatments is due to the fact that research topic is focused on examining two situations which are likely to have a significant impact on the civilians.

The first treatment is; A police spokesperson has disclosed that between 8-10 planned attacks on public places have been foiled by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command since May’s suicide bomb attack on Manchester Arena. Detective Chief Inspector Jennifer Mattinson said that “While the Police and Security services have successfully disrupted several known plots to attack high profile events, we urge the public to maintain vigilance, making sure to run, hide and tell, in the event of firearms or bomb attack, particularly around public places.” This treatment discusses the prevention of attack by police officers on social gatherings around the UK. Without explicitly stating the types of attacks which were thwarted by law enforcers, those surveyed are still likely to make a decision based on the place the terrorists were planning to attack. Moreover, the inclusion of the May 2017 attack at the Manchester arena serves to show the magnitude of the incident which could have occurred without the police intervention. High profile events attract many people in the country, and thus such news will lead to many questioning the probability these attacks being successful due to lack of enough security.

The second treatment is; A police spokesperson has disclosed that between 8-10 planned attacks on the tube network have been foiled by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command since September’s bomb attack in Parson’s Green. Detective Chief Inspector Jennifer Mattinson said of this, “While the Police and Security services have successfully disrupted several known plots to attack public transport, we urge the public to maintain vigilance, making sure to run, hide and tell, in the event of firearms or bomb attack on London’s transport networks.” The UK tube network serves many clients around major cities such as London, Hertfordshire, and Essex. Nonetheless, these trains do not carry as many people at the same time as compared to the number of civilians who attend high profile events. In case of an attack, the number of casualties is significantly lower than other social events. Thus, this experiment will demonstrate the level of effect this news has on people’s decision to attend social gatherings.

My control condition for this experiment is not mentioning the occurrence of an attack in the UK. This is to ensure that the respondents make their choices depending on their knowledge about terrorist activities. Thus, through this process, I will be able to examine whether my treatment has an impact on the response. My comparison group is in the no treatment concurrent control category to gauge the effect of treatment on the experimental class. This experiment can be described as between-subjects since both the comparison and the experimental group are subjected to different testing factors. Likewise, the test is a priming experiment due to the fact that inclusion of terrorist attacks is expected to prompt a particular reaction from the respondents. In this experiment, I will be randomizing two variables; attack on tube network where the target is likely to be located and the same incidence happening in a highly attended social event. The tube network will be regarded as a non-social event in the experiment since the purpose of the train is transportation. My test lies more in the external validity since the results of the study will be generalized to other settings which include people and time.

Treatment effect allows the experimenter to estimate the causal impacts of the experiment type from observational data. To observe the implications of this experiment, I will subtract the number of people subjected to the treatment from the number of individuals in the control condition. This will provide the percentage of the effect of my treatment in response collected.

Survey Instrument

My questionnaire arrangement is aimed at ensuring that after the survey is completed, I can identify the different factors which might have contributed to particular results. Questions included in the study should assist the experimenter in answering most of the queries which might emerge after the outcome. Moreover, the questions asked should be clear and concise to those being surveyed. This ensures that they understand the query and make the right decision without guessing. The first part of my questionnaire intends to let those participating in the survey give informed consent about the use of the data they provide in my experiment. Those who fail to agree with the terms are directed to jump to the end of the survey since forcing people to participate in a study might distort the outcome. Those who volunteer to provide their information to my experiment are directed to the demographics part. In the demographics section, personal details such as gender, place of work, nationality, age, and employment status are filled by the respondents.

The dependent variables in this experiment are; whether the respondent has been directly or indirectly impacted by a terror attack and how likely they are to attend social events. The broader concept I am seeking to examine through the dependent variables is how people who have been affected by the attacks done by extremists likely to change their mind. To measure this concept, I will record the number of those who were directly or indirectly affected by the attacks and subsequently calculate the percentage of those who decided against going to events.  The response options for being directly or indirectly impacted by the terrorist attack are five. These options include; agreeing to both directly and indirectly, disagreeing, those who do not know, and those who choose not to respond. The reason why this response option is appropriate is due to the fact that some people may feel uncomfortable answering the question and thus they will be able to indicate “no response” to the query. This ensures that everyone is comfortable while answering all the questions provided.

The independent variables of the experiment include the political affiliations of the individual, the cost of living, and immigration status of the country. The possible sources of error for the independent variables is the inclusion of the question regarding the possibility of a specific media outlet being affiliated with a particular political party. This is due to the fact that most people may be uncomfortable describing their trusted news sources as biased. The options are inappropriate in this question since there is no part which lets the respondents describe why their news sources may or may not be biased.

The interview is expected to take the respondent at most ten minutes of their time. The duration of the survey makes certain that the interviewees do not give up on the study while halfway through the questions. The actual experiment is located in the middle and the lower part of the questionnaire. The reason for choosing this location is to ensure that the interviewees do not skip some of the steps after completing the primary questions. Additionally, this location prepares the respondents for the treatments of the experiment. The purpose of the debrief is to thank the respondents for their answers and clarify to them that the news articles shown in the treatment were not real. Without this clarification, the interviewees might spread the information to others which could result in the survey misleading people about the current affairs of the country.


When preparing for this survey, my target group was young people who frequently attend social events within the country. My sample population for the study are people aged between 18 and 36 years. The reason why I decided on this sample population is due to the fact that the young people are the most affected groups during terrorist activities in the UK. The sampling mechanism implemented in this experiment is referred to as quota sample. This is due to the age limit requirement of the survey since the target group was specific to the young audience. My sampling frames for calculating the probability are; gender, age, nationality, level of education, and employment status. The benefit of this sampling mechanism is that I will be able to group the respondents into unique groups to show variations. The disadvantage of this approach is that all the groups have an unequal number of the interviewees and this may skew the results. There are ten people in our survey group, and each person is expected to survey at least ten random individuals. Thus, I am planning to obtain at least a hundred observations for this experiment.

Ethical Considerations

One of the potential ethical issues about the survey is the inclusion of the section querying individuals about their race. The reason this might be an issue is due to the outcomes which might imply a particular person being against or for a specific idea due to his or her race. This might pose a psychological discomfort to some and might contribute to a few respondents altering their results to avoid being regarded as biased. To lessen the impact of ethnicity in my survey, I plan to disregard the association of a particular outcome to any of the ethnic backgrounds.

Works Cited

Bruce, Gregor. "Definition of Terrorism – Social and Political Effects". 2018, Accessed 19 Mar 2018.

Holbrook, Donald. "What Types of Media do Terrorists Collect? An Analysis of Religious, Political, and Ideological Publications Found in Terrorism Investigations in the UK". Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies, 2017. The International Centre For Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), doi:10.19165/2017.1.011.

National Research Council. Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism. 2018, Accessed 19 Mar 2018.

September 25, 2023

HR Management Terrorism

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