Ideological rationality and violence: An exploratory study of ISIL’s cyber profile

Douglas C. Derrick, Karyn Sporer, Sam Church, Gina Scott Ligon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This exploratory study examines the narrative space of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Specifically, we developed a methodology to gather, archive, and analyze ISIL’s online presence in social media. Our sample was drawn from transient websites (N = 8308) collected between August 2015 and October 2015. From this pool, we coded a random sample of 100 English-only articles for violent, pragmatic, and ideological themes. Exploratory factor analyses revealed two constructs: violence and ideological rationality. Our findings offer insight into the messaging and organizational dynamics of ISIL. We conclude with implications and future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-81
Number of pages25
JournalDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict: Pathways toward Terrorism and Genocide
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • SIL
  • cyber technology
  • social media
  • violent extremist organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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