The Ticking Time Bomb: Can Torture Ever Be Justified?

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Robson (2002 cited in Crow and Semmens 2008) stated that the aim of any research usually falls into one of three categories, to describe something, to explore/understand a phenomenon, or to explain/measure it. The aim of my research falls into the second of these as it is about exploring the opinions of young adults (16-24 year olds) about torture being used on terror suspects.

The objective of my research is to allow further understanding to be developed around the topic of young adults attitudes towards the use of torture as an information gaining strategy from terrorists, and whether they believe that is justifiable. At this point it is important to clarify what an attitude is, Oppenheim (2000 cited Crow & Semmens 2008) define it well, they state that it is a “state of readiness, a tendency to act or react in a certain manner when confronted with certain stimuli”. Crow and Semmens (2008) state that an attitude has a number of components: beliefs, feelings and behaviours.

The main reason I am choosing to research perceptions of torture is due to the vast gap in the research around this topic. There is very little research about this subject, and the research that is currently published is mainly in the US. I believe that the topic of torture is important to research, due to the huge controversies seen in the media regarding it, and the secrecy of some countries who use it. Previous research includes a number of polls, asking individuals about their perceptions of the use of torture.

It is important to consider young adults perceptions of the justifiability of torture on terror suspects as they are the future leaders, and will be policy makers with power to legalise it in times to come. Furthermore, young adults have grown...

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USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll. (2005). USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll Results. Available: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/polls/tables/lives/2005-01-10-poll.htm. Last accessed 22rd April 2014.
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Zegart, A. (2012). Torture Creep. Available: http://foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/25/torture_creep. Last accessed 23rd April 2014.

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