CREST Roundup: February 2018

CREST roundup feb 2018

This is a roundup of what CREST has been up to in February. You can stay up-to-date with all our work by signing up to the CREST Newsletter, and have CREST news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

New issue of CREST Security Review

This issue of CREST Security Review (CSR) focuses on ‘transitions’, highlighting research on movements between groups.

From helping extremists reintegrate back into society, to looking at cults and the reasons why people both leave and stay, this issue explores the series of difficult transitions some individuals and groups make.

Download your free issue of CREST Security Review here.

Inside this issue:

  • Sarah Marsden writes for us on programmes that seek to help extremists make the transition from violent groups back into society.
  • Suzanne Newcombe looks at cults and the reasons why people both leave and stay.
  • Refugees often don’t have choices in the series of difficult transitions they make. Christopher McDowell charts the risks and dangers of these transitions.
  • Simon Wells shows us how research has helped track how negotiations progress, giving us examples from two hostage crises.
  • Tina Christensen presents the results from her study into a Swedish programme that helps far-right extremists make the transition to productive democratic citizens.

Each issue of CREST Security Review also features articles outside of its special focus. In this issue we include research on Russian interference in public discourse, the difficulties of communicating across culture, and a mindmap on what people mean when they say ‘I don’t know’ during an interview setting.

Download, read and share 

CREST is committed to sharing research as widely as possible. Tell your colleagues and networks and share the link on your websites and newsletters.

As with all our resources, CSR is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence. For more information on how can you use our content please read our copyright page.

See previous issues of CREST Security Review here:

What do sources mean when they say, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t remember’?

CREST Researcher Lorraine Hope categorises potential reasons for these hindering responses.

During an interview a source may respond to a question with either ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t remember’. This may well be a legitimate response; however, these responses may also reflect several cognitive, social and motivational states. Therefore, there are many reasons for why a source might respond with an ‘I don’t know or ‘I don’t remember’.

Drawing on a range of published research, Professor Lorraine Hope has developed a taxonomy of the potential reasons for the ‘I don’t know’ response, to explore, understand and inform in interview settings.

Through a series of posters, Professor Hope provides examples that illustrate each reason along with possible responses:

  • Overview – a summary of the many reasons why a source would say ‘I don’t Know’ or ‘I don’t remember’.
  • Memory Encoding – reasons that relate to factors at memory encoding, such as attention, distraction, reduced psychological capacity.
  • Memory Retrieval – reasons relating to memory retrieval, such as forgetting, uncertainty and metacognition, lack of retrieval support.
  • Interview Context – reasons relating to interview context, such as pragmatic communication, impression management and inferences about the interview.
  • Distrust, Cynicism and Hostility – reasons that relate to distrust, cynicism and hostility such as trust and control issues, perceptions of efficacy and deliberate deceit to mislead.
  • Personal Motivation – reasons that relates to motivational factors such as reluctance (fear, protecting others), status insecurity and ideological motivations e.g., taboo, shame, identity as an ‘informer’.

You can download all the posters here.

ECR BASS event

Early career researcher workshop, Lancaster University

BASS18 will begin with a one-day early career researcher (ECR) workshop. Taking place on the afternoon of 9th July, and continuing on the morning of the 10th July. The workshop will involve informal talks and interactive sessions that address some of the challenges ECRs encounter as they develop their research careers.

It will cover topics that include developing a long-term research strategy, tips on how to write a successful funding application, and the insider scope on what makes a successful journal paper from current and former editors. Alongside this formative input, we anticipate the workshop being an opportunity to meet and learn about the interests of other social scientists working on projects relating to security threats.

The workshop is open to all early career researchers (whether or not CREST funded).

Registration for the ECR event will be via the online conference registration form. A notification will be sent out when registration opens.

Monday 9th July:
12 noon – Lunch and registration
1300 – 1700 – Workshop
1930 – ECR social evening, details to be confirmed

Tuesday 10th July:
0900 – 1200 noon – Workshop
12.00 – BASS Conference starts

Visit the CREST website at for more information.

Welcome to CREST!

Dr Karena Avedissian, Research Assistant, University of Birmingham

We welcome our latest CREST associate Dr Karena Avedissian. Karena joins the Actors and Narratives programme, led by Cerwyn Moore, to research hostile actors and networks, state threats, and extremist narratives.

Karena is a political scientist, specialising in social movements, new media, civil society and governance in the former Soviet Union, with an area focus on Russia and the Caucasus.

Her PhD research focused on social movements in the North Caucasus, where she conducted fieldwork. She has published on digital authoritarianism (2016) and is currently working on a monograph about the propaganda of Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

She has provided consulting services for Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center, Freedom House, and Transparency International, and her writing has been featured in the Guardian, Open Democracy, and Transitions Online. From 2015 to 2017, she held the post of Research Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Armenian Studies.

Out and about

A Sikh perspective
Dr Jasjit Singh discusses his research into Sikh radicalisation in Britain on KTV.

Terrorist financing streams 

Professor Nicholas Ryder was invited by NATO and its Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism to give a lecture on counter-terrorist financing to a wide range of military officials and representatives of NATO (Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday 13th February 2018). The aim of this lecture was to provide a summary of the findings of research conducted for the CREST, to highlight the threat posed by cheap acts of terrorism and to identify the funding streams used by ISIS.

CREST on film

CREST YouTube Channel
Watch CREST researchers talk about their topic of study

Last year we uploaded several videos of our researchers, talking about their studies, to our YouTube channel. These videos are another way to the share our fantastic CREST-funded research on security threats.

A year on and we catch up with familiar faces on their latest findings and where their research is headed, as well as introduce some of our new commissioned research. You can watch all the videos here.

Kristoffer Geyer
How can we predict personality from digital traces?
Watch Kristoffer Geyer talk about his CREST funded research here.
Conference application reminder

Subscribe to the CREST channel!

DON’T FORGET to subscribe to our channel so you don’t have to manually search for new videos we upload.

We encourage you to share these videos, which you can also view on our website here.

All of our videos are available under Creative Commons licence, which means you are free to share but please attribute by linking back to our youtube channel and website.

Don’t forget to submit your applications to BASS18!

There are a number of different formats for presenting your research:

  • Twenty-minute papers
  • Posters
  • 5-minute lightening talks on emerging research

Proposals for papers, posters and lightening talks should be made using our submission application form (see here). They should be submitted to by Sunday 18th March.

A limited number of small bursaries are available for doctoral students and unemployed or hourly-paid researchers. See here for more information.

Bursaries: Monday 14th May, 2018 (0900 UK time)
Proposals: Sunday 18th March, 2018

If you have questions about these forms or how to submit, please get in touch via our contact us page.

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