Understanding Extremism in Scotland: Public Perceptions and Experiences

Published in July, Understanding Extremism in Scotland: Public Perceptions and Experiences is the first research to examine public perceptions of experiences of extremism though a mixed methods approach, combining both a large-scale survey and in-depth qualitative research in Scotland.

Ethics were a key consideration in the research design and practice on this hard-hitting topic. Diffley Partnership worked with the University St Andrews on the design, delivery, analysis and reporting. Academics from their renowned Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) brought their specialism to every aspect.

Research took place in 2022. Desk research was conducted firstly. Next, a survey of Scottish residents achieving 2,071 responses. This was followed by five online focus groups and individual interviews. In total, 26 research participants were included in these in-depth discussions.

This report is predominantly based on analysis of the data collected through the primary research, with additional context added, where relevant and available, from secondary sources.

Findings are grouped under:

  • Public understandings of extremism
  • Public views on existing definitions of extremism
  • Public experiences of extremism
  • Public views on the threat of extremism
  • Public opinions on tackling extremism

A series of considerations for Scottish Government are included in the report.

The research is part of a wider programme of work to improve understanding of extremism in Scotland. Complementary research has been commissioned and conducted by the Scottish Government to explore the understandings and experiences of stakeholders and public sector practitioners.