Force Field Analysis is an advanced intelligence analysis technique that allows you to examine the various factors that influence an intelligence issue, and avoid unnecessary focus on one side of a problem or question. A critical thinking error is committed when we allow our bias to affect our analysis.
The first step is to define the problem. Obviously you should know this going in, but you have to get to the crux of the issue. Sometimes we get focused on the wrong issue, and you need to make sure your analysis focuses on the main problem to be solved.
For instance, your intelligence question might be to decide whether an individual is a spy (like in the case of Wen Ho Lee.)
Next, perform some brainstorming. Identify the main evidence for and against whether Wen Ho Lee being a spy, or not being a spy. As your investigation continues you’ll probably continue to add items to this list.
Then, you can take all your evidence and place it into a table, with arguments for and against on each side. Assign a weight to each one based on the strength, with 1 being the least powerful evidence and 5 being the most powerful.
Add up the strengths to see which side has the most powerful arguments to support them. If you note that two factors balance each other out (such as you have two pieces of equally conflicting information from unreliable sources) you may wish to strike those from the calculation.
Take a look at how changes in certain key pieces of evidence might affect the outcome. This is where Deception Detection and Premortem Analysis come in handy. A Key Assumptions Check is another technique you can use for this as well, to make sure you’re looking at the problem from all angles.
Finally, take a look at your completed chart. Make sure there are no information gaps that you need to explore and then complete your writeup in order to finish the Force Field Analysis.