An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis

Edit Feb-2-15: The title of this post was updated to reflect the correct title of the book; the URL remains unchanged.

Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis
Introduction

This title, “Intelligence Research and Analysis” by Jerome Clauser is an excellent overview of the tools used in intelligence analysis and basic research. Intelligence analysis is the processing of raw data that has been collected into actionable information or intelligence.

Contents of “Intelligence Research and Analysis”

The book starts with a definition of intelligence analysis and goes over strategic intelligence, the “highest level” or broadest type of intelligence, as opposed to tactical or operational intelligence which can cover more local or regional situations.

The next two chapters explains the type and purpose of research, as well as why properly conducted research is key to the production of intelligence. In addition to covering the core competencies required by analysts (some of which include reasoning, accuracy, open-mindedness, skepticism, patience and imagination), the fundamentals of conducting research are also discussed.

Sampling, defining and validating hypotheses, operationalizing variables and other topics are outlined, in order to give the reader some information on which to begin laying out their research project. While it is covered in some detail, I got the impression that if I hadn’t previously taken statistics courses I would have had trouble with the speed in which this material goes; this book functions more as a handbook than as an instructional text in its own right.

After discussing the basics of research, the book moves on to planning a research project. This information is of use to anyone planning research, whether involving intelligence or not. Data collection is briefly discussed, although texts specific to this topic will likely be necessary to anyone who doesn’t already have sources in mind.

The above concepts take up approximately half the book, before moving on to analytical concepts, beginning with Chapter 7. After discussing induction and deduction, it moves on to classification and coding – two important steps in identifying preliminary conclusions.

Chapters 9 to 11 cover what I feel is the most valuable information of the book, the elements of statistics and quantitative techniques for analysis. The topics covered include (links, where they exist point to their relevant articles on this site):

Detailed Topic List

Statistical Topics

Analysis Topics

Other topics which receive some coverage in these chapters (that I feel are less important) include:

  • Terrain Profiling
  • Delphi Technique
  • Psychohistorical and Psycholingustic Analysis
  • Morphological Analysis

Conclusion

The final section of “Intelligence Research and Analysis” covers preparing an intelligence report and provides an example of an actual intelligence study. These sections are likely less relevant to individuals who aren’t working or studying in the fields of national security but may still have value.

All in all, the book is a fantastic overview for anyone interested in learning more about intelligence analysis.

Cite this article as: MacDonald, D.K., (2015), "An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis," retrieved on June 25, 2018 from http://dustinkmacdonald.com/an-introduction-to-intelligence-analysis-and-research/.
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