Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Welcome to the blog for the Spring 2009 Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst College. Each week we will be taking a hard look at a particular technique used by analysts in the law enforcement, business or national security intelligence communities.

Students in this class are required to identify and summarize two "resources" on each technique before Tuesday of each week. Resources include primary and secondary sources of any kind on the particular technique we are studying. This includes, books, articles, case studies, websites, company profiles, etc.

The summaries, however, will focus on four main questions. Based on what is contained in the selected resource:
  • What does this technique do (or purport to do)?
  • What are its strengths?
  • What are its weaknesses?
  • What step-by-step actions should you take to use this method?

Obviously, not all of these questions will be answered in each of the resources the students find and summarize. However, the collected set of resources that all of the students find should, ideally, create a consistent series of answers to the four questions above.

Ideally. That is the operative word here. Anyone who has worked with a variety of intelligence analysis techniques knows that consistency is not necessarily their hallmark. My expectation is that we will learn as much (if not more) from those techniques that are poorly defined as we will from those whose definitions are clear, concise and consistent.

Let the learning begin!

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