First principles of intelligence analysis: Theorising a model for secret research

Henry Prunckun

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Leveraging off of the author’s previously published research, this paper advances a set of first principles for a paradigm on intelligence analysis. The study used a grounded theory approach to explain a theoretical framework about “secret research.” Data were collected by means of a survey of the subject literature on intelligence, and thematic analysis was used to develop the theory’s propositions from these unstructured (i.e. qualitative) data. The resulting theory is a
system of propositions that is coexistent rather than being sequential. The theory’s six propositions state that intelligence research is: 1) conducted in secret, 2) identified within the intelligence cycle process so that data collection and analysis can be problem focused. In this regard, intelligence analysis can be 3) offensive as well as 4) defensive, but 5) it must be timely, and 6) its findings need to be defensible. The proposition of defensibility comprises seven research methodological axioms: 1) data must be valid and 2) reliable, and when possible, the research methods employed should use: 3) randomness, 4) experimental design; 5) pre- and post-tests, 6) inferential statistical tests, and 7) multiple measures of observing the data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
JournalSalus Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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