Intelligence the Role of Scientific Research Paper

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More and more deep analysis can clarify the internal dynamics of the matter being studied, and in the long run to prediction, known as estimation. The reason for intelligence analysis is to make known to a precise decision maker the necessary significance of selected target information. Analysts should start with established facts, apply specialist knowledge in order to produce plausible but less certain findings, and even predict when the forecast is appropriately qualified. Analysts should not, however, engage in fortune telling that has no foundation in fact (Heuer, 1999). Not only is it poor science to claim absolute truth, but it also leads to the kind of destructive and distrustful debate we've had in last decade about global warming. The history of science and technology suggests that such absolutism on both sides of a scientific debate doesn't often lead to practical solutions (Botkin, 2011).

In the arrangement of science there is one large group called the social sciences, or more lately the policy sciences. The policy sciences deal with the incorporation of principles identified by and personified in interpersonal relationships. Matching this definition in opposition to the definition of intelligence, it is quite clear that nothing in intelligence prohibits it from the group of policy sciences as one of their dedicated facets. The universal, comprehensive policy science principles or universal truths and laws are, then, related to intelligence. The underlying questions that must be looked at is what aspects of intelligence set it apart or differentiate it from some other kind of human activity, or interpersonal associations. The more one studies these questions, the more obvious it is that if one takes away the words official, secret, and covert from the definition, there is nothing done under the direction of intelligence that is not done in an equal or nearly identical way in the non-intelligence world. But these three modifiers are qualifying, rather than basic. With this philosophy it is very hard to see intelligence as an organization of related phenomenon so exact and divided that it must be treated as a separate science. Intelligence can be seen as a separate science, but should it be? If clearly related systems of phenomena, or developed sciences, can be extended to comprise intelligence, and if the distinguishing features of intelligence are more qualifying than basic, the development of a science of intelligence becomes somewhat unnecessary (Random, 1993).

To suggest that it is unnecessary and unreasonable to found a science of intelligence is not to rebuff the application of scientific methodology to intelligence, and particularly the acknowledgement and use of the principles of the social sciences valid to the phenomena of intelligence. Such a rebuff would discard reasonableness and scientific principle as a foundation for practice, and substitute insightful guesses and unanalyzed surmises. While irrational conduct of intelligence practice, like non-principled actions generally, may become skillful and may be victorious to the extent of attaining particular ends desired, as a rule it can be suggested only as a kind of short-cut in straightforward situations. When the situation is complex and the person is faced with multiple choices of action, dependence on non-principled behavior begins an unacceptably high level of likely error (Random, 1993).

For the intelligence officer to concern himself with scientific method and its function in the policy sciences and with the application of the principles and methods of the policy sciences to his work may seem to bring in complexity and inappropriateness into an already complicated business. It may seem hypothetical in the difficult sense of the word, which is not practical. Yet if he does not do this, he chooses non-principled, unreasonable activity patterns, and he has no place else to go to find the principles basic to his professional doings.

"Since World War II a great deal of progress has been made in finding sensible application for improved social science methodology and techniques, progress comparable in quality, if not in breadth and depth of application, to contemporary technical advances in physical science. While most of this progress in practical application has been in the military field, in use of weapons systems as distinguished from weaponry itself, a sub-discipline of physical science and technology, and in economics, there has been some attempt at application of the other policy sciences. However, there is a substantial technological lag in adapting new methods to some fields of endeavor that derive their principles from the policy sciences" (Random, 1993).

Intelligence seeks to illuminate the unknown. Almost by definition, intelligence analysis deals with highly ambiguous situations. It has been found that the greater the ambiguity of the stimuli, the greater the impact of expectations and pre-existing images on the perception of that stimuli. Thus, despite maximum striving for objectivity, the intelligence analyst's own preconceptions are likely to exert a greater impact on the analytical product than in other fields where an analyst is working with less ambiguous and less discordant information. Moreover, the intelligence analyst is among the first to look at new problems at an early stage when the evidence is very fuzzy indeed. The analyst then follows a problem as additional increments of evidence are received and the picture gradually clarifies -- as happened with test subjects in the experiment representing that initial contact to blurred stimuli interferes with precise perception even after more and better information becomes accessible. If the consequences of this experiment can be generalized to apply to intelligence analysts, the experiment suggests that an analyst who starts observing a possible problem situation at an early and uncertain stage is at a disadvantage as compared with others, such as policymakers, whose first contact may come at a later stage when more and better information is accessible (Heuer, 1999),

The reception of information in small amounts over time also allows assimilation of this information into the analyst's existing outlook. No one item of information may be adequate to prompt the analyst to change a previous outlook. The collective message intrinsic in many pieces of information may be noteworthy but is attenuated when this information is not looked at as a whole. The intelligence analyst functions in an environment that puts forth strong pressures for what is known as premature closure. Customer demand for interpretive analysis is greatest within two or three days after an event takes place. The system requires the intelligence analyst to come up with an almost immediate diagnosis before adequate hard information, and the broader background information that may be needed to gain perspective, become available to make probable a well-grounded judgment. This diagnosis can only be based upon the analyst's presumptions concerning how and why events usually transpire in a given society (Heuer, 1999),


A Compendium of Analytic Tradecraft Notes. (1997). Retrieved from

Botkin, D.B. (2011). Absolute Certainty Is Not Scientific. Retreived from

Clauser, J. (2008). An introduction to intelligence research and analysis. Lanham, Maryland:

The Scarecrow Press.

Halwes, T. (2000). The Myth of the Magical Scientific Method. Retrieved from

Heuer, R.J. (1999), Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Chapter 2. Perception: Why Can't

We See What Is There to Be Seen? Retrieved from

Michael, R.S. (2002). Inquiry & Scientific Method. Retrieved from

Prunckun, H. (2010). Handbook of Scientific Methods of Inquiry for Intelligence Analysis.

Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press.

Random, R.A. (1993). Intelligence as a Science. Retrieved from


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