This book takes the relatively new concept of structured analytic techniques, defines its place in a taxonomy of analytic methods, and moves it a giant leap forward. It describes 50 techniques that are divided into eight categories. There are techniques for:
- Decomposition and Visualization
- Idea Generation
- Scenarios and Indicators
- Hypothesis Generation and Testing
- Cause and Effect
- Challenge Analysis
- Conflict Management
- Decision Support
Each structured technique involves a step-by-step process that externalizes an individual analyst s thinking in a manner that makes it readily apparent to others, thereby enabling it to be shared, built on, and easily critiqued by others. This structured and transparent process combined with the intuitive input of subject matter experts is expected to reduce the risk of analytic error.
Our current high tech, global environment increasingly requires collaboration between analysts with different areas of expertise and analysts representing different organizational perspectives. Structured analytic techniques are the ideal process for guiding the interaction of analysts within a small team or group. Each step in a technique prompts relevant discussion within the team, and such discussion generates and evaluates substantially more divergent information and more new ideas than a team that does not use a structured process.
By defining the domain of structured analytic techniques, providing a manual for using and teaching these techniques, and outlining procedures for evaluating and validating these techniques, this book lays a common ground for continuing improvement of how analysis is done. These techniques are especially needed in the field of intelligence analysis where analysts typically deal with incomplete, ambiguous and sometimes deceptive information. However, these practical tools for analysis are also useful in a wide variety of professions including law enforcement, medicine, finance, and business.