Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Structured Analytic Techniques


I'm reading a great book by Richards Heuer and Randolph Pherson on Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis.

From the Amazon product description:

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.

Although this book is mostly targeted at Intelligence professionals, it provides some fantastic techniques which can be utilised by analysts in all fields. Well worth a read.