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Qualitative Analysis Techniques for Intelligence Studies


Admission requirements

This course is designed for the minor Intelligence Studies. It is not possible to follow single courses of this minor. You need to be enrolled in Usis for the minor to be accepted to this course. There are 180 places open for registration, on a first come first serve basis, where LDE students are given priority.

This course is also open for inbound exchange students if they wish to take the entire minor Intelligence Studies; it is not possible to take single courses from this minor. Exchange students must be admitted by the FGGA International Office prior to the start of the minor; priority will be given to direct exchange partners of FGGA. For more information about the application procedure for exchange students, please contact the FGGA International Office at


The course is aimed at acquiring analytic research methods and practical skills that prepare students for their application in the context of this minor programme. We will respond to the known methods and techniques taught at several faculties, and amplify them. Also, these methods and techniques are now being applied in the context of the intelligence practice.
The students that aim at a career in this field will get acquainted with methods and techniques that are common within the intelligence community.

A few aspects will get special attention during this course. First of all, methodological insights are placed in an interdisciplinary perspective. Moreover, attention will be paid to the characteristics of the applied sciences or applied research. Secondly, a case will be discussed on a step-by-step basis. The case will be exemplary for the content of intelligence questions, namely: key information is hard to obtain and ‘noise’ and speculation ought to be filtered out of the sources that are available.

The goals of the course are twofold: training of analytic skills and practising one’s specific role in research during a research project (for example playing devil’s advocate and Analysis by Competing Hypotheses).

This course is different from other methodological skills courses because it is especially developed for intelligence research, with special attention to the role of the absence of data, and the possibility of deception.

Course objectives

  1. The student is able to define the alpha chance and beta chance and the differences between these two chances and to reason why these chances are important to intelligence research;
  2. The student is able to translate intelligence requirements into a correct research question, and able to answer this question;
  3. The student is able to identify data sources relevant to the problem and to assess these sources on the basis of content and reliability;
  4. The student is able to explain and apply different analysis techniques used in intelligence research;
  5. The student is able to draft and present findings and key judgements in a structured way
  6. The student is able to give his or her fellow-student constructive feedback.


On the right side of the programme front page you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace

Mode of instruction

8 lectures of 3 hours.
6 working group sessions of 3 hours

Participation in lectures, discussions and exercises is required in order to obtain a grade. One lecture may be missed. Being absent more than once may lead to expulsion from the course.

Assessment method

OSINT individual assignment (10%)

  • 10% of total grade

  • Grade needs to be >5.5 to pass the course

  • Resit possible

  • Resit will take the same form

OSINT group assignment (30%)

  • 30% of total grade

  • Grade needs to be >5.5 to pass the course

  • Resit possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Research assignment individual (30%)

  • 30% of total grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated

Research assignment group (20%)

  • 20% of total grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated

Research assignment TL/DA (10%)

  • 10% of total grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade must be compensated

Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Brightspace.

Late hand in penalty: 1 minus per day, and after three days we do not accept the assignment any longer.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

The Course and Examination Regulation Security Studies and the Rules and Regulation of the Board of Examiners of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs apply.

Reading list



Registration via MyStudymap or uSis is possible from TBA after registration for the entire minor.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course. Furthermore, announcements and modifications will be communicated via Brightspace. Students have the responsibility to stay informed and are thus advised to regularly check Brightspace for updates.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis.


Ms. W.J.M. Aerdts LL.M MA


This course can only be taken as part of the minor Intelligence Studies.
All sessions will be in English. Exams and assignments need to be written in English.
Resits will take place in January 2025