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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 for the minor to be accepted to this course.


The course is aimed at acquiring analytic research methods and practical skills that prepare students for their application in the context of this minor program. 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 practicing one’s specific role in research during a research project (for example playing devil’s advocate and Analysis by Competing Hypotheses).
During the first part of the course, different guest lecturers with a background in the academic and intelligence community will teach students about their practical experience with intelligence research. In the second part, one will acquire insight in working methods and procedures. 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 compare different ways of pre-employment screening and to reason what method is preferred in regard to the alpha- and beta chance;
  2. The students 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;
  3. The students is able to formulate a threat-related research questions and to design a research to answer this question;
  4. The student is able to compare different analysis techniques to each other and to analyze what techniques are most suitable for the above mentioned research questions;
  5. The student is able to name different qualitative analysis techniques used in intelligence research, and compare these techniques;
  6. The student is able to compose a research questions and able to answer this question;
  7. The student is able to find relevant sources and to assess these sources on the basis of content and reliability;
  8. The student is able to give his or her fellow-student constructive feedback.


To be announced by OSC staff.

Mode of instruction

7 lectures of 3 hours
5 working group sessions of 3 hours
2 closing lectures of 3 hours

Attendance is obligatory.

Course Load

Component % Hours
Attendance Mandatory 42
Assignment 1 25% 30
Assignment 2 25% 30
Group assignment 50% 80
Presentation Mandatory 2
Reading and self-study* 96
Total 100% 280

*On the basis of reading approximately eight pages per hour.

Assessment method

Assignment 1 (25%)
Assignment 2 (25%)
Group assignment (50%)

Attendance is obligatory. Being absent more than once may lead to expulsion from the course.

The Course and Examination Regulation and the Rules and Regulation of the Board of Examiners will apply.



Reading list



Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


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


This course can only be taken as part of the minor Intelligence Studies.