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Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis

Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis

Third Edition

Foreword by John McLaughlin

December 2019 | 384 pages | CQ Press
“Excellent publication for the study of intelligence analysis, structured analytical techniques and their application in this increasingly dangerous environment. A must read for anyone entering the intelligence community as an analyst, practitioner, stakeholder and leader.”
—Charles E. Wilson, University of Detroit Mercy

The Third Edition of Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis showcases sixty-six structured analytic techniques—nine new to this edition—that represent the most current best practices in intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and business analysis. With more depth, detail, and utility than existing handbooks, each technique is clearly and systematically explained. Logically organized and richly illustrated, and with spiral binding and tabs that separate techniques into categories, this book is an easy-to-use, comprehensive reference.

Foreword by John McLaughlin
Chapter 1 • Introduction and Overview
1.1 Our Vision

1.2 Role of Structured Analytic Techniques

1.3 History of Structured Analytic Techniques

1.4 The Expanding Use of Structured Analytic Techniques

1.5 Selection of Techniques for This Book

1.6 Quick Overview of Chapters

Chapter 2 • The Role of Structured Techniques
2.1 Two Types of Thinking

2.2 Developing a Taxonomy of Structured Analytic Techniques

2.3 Dealing with Cognitive Limitations

2.4 Matching Cognitive Limitations to Structured Techniques

2.5 Combating Digital Disinformation

Chapter 3 • Choosing the Right Technique
3.1 The Six Families

3.2 Core Techniques

3.3 Selecting the Right Technique

3.4 Projects Using Multiple Techniques

3.5 Common Errors in Selecting Techniques

3.6 Making a Habit of Using Structured Techniques

Chapter 4 • Practitioner’s Guide to Collaboration
4.1 Social Networks and Analytic Teams

4.2 Dividing the Work

4.3 Value of Collaborative Processes

4.4 Common Pitfalls with Small Groups

4.5 Benefiting from Diversity

4.6 Advocacy versus Objective Inquiry

4.7 Leadership and Training

Chapter 5 • Getting Organized
5.1 Sorting

5.2 Ranking, Scoring, and Prioritizing

5.3 Matrices

5.4 Process Maps

5.5 Gantt Charts

Chapter 6 • Exploration Techniques
6.1 Simple Brainstorming

6.2 Cluster Brainstorming

6.3 Nominal Group Technique

6.4 Circleboarding™

6.5 Starbursting

6.6 Mind Maps and Concept Maps

6.7 Venn Analysis

6.8 Network Analysis

Chapter 7 • Diagnostic Techniques
7.1 Key Assumptions Check

7.2 Chronologies and Timelines

7.3 Cross-Impact Matrix

7.4 Multiple Hypothesis Generation

7.5 Diagnostic Reasoning

7.6 Analysis of Competing Hypotheses

7.7 Inconsistencies Finder™

7.8 Deception Detection

7.9 Argument Mapping

Chapter 8 • Reframing Techniques
8.1 Cause and Effect Techniques

8.2 Challenge Analysis Techniques

8.3 Conflict Management Techniques

Chapter 9 • Foresight Techniques
9.1 Key Drivers Generation™

9.2 Key Uncertainties Finder™

9.3 Reversing Assumptions

9.4 Simple Scenarios

9.5 Cone of Plausibility

9.6 Alternative Futures Analysis

9.7 Multiple Scenarios Generation

9.8 Morphological Analysis

9.9 Counterfactual Reasoning

9.10 Analysis by Contrasting Narratives

9.11 Indicators Generation, Validation, and Evaluation

Chapter 10 • Decision Support Techniques
10.1 Opportunities Incubator™

10.2 Bowtie Analysis

10.3 Impact Matrix

10.4 SWOT Analysis

10.5 Critical Path Analysis

10.6 Decision Trees

10.7 Decision Matrix

10.8 Force Field Analysis

10.9 Pros-Cons-Faults-and-Fixes

10.10 Complexity Manager

Chapter 11 • The Future of Structured Analytic Techniques
11.1 Limits of Empirical Analysis

11.2 Purpose of Structured Techniques

11.3 Projecting the Trajectory of Structured Techniques

11.4 Role of Structured Techniques in 2030


“This is one of the rare textbooks extant that succeed brilliantly in solving the basic dilemma of every textbook: to be accessible to the novice and at the same time exact in the details. It does so by following the identical text structure for each of the techniques it discusses. As a consequence, it is at the same time a textbook and a work of reference.”

Christian Dayé
Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria

“An accessible explanation of structured analytic techniques that will help students, academics and intelligence analysts to produce better research.”

Dr. Antony Field
California State University San Bernardino

Structured Analytical Techniques by Heuer and Pherson provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the analytical tools used by intelligence professionals, in order to overcome cognitive biases and learn to solve problems collaboratively.”

Richard J. Kilroy, Jr.
Coastal Carolina University

“Heuer and Pherson’s Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis is a comprehensive and accessibly written text that will be of interest to both novices and professionals alike. Its comprehensive coverage of analytical techniques, and the analytical process, make this work an essential reading for students of intelligence analysis.”

Christopher K. Lamont
University of Groningen

“Excellent publication for the study of intelligence analysis, structured analytical techniques and their application in this increasingly dangerous environment. A must read for anyone entering the intelligence community as an analyst, practitioner, stakeholder and leader.”

Charles E. Wilson
University of Detroit Mercy
Key features
  • Nine new techniques—Analysis by Contrasting Narratives, Counterfactual Reasoning, Bowtie Analysis, Critical Path Analysis, Inconsistencies Finder™, Key Uncertainties Finder™, Key Drivers Generation™, Reversing Assumptions, and Opportunities Incubator™—have been added to improve the quality and impact of the reader’s analysis 

  • New strategies for combatting digital disinformation such as fake news prepare readers for emerging concerns in intelligence analysis. 

  • Two new graphics showcasing how to select the right technique illustrate helpful advice on which techniques are most appropriate for a specific analytic task and a timeline showing when to apply the technique.

  • A reorganization of the techniques into six families that track the analytic production process make it easier for analysts to quickly find the technique he/she would like to use.  

  • All links are live and new references have been added that analysts can use to find software products and background materials relating to a particular technique.



  • 66 structured techniques provide readers with the best practices in intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and business analysis. 

  • Spiral binding and tabs separate techniques into families, making it easy for readers to quickly reference the technique he/she would like to use. 

  • Each technique is clearly and systematically explained: when to use it, the value added, the method, potential pitfalls, its relationship to other techniques, its origins, and examples of how it can be used. 

  • Lists of the best techniques for mitigating the impact of cognitive biases, missapplied heuristics, and intuitive traps are included. 

Sage College Publishing

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