Intelligence Techniques and Tradecraft

Module code: PL7541

Module co-ordinator: Dr David Strachan-Morris

Module Outline

This module is divided into two sections. In the first section students will look at the main methods by which intelligence is collected – open sources, human sources, and signals intelligence – to understand the capabilities and limitations of each. This section introduces the concept of ‘big data’ and examines the challenges and opportunities for intelligence when agencies are presented with the vast amounts of information now available through the use of technology. In the second section students will study the various methodologies of intelligence analysis, including structured analytical techniques and hypothesis generation, to develop a critical understanding of their relative strengths and weaknesses. This section also covers predictive analysis and forecasting, both of which are key elements of intelligence products. Students will also examine the crucial relationship between analysts and decision makers, and consider the question of ‘politicisation’ of intelligence.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching will be delivered through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – Blackboard - this allows for a range of innovative and engaging teaching techniques to be used such as online presentations, podcasts, interactive message boards and Wikis, as well as one-to-one contact through conventional channels.


  • Journal article analysis (20%)
  • Essay (80%)