Intelligence Studies Degree

This assignment is a research paper. This means you will choose a topic that is focused on intelligence (or be intelligence related and you explain how it is important to intelligence), identify your research sources, identify and apply a research method to your paper, and draft a paper that defends your main point/thesis.

As you’ve learned across the program, the field of intelligence studies is an interdisciplinary in that it incorporates elements important to economics, business, psychology, international relations, political science, criminal justice, security studies and more. The term “intelligence” can refer to both a product as well as a process, and a topic that is important to “intelligence” would be something that supports a particular requirement or mission. For example, “competitive” intelligence is often something that’s carried out to support the mission of businesses, whereas “sociocultural intelligence” focuses on understanding social and cultural principles of target areas in a manner to achieve the goals of a particular mission. Executive Order 12333 on United States Intelligence Activities further explains that the goals of United States intelligence in its official government capacity is geared towards assisting leaders make decisions specific to foreign, defense, and economic policies and the protection of the US national interest. However, it’s also important to keep in mind is that “intelligence” is also not limited to the confines of United States intelligence or the United States intelligence community for that matter – the world is MUCH bigger than that.


You must choose a topic from your area of concentration (mine is Geospatial Intelligence/Imagery intelligence) which is important to intelligence studies. You are free to choose any topic you are interested in or have wanted to investigate but haven’t been able to address.


Your paper must have a solid, pointed premise. A solid main point is a conclusion of the analysis, based on your research, that is reasoned and pointed. You cannot choose a main point which is obvious or self-evident (terrorism led to the war in Afghanistan or the lack of WMD in Iraq was an intelligence mistake). You must ask a research question, research, and draw a conclusion or answer to the question. Your research question should be stated as a declarative sentence in your introduction. That declarative statement is your premise or hypothesis. You must be specific, not vague or general.

You should be sure to have a thesis that addresses the topic you are focusing on and that this thesis is CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS. If you have any questions about your thesis you should ask them on the open discussion board for the class. It is OK to share your ideas and ask for feedback. Also, if necessary, you can ask me for input (though you are now expected to be able to develop your own theses and know that what your developing is a good thesis. Your thesis must be in the first paragraph or section of your paper.

You should also be sure to have section headings, a title page, incorporate references using the Turabian author-date format, have a corresponding “References” page, and incorporate page numbers and all the other elements of a professional paper.

Your paper should be 15-18 pages in length, double spaced, times new roman 12 point font, 1-inch margins on all 4 sides. You are welcome to use graphs and charts and maps, etc., provided they add new information and support your paper. You should have a title page and a reference list (neither of which count towards the assignments total page count).

You should strive for 12+ references (which shouldn’t be difficult given all the reading you’ve done in your program). Be sure that your selection of sources gives you balance, that they are credible and reliable, and accurate. To help you determine the appropriateness of a source, please refer to the CRAAP worksheet below.

All research papers have assumptions. These establish the boundaries of the problem, exclude difficult variables, and provide a firm starting point. While it is not necessary to have a separate section for assumptions, it is necessary that you identify them when you make them. (For instance, in an examination of extremist group behavior you might note that one of your assumptions is that all the members of the group agree with how its goals are being carried out.)

Don’t do it. If you want to build upon the idea you’ve written about previously you need to let me know in advance and you also need to move your prior work forward. At no time (unless you receive prior consent from me) should you copy and paste sections of your prior course work into this paper. You must work on a topic that you’ve not worked on in the past, though you can build from your learning throughout your degree coursework. You must be attentive to quotes both direct and indirect, a refresher on writing style and Turabian referencing can be found in the course overview section of this class. Please note that at this level of your academic career, it’s assumed that you have learned how to incorporate references properly. I know this isn’t anything new for you at this point but based on the experience I need to emphasize that plagiarism will result in an F.