Analytic Investigations (Advanced Training)
3.9 (9 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
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Analytic Investigations (Advanced Training)

Beyond the Association Matrix (RFFlow Professional Flowcharting Application)
3.9 (9 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
44 students enrolled
Created by Eugene Matthews
Last updated 6/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $27.99 Original price: $39.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 8 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of this course you will know what Link Analysis Charts are, and how to use them.
  • By the end of this course you will know how to generate Link Analysis Charts using an Association Matrix.
  • By the end of this course you will know how to use the RFFlow Professional Flowcharting application to Auto-Generated an Association Matrix and a Link Analysis Chart.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to download and install a free trial version of the RFFlow Professional Flowcharting application from the RFFlow website.
  • Students are encouraged to review the previous Analytic Investigation courses in this series before beginning this training.

I designed this course for the experienced professional. It is a companion to the previous analytic training courses in this series, and will leverage the knowledge and skills you have already developed.
We begin with a brief overview of basic analytics, before diving into the advanced training where you will how to convert an Association Matrix (AM) into a Link Analysis Chart.

I will walk you through the process of converting a matrix into a Link Analysis chart which, a) does not require any software, and b) can be completed by hand in without any special tools. I then give you a detailed explanation and walk-through training on the RFFlow Professional Flowcharting application.

RFFlow is one of the most multifaceted, robust, and inexpensive analytic applications available on the market today. It is used by thousands of analysts and investigators in law enforcement, intelligence and other agencies, to graphically depict investigative progress and results. When combined with previous analytic training, you can expect to see immediate results for your investigative efforts!

You can download your free trial version of RFFlow to use during and after the course by visiting the RFFlow homepage. 

Who this course is for:
  • This course is designed for analysts with some Analytic Investigative training or experience, as it draws on previous basic knowledge to apply in an advanced manner.
Course content
Expand all 14 lectures 01:08:33
+ Introduction
9 lectures 17:10

Welcome to analytic investigations advanced training 1. If you’re ready to take what you already know to the next level, this is the course for you.

I’m your instructor Dr. Matthews and by the end of this course you will know what Link Analysis Charts are, and how to generate them from an Association Matrix.

You’ll also get training on how to use the Analytic Investigative software, RFFlow professional flow charting, to create presentation ready Link analysis charts.

To maximize your learning, you will want to download your own copy of the RFFlow application, if you don’t already have it.

From your favorite web browser simply search for or RFFlow; then download and install the application.

Running RFFlow in the background as you go through the training is a great way to learn as you go.

Once you’re ready – select continue or next and we’ll get started.

Preview 00:58

As a review – the Association Matrix begins by first identifying the Entities of Interest to the investigation. Once they’ve been identified, we then place them on the association matrix

Preview 03:44

Similar to the association matrix there are a few generally recognized and commonly used symbols applied in the link diagram. While you may consider enhancing your symbols later – it’s helpful to have the basics down before you do.

People are represented as circles. Closed circles with solid lines indicate known individuals, while a dotted or dashed circle would indicate a suspected or unconfirmed individual or alias.

Non-people, businesses, organizations, property, etc., are represented by Squares (or rectangles). Similarly, solid lines indicate known entities and dotted or dashed lines indicate suspected, or unconfirmed.

A solid line represents a known or confirmed association or connection, while a dotted or dashed line indicates a weak, suspected or unconfirmed association between entities of interest.

I’ll provide some enhancements to these basic symbols, but to begin with – these four are sufficient to graphically represent the information enrolled in an Association Matrix.

Preview 02:41

You will recall that the circle represents an individual, so a solid line linking two circles represents two entities of interest strongly believe to be associated. Sometimes referred to as a hard link.

Similarly a dotted or dashed line linking two circles represents two entities of interest suspected to be associated, or a soft link.

The square or rectangle represents a non-individual, organization, building, vehicle, etc., and a circle within a square or rectangle indicates a key individual, owner, leader or significant person to the organization, building, vehicle, etc.

Link Symbols cont'
Now that you have a solid understanding of how to translate symbols from the association matrix into symbols for a link diagram, the next phase is to convert the association matrix into the rough draft link diagram.
Convert the Association Matrix into the Rough Draft Link Diagram
1 question

Surveillance Report Summary

Your office received a report from an anonymous source that stated Edward WHITE was involved in importation of stolen weapons from Mexico through Texas to distributors who transport the weapons elsewhere. Your liaison officer places a call to El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). EPIC files contain a case from 2017 in which the El Paso Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) office investigated Edward WHITE for alleged smuggling of automatic weapons. The source alleged WHITE would receive payments for the weapons through various online services and would notify distributors where to collect the weapons in Texas once he verified the payments. The source did not know whether any of White’s customers ever met with him face to face, and there was no indication that White ever used the same collection points more than once. The investigation become inactive when the source reporting the information disappeared.

Information from a reliable informant indicated WHITE used a warehouse as a temporary storage facility for weapons, from time to time before moving them to various collection points.

Although there was insufficient probable cause to obtain a search warrant, your office conducted surveillance of the warehouse in question.

Surveillance reports of the warehouse over a three-month period identified several vehicles observed entering and leaving WHITE’s warehouse, at various times and on various days. The license plates were recorded by video as were partial images of the drivers, and the information was run through the Nation Crime Information Center which disclosed the following registered vehicle owners.

Sandy CARTER, Paul DWIGHT, James FARMER, Oscar HEBERT, and Don SIMS. Surveillance confirmed FARMER and HEBERT as the drivers of the vehicles registered to them.

A Criminal Information Records check disclosed FARMER and HEBERT had extensive criminal histories including previous arrests for possession of stolen property.

A Criminal Information Records check was conducted on all the registered owners of the observed vehicles, but no other criminal information was found.

An Association Matrix was constructed based on the information developed thus far in the investigation.

Practical Exercise Scenario 1: Surveillance Report Summary

Based on the information from the Surveillance Report Summary, an Association Matrix was generate. Your task is to use the association matrix to construct a draft link analysis chart. Once you’ve completed your draft link analysis chart, select continue and compare your results with the PE solution.

It’s important to recognize that your draft results may vary slightly from the PE solution depending on where you began your chart.

Practical Exercise Association Matrix

As a reminder this is a DRAFT link analysis chart, generated from the information available from the Association Matrix. It is not your final product. That said – your results should look similar to what you see here. Here are some things worth noting:

White is inside the warehouse as an indicator that he is a significant person in that regard.

The registered vehicles have a strong connection to the warehouse and a weak connection to the Distributors.

The weapons have a strong connection to the warehouse as well as to the distributors and White – but there is no connection to the registered vehicles.

The Information block contains some basic information regarding the Agency, Case Number, Case Analyst, and date /time the chart was prepared.

Remember that this information is a way to memorialize your analytic efforts and support actions that were or were not taken based on the information available at a given time/date. At some point there is a strong likelihood that someone will audit or review the investigative actions, and recording every time a new chart was generated is one way of keeping the record straight.

Caution: It’s important that the only information that is portrayed in your link chart is the information you have. No assumptions, no inferences or speculations, just the facts. In this way you keep your analysis clear of bias and distractions.

From this draft chart it is fairly easy to identify where the “center of gravity” or central entities of interests are – as well as where the weak or unsubstantiated areas are.

From this point you may identify areas where you may want to revise and update your investigative plan. The final step in this process is to minimize the crossed links and clean up your chart.

Preview 04:05

Using the Association Matrix generate a draft link diagram. Once you’ve completed your link diagram, compare your results with the PE solution. Remember that your draft results may vary slightly from the PE solution.

Practical Exercise 2

Does your solution look similar? Note that in this solution I’ve already minimized the crossed links.

Practical Exercise 2 solution
+ Introduction to RFFLow and the Automated Association Matrix and Link Charts
5 lectures 47:30

RFFlow is a professional flowcharting application and you can download your free trail copy at

In this section of the training you will learn basics of the application as well as how to access and use the RF Matrix tool to auto-generate an association matrix.

You will also learn how to edit and print the association matrix.

Next you will learn how to auto-generate a link analysis chart using the association matrix.

You will also learn how to edit, modify, and print the link analysis chart.

Finally, you’ll learn some of the advanced features regarding exporting a link analysis chart into a PowerPoint presentation, and maintaining a link for dynamic updates. So let’s get started.

Preview 01:03
RFFlow home screen
RFFlow and the Association Matrix
RFFlow and automated Link Charts

Congratulations! Now that you’ve completed your advanced analytic training and become familiar with how to use the functions of the RFFlow application, I encourage you to start every investigation, no matter how small, using the analytic training you’ve received. The best way to improve is with continuous use and practice!

So, where do you go from here – what are your next steps?

I recommend you look for a closed, unsolved investigation within your unit or organization. Generate an Entities of Interest worksheet and an Association Matrix.

These two powerful tools will help clarify what information you have to work with and what information you need to locate or identify.

From there, you can create an Investigative Plan and identify where you will focus your investigative efforts.

Thereafter, you can decide when to generate your link analysis chart to create graphic representation of your analytic progress. Remember to date/time stamp each of your charts to maintain a transparent record of your activities.

The reason I recommend a closed case, if possible, is because you will be able to start by organizing all the available information and then be better able to tell what might be missing. What questions still needed to be answered. Links, associations, and relationships between entities of interest that need to be confirmed, verified, or refuted. If you happen to be working on your own or are simply developing your professional analytic skills, you might consider checking out the digital archives in your area for unsolved mysteries and use the examination of the available information to hone your analytic skills.

The bottom line is now you have a skill-set and tools that the average person does not, what better time than now to put them to use!

Best wishes on your analytic investigations, and I’ll see you online.
Dr. Matthews

Congratulations and Next Steps