This course is designed to provide you with the steps for writing a short analytic report. In addition, the course will offer tips for successful analytic writing and provide you with the opportunity to produce a short analytic report. The course is not, however, designed to teach you how to write. It is aimed at analysts seeking professional development in the field of intelligence or students interested in the field of intelligence.
At the end of this course, students will be able to:
You should not take this course if you cannot compose a thoughtful and well-structured paragraph that is exemplary in grammar. The course is not designed to teach you how to write or analyze information. The goal of the course is to provide you with tools to present your analysis in a clear and concise manner for Decisionmakers to use in a timely manner. You should take this course if you have an interest in being an analyst, enjoy research, or have a keen ability to analyze information. You will also need to know how to conduct research, think critically, analyze a problem, and have an effective mastery of writing in English.
We have designed the course to cover the following sections which will require that you write an analytic report and evaluate it using our provided rubric, then compare it against exemplary student work. The course guides you through the process and provides you with the format of a short analytic report in addition to tools for success.
The purpose of this course is not teach you how to write or analyze intelligence, it is however, designed to provide you with the necessary tools to construct an analytic report that will allow Decisionmakers to make timely decisions. Additionally, this course will often refer to intelligence analysis or, intelligence, which is defined by The Ridge School as a process, focused externally and using information from all available sources, that is designed to reduce the level of uncertainty for a decisionmaker. You may refer to www.theridgeschool.org if you are interested in further information regarding intelligence and methods used to analyze intelligence.
We will define a Short Analytic Report and provide you with a description of its purpose and uses.
Decisionmakers are always on a time crunch and need information immediately. They also don't want to read through pages of analysis which is why a SFAR can provide them with thorough analysis to make a decision in one page.
Below is a list of resources that may help you organize your research:
For more information regarding Mercyhurst University's courses on analytic methods, visit theridgeschool.org.
Before you being this lecture, be sure to review Words of Estimative Probability using the below link. The link will be a great guide for understanding WEPs. Always be sure to put your Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF).
Below is the format of a SFAR and should be followed precisely:
Use the attached PDF labeled SFAR Format to help with font styles, size, margins, and spacing.
Please note: Professor Welch is walking you through the process of writing a SFAR and in this lecture, he assumes that, in the writing process, you have written the report. However, this course has not yet required you to write a report. That will come in Section 5.
Mercyhurst University has designed an Analyst's Style Manual that you may refer to when forming your SFAR. The manual is listed under Creative Commons - Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 and can be viewed using the below link.
You will begin this lecture by self evaluating your written SFAR using the attached rubric. Then, compare your SFAR against the three attached SFARs.
How do you compare? Be sure to view the lecture titled Most Common Mistakes and How To Fix Them. The purpose of the examples and self assessment is to provide you with feedback on your SFAR.
To finish, make corrections based on your evaluations using the exemplary work and rubric. It is recommended that you share your work to receive additional feedback from peers within the course.
The Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University offers a bachelor of arts degree in intelligence studies, a master of science degree in applied intelligence, an online master of science degree in applied intelligence, as well as a new master of science degree in data science, and two graduate certificate programs that gives students the education they need to pursue a career as an analyst in national security, law enforcement or business sectors. The Institute for Intelligence Studies and Information Science brings together the students and faculty of the Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University to perform high quality, low cost, open source research and analysis for private businesses, institutions, and governmental agencies through grants, partnerships and contracts. The students and faculty make full use of the theoretical and applied principles taught by the Ridge School to present actionable information for the Institute's customers and clients. The Institute for Intelligence Studies and Information Science also leverages the expertise of the Ridge School faculty and subject-matter experts to offer a variety of standard and custom intelligence course development and training packages to clients.
Bill Welch is an instructor in the Mercyhurst University Department of Intelligence Studies. His primary focus in the department is teaching Intelligence Communication at the undergraduate and graduate level. He joined the Department in 2006 after receiving his Master of Science degree in Applied Intelligence from Mercyhurst University.
Welch earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Point Park University and worked as a reporter and city editor with the Erie (Pa.) Morning News and the Erie Times-News for 29 years.
Welch was also involved with the press arm of the Institute for Intelligence Studies. He is editor of The Analyst's Style Manual.