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Structured Analytic Techniques – An Introduction

In this course, learn why it is critical to structure analysis to improve intelligence and how to apply several structured analytic techniques to aid in decision making.

  • Course Number

  • Self-Paced

About This Course

In this course, we’ll discuss why analysis and structuring are not the same thing, why the failure to consider alternatives is a common cause of flawed analysis, how structuring will help you organize the data you analyze and why there is no one method that will solve all your analytical woes. We’ll also explore the art and science of intelligence analysis, the differences between intuitive and structured approaches, system 1 and system 2 thinking, and how structuring can impact out thinking.

We’ll dedicate much time to discussing the troublesome instinctive mental traits—emotions that can overwhelm our power to reason: jumping to a conclusion, a hunch, and intuition; perceiving patterns where none exists; having biases that can lead to quick conclusions and reactions, sometimes at the expense of truth; finding explanations, which go along with our compulsion to see cause-and-effect relationships and other patterns; subconsciously misrepresenting evidence; and having the tendency to cling to false beliefs in the face of incontrovertible contradictory evidence by rationalizing away the disparity.

Lastly, we'll participate in some activities that may reveal these problematic proclivities in our thinking to help us avoid some common analytic missteps, and we'll wrap up the course by looking at a tangible example of what it means to structure analysis.


This course is intended for the new analyst who has little to no prior experience, yet who wants to develop the basic skills necessary to produce logically sound, descriptive intelligence analyses. More experienced intelligence analysts will find this an excellent refresher. The FedLearn Critical Thinking course is highly recommended as prequisite. A strong academic background, understanding of the scientific method, and an open mind will help learners perform well.

This course provides .8 CEUs. This course also aligns to the Defense Intelligence Agency Certified Defense All-Source Analyst certification body of dnowledge topic area 5 – structured analytic techniques.


Course Staff Image #1

Robert D. Folker Jr.

Rob Folker has over three decades of combat-tested military intelligence experience. Specifically, Rob has tactical, operational, and strategic expertise in intelligence analysis, surveillance, and reconnaissance; air, space, cyber, and special operations; and information warfare. He is a graduate and former instructor at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, served on the Checkmate Staff at the Pentagon, and completed a successful tour as a squadron commander before retiring from the Air Force.

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