Strategic Intelligence

The student is required to design a case study on a topic relevant to this course. The syllabus and weekly lessons offer the following list of topics that you can use to generate topic ideas.
Below is the list of  approved topic ideas:

Overview & Structure of the National Intelligence Organizations
The Intelligence Cycle
History of the Intelligence Community
Intelligence Oversight
Law and Ethics
Public and Private Partnership in Intelligence
Future Challenges within the IC

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Assignment 1: Research Proposal

The goal of the first assignment is to present a clear research project.  The research proposal must be 4-5 pages (do not exceed 5 pages of text) in length not including title page, abstract, and reference list.

In the research proposal, the student will:

1) Present the research problem that will be assessed and provide contextual information that helps demonstrate an understanding of the nature of the problem.

2) Clearly state a single SPECIFIC and academically rigorous research question and hypothesis. [Note – ONE academically rich research question].

3) Explain why this case study is important to investigate. What can be learned from this situation? How the knowledge gained through the research will broaden the research community’s understanding of the topic.

4) Provide a preliminary literature review the includes at least 8 preliminary sources, 6 of which must be from peer-reviewed journals. The literature review will discuss the key concepts, theories, and paradigms related to the issue (case study) by grouping the material in relevant categories.  The literature review will not be a simple listing of one article and then another article. The student is to use the Chicago citation method.  Please note there are two Chicago styles including the author-date style, and bibliography-notes style. Make sure the citation style is consistent throughout the paper.

5) Discuss the theoretical framework developed out of the literature review.  In this section, the student will summarize/synthesize some of the theories/models and concepts such as Grounded Theory, Rational Choice Theory, or Game Theory to assess the research question.

6) Discuss the research design (methodology) that will be used to assess the central research question.  Also, the student will state a clear and concise research hypothesis based on the literature review.

Paper Format: The proposal must include a title page, abstract, introduction, initial literature review, theoretical framework, research design, conclusion, and reference page.  The title page, abstract and reference page are not part of the 4-to-5-page length.  The paper will have 1-inch borders on all four sides, use a Times New Roman 12-point font, be double line spaced, and not have an extra line spacing between paragraphs (no triple line spacing). The student may need to turn this off function in WORD by going to paragraph settings and select don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style. Since this is an INTL course the student must use the Chicago parenthetical citation style for the references page.


The main text of the paper must be in an essay format.  Do not use an outline format or a bullet list format to present the research proposal.  The research proposal must include the sections listed below.

Title Page: The title page clearly articulates the purpose of the paper in as few words as possible.  See the example below.

(Title of Paper)

Submitted to (Course Instructor)


American Public University System


(Student Name)

In Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirement for INTL 501 Strategic Intelligence

(Month Year)

American Public University System

Charles Town, WV
Abstract: The abstract conveys the research topic, notes the method in use, and articulates the argument behind the study in 150 words or less.

Introduction. The introduction clearly and concisely conveys the area, topic, and direction of the research. It shows how the study generally fits into the current body of knowledge. The research problem and the statement of significance or research question seeks to clearly establishes the relevance of the case study within intelligence studies. Below are key components of the introduction.

Provide a clear general research question and context leading to a specific, clear, and concise research question.
Provide background and contextual material justifying why the student is studying this research topic.
If the student is having trouble developing a good academically rigorous research question, please review the following pages on from the Trefrey Library link to SAGE Research Methods.
This resource supports graduate research by providing material to guide users through every step of the research process, including video tutorials showing research in action. There are also “Little Green Books” for quantitative research and “Little Blue Books” for qualitative research application.  These short books address advanced topics such as Meta-Analysis, Survey Questions, Experimental Design. Interviews, Case Studies, and, Qualitative Data Analysis.

Preliminary Literature Review and Theoretical Framework. The preliminary literature review places the proposed study within the context of the current body of knowledge and justifies the direction the study aims to take. The narrative integrates critical and logical detail from the peer-reviewed literature. The theoretical framework section develops the theories or models to be used in the study. Below are the key components of the preliminary literature review and theoretical framework.

Provide a general discussion that groups the literature identified in relation to the research question to include the central concepts, theories, and paradigms relevant to the research topic.
The literature review is not a simple listing of one article and then another article.
Discuss the any gaps in the literature and how this study will help fill some of those gaps.
Provide a theoretical framework based on the literature review that summarizes/synthesizes some of the theories/models and concepts used to assess the research question.
If you have questions about theoretical frameworks, see the following link: Theoretical Frameworks)
Research Design.  The student will discuss the logic by which the study will be carried out in order to answer the research question. A short, non-technical summary of the strategy will be provided. The statement of the research strategy helps to orient the reader and smoothly leads to a description of the design. The design discussion clearly articulates how the strategy is to be implemented. The student will discuss the methods used to study/analysis the central research question. The student will state a clear and concise hypothesis.  Additionally, the student will discuss the data (quantitative or qualitative) used to assess the hypothesis, how the independent and dependent variables of the case study are operationalized, how the data will be collected, and analytic methods used to assess the research question, as covered in INTL/SSGS 500. Listed below are the components of the Research Design section.

Non-Technical introduction
Statement of the hypothesis
Identification and operationalization (measurement) of dependent and independent variables.
Sampling plan (i.e., study population and sampling procedures, if appropriate).
Data Collection/Sources (secondary literature, archives, interviews, surveys, etc.).
Summary of analysis procedures (pattern-matching, etc.).
Limitations of study and bias discussion.

Conclusions: The student will summarize the research proposal and include a discussion of the significance of the study and any potential ethical issues involved in the study and how these will be dealt with.
Reference List.  The reference list will provide an alphabetical listing of the sources cited in the paper.  The student must include a minimum of 8 sources of which 6 must be peer-reviewed. Since this is an INTL course, the prescribed format is Chicago Parenthetical/Reference List format. For more information on Strategic Intelligence see this:

Strategic Intelligence

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