Scientific Methods of Inquiry for Intelligence Analysis, (Second Edition)

 by Hank Prunckun. Rowman & Littlefield: New York, 2015. 384 pp, $53.00 softcover. ISBN 978-1-4422-2432-2.

Scientific Methods of Inquiry for Intelligence Analysis deals with the analytical skills required for undertaking intelligence work. Post 9/11, the secret missions carried out by the intelligence agencies have been increased in complexity, number, and size. Prunckun’s text provides a systematic methodology needed for intelligent analysts to set up an inquiry and analyze the vast amount of data.

This second edition is not simply a republication, but a revision and inclusion of new topics on target profiles, tactical assessments, open sources of information, content analysis of qualitative data, and more. The theoretical aspect, such as the function, structure, and operational methods of intelligence is covered side-by-side within all twenty-two chapters.

Prunckun deals with the scientific methods of inquiry of intelligence analysis in this book, yet the scope of this text is slightly different from other works on intelligence analysis currently available. For example, Walsh’s Intelligence and Intelligence Analysis (2011) seeks to answer what is intelligence; what makes intelligence practice effective; and is there a discipline of intelligence? However, both Walsh and Prunckun address applying intelligence, understanding its structures and how this field has developed as a discipline post-9/11 in detail. A more focused work, though limited in scope, is Ronczkowski’s Terrorism and Organized Hate Crime (2012), which provides an insight to intelligence gathering, analysis, and investigations.

In comparing Walsh and Ronczkowski’s texts with Prunckun’s book on intelligence analysis, one would say that Prunckun’s book is less focused and more general in its scope. It can be understood by research scholars in humanities & social sciences as well as useful to the intelligence community, whereas Walsh and Ronczkowski wrote for more specific and specialized readers.

Many chapters in Prunckun’s book, including The Scientific Method of Inquiry (Ch. 4); Idea Generation and Conceptualization (Ch. 6); Unobtrusive Data Collection (Ch. 7); Content Analysis of Qualitative Data (Ch. 10); Qualitative Analytics (Ch. 11); Quantitative Analytics (Ch.16); Displaying Information in Figures and Tables (Ch. 17); and Decision Support Analysis (Ch. 20) can be used for general research purposes as they covered scientific methods for inquiry. The one major shortcoming of this book is that chapters related to general research are not supplemented with examples bearing intelligence data and analysis.

Finally, the claim made by the author that “the book comprises twenty-two unique topics” is bit misleading (p. xii) in this reviewer’s opinion. However, Prunckun’s text provides a systematic exploration of the theoretical concepts within the intelligence discipline, and thereby is a useful read for scholars and practitioners working in a variety of intelligence settings.


Ronczkowski, Michael. Terrorism and Organized Hate Crime: Intelligence Gathering, Analysis, and Investigations. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press, 2004.

Walsh, Patrick F. Intelligence and Intelligence Analysis. New York, NY: Routledge, 2011.

Reviewed by

Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi, PhD
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Languages & Literature
College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra
Jammu & Kashmir, INDIA 182 320