Researching National Security Intelligence

Multidisciplinary Approaches

Stephen Coulthart, Michael Landon-Murray, and Damien Van Puyvelde, Editors

"This is the first single volume exploration of intelligence studies methods. Inter-disciplinary and bringing together both scholars and practitioners, it is an important contribution and will have a major impact."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

Researchers in the rapidly growing field of intelligence studies face unique and difficult challenges ranging from finding and accessing data on secret activities, to sorting through the politics of intelligence successes and failures, to making sense of complex socio-organizational or psychological phenomena. The contributing authors to Researching National Security Intelligence survey the state of the field and demonstrate how incorporating multiple disciplines helps to generate high-quality, policy-relevant research. Following this approach, the volume provides a conceptual, empirical, and methodological toolkit for scholars and students informed by many disciplines: history, political science, public administration, psychology, communications, and journalism. This collection of essays written by an international group of scholars and practitioners propels intelligence studies forward by demonstrating its growing depth, by suggesting new pathways to the creation of knowledge, and by identifying how scholarship can enhance practice and accountability.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Pluralistic Approach to Intelligence Scholarship
Stephen Coulthart, Michael Landon-Murray, and Damien Van Puyvelde

Part I. Framing Intelligence Research

1. Framing the Challenges and Opportunities of Intelligence Studies Research
Mark Phythian

2. Confessions of an Intelligence Historian
John Ferris

Part II. Data Sources and the Study of National Security Intelligence

3. The Why, Who, and How of Using Qualitative Interviews to Research Intelligence Practices
Damien Van Puyvelde

4. The Use of Structured Behavioral Observation Systems to Address Research Questions in Intelligence
Misty Duke

5. A Sociological Approach to Intelligence Studies
Bridget Rose Nolan

Part III. Multidisciplinary Perspectives on National Security Intelligence Research

6. Enhancing Political Science Contributions to American Intelligence Studies
Stephen Marrin

7. Can Decision Science Improve Intelligence Analysis?
David R. Mandel

8. Charting a Research Agenda for Intelligence Studies Using Public Administration and Organization Theory Scholarship
Rick Caceres-Rodriguez and Michael Landon-Murray

9. How the Field of Communication Can Contribute to the Understanding and Study of National Security Intelligence
Rubén Arcos

Part IV. Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Research and Practice of Intelligence

10. Bridging the Gap: The Scholar-Practitioner Divide in Intelligence
Brent Durbin

11. The Ivory Tower and the Fourth Estate
Paul Lashmar

12. The Ethics of Intelligence Research
Ross Bellaby

Conclusion: The Past, Present, and Future of Intelligence Research
Stephen Coulthart, Michael Landon-Murray, and Damien Van Puyvelde

List of Contributors


"This is the first single volume exploration of intelligence studies methods. Inter-disciplinary and bringing together both scholars and practitioners, it is an important contribution and will have a major impact."—Richard Aldrich, Leverhulme Major Research Fellow, Professor of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

"This outstanding set of essays is an important contribution to the discipline of Intelligence Studies. Well written, insightful, and multidisciplinary, the essays combine into an indispensable assessment of scholarly research on the workings of secret spy agencies in the democratic societies."—Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor, Department of International Affairs, University of Georgia

"An impressive study that illustrates the broad range—but also the limits—of the field of intelligence studies today.  Should be read not only by students of intelligence, but also by scholars in other disciplines who are interested in studying intelligence issues, and by intelligence practitioners and policy makers who want to engage with and take advantage of the research done in the growing field of intelligence studies."—Erik Dahl, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA


Rubén Arcos Ross Bellaby Rick Caceres-Rodriguez Stephen Coulthart Misty Duke Brent Durbin John Ferris Michael Landon-Murray Paul Lashmar David R. Mandel Stephen Marrin Bridget Rose Nolan Mark Phythian Damien Van Puyvelde

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Stephen Coulthart is an assistant professor of security studies in the National Security Studies Institute at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Michael Landon-Murray is an assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Damien Van Puyvelde is a lecturer in intelligence and international security at University of Glasgow.

272 pp., 6 x 9
8 figures
ISBN: 978-1-62616-703-2
Nov 2019

272 pp., 6 x 9
8 figures
ISBN: 978-1-62616-704-9
Nov 2019

272 pp.
8 figures
ISBN: 978-1-62616-705-6
Nov 2019

Related Titles