The understanding research approach is essential in determining the level of accuracy that can be attained in gathering information on intelligence. Any research methodology should reflect the objectives of a study. Grounded theory is a research methodology which begins with a question that guides a researcher, especially when collecting data.
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In intelligence studies, this theory demonstrates the influence of symbolic interactionism which generally focuses on social processes. Thornberg points out that “its original ideas of pure induction and not taking advantage of and using literature when collecting and analyzing data could easily be criticized”.1
Grounded theory and Measuring and Signature Intelligence (MASINT)
MASINT is one of the intelligence-based requirements in the analysis of information gathered from trails since it measures the distinct features. By posing questions on intelligence, sharing units and explaining how they have been strengthened, Grounded theory is crucial in current research studies.
It is an effective analytical tool of assessing intelligence. By emphasizing the role of MASINT, it is possible to relate the areas of cooperation between intelligence community and intelligence analysis management. Although grounded theory does not have preconceived theories, it remains reliable in the collection of intelligence data. Is it correct to perceive MASINT as a distinct group of subjects or a vital area of study? Is it a field where distinct processing and analysis of data is conducted?
Grounded theory and application in intelligence studies
Data collection is an integral step in any research study. It is imperative to note that data collection in intelligence studies should be carried out in an appreciative and accurate manner. Besides, strategic intelligence is critical in dictating the levels of success that can be achieved by a military group. Khaldoun, Aldiabat and Carole-Lynne Le-Navenec observe that “…human beings actively interpret each other’s gestures in social interaction and act based on their interpretations”.2
Grounded theory and Constructivist Grounded theory
Grounded theory reflects processes of implementing actions when collecting data. However, constructivist Grounded theory explores the aspect of dependence on operational factors that usually interact with participants or groups and systems to develop a theory.
Grounded theory methodology employs a systematic set of procedures to inductively develop a concept that is “grounded in data from which it was derived”.3 Constructivism GT is largely based on stories or the history of goals, identities, fears and threats. In this case, data on intelligence is co-constructed on a middle ground between postmodernist perspective and position held by realists.
Grounded theory, Grounded Constructivist theory and HUMINT
Methodology is one of the critical sections in any study. It assimilates the most crucial role of generating necessary findings employed by a researcher in testing the given assumptions. Constructivist GT method in HUMINT relies on history or reports from raw sources.
By providing a clear outline of the process and significant factors considered at every stage in HUMINT, Grounded Theory is able to come up with effective results. Therefore, the theory acts as a critical parameter of determining the progress of other theories. Methodology is “translated practically in the constant comparison, coding and measuring approaches to data analysis”.4
Applications in intelligence studies
Viewpoints on constructivist GT psychological and social cognitions are aligned within the social context whereby the focus is based on perception and interpretation of information acquired from external sources. These perspectives attempt to expound how individual traits affect others.
Barnet, Dori. “Constructing new theory for identifying students with emotional disturbance: a constructivist approach to grounded theory.” The Grounded Theory Review 11, no. 1(June 2012): 47-63.
El Hussein, Mohamed. “Using grounded theory as a method of inquiry: advantages and disadvantages.” The Qualitative Report 19, no. 13 (May 2014): 1-15.
Khaldoun, Aldiabat and Carole-Lynne Le-Navenec. “Philosophical roots of classical grounded theory: its foundations in symbolic interactionism.”The Qualitative Report 16, no. 4 (July 2011): 1063–1080.
Thornberg, Robert. “Informed grounded theory.” Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 56, no.3 (June 2012): 243-259.
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1. Robert. Thornberg, “Informed grounded theory,” Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 56, no.3 (June 2012): 245.
2. Aldiabat Khaldoun and Carole-Lynne Le-Navenec, “Philosophical roots of classical grounded theory: its foundations in symbolic interactionism, ”The Qualitative Report 16, no. 4 (July 2011): 1071.
3. Dori Barnet, “Constructing new theory for identifying students with emotional disturbance: a constructivist approach to grounded theory,” The Grounded Theory Review 11, no. 1(June 2012): 47.
4. Mohamed El Hussein, “Using grounded theory as a method of inquiry: advantages and disadvantages,” The Qualitative Report 19, no. 13 (May 2014): 3.