Collaborative sense-making during simulated Intelligence Analysis Exercises

Christopher Baber, Simon Attfield, Gareth Conway, Chris Rooney, Neesha Kodagoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Sense-making plays an important role in Intelligence Analysis, but can be difficult to study in situ. Thus, it is useful to exploit training exercises to study this phenomenon. In this paper two versions of the same exercise are reported: one undertaken by participants at a conference and one undertaken by Military Intelligence personnel. The behaviour of groups of analysts (experienced versus inexperienced) is considered in terms the Data/Frame model of sense-making. The paper illustrates how Intelligence Analysis often involves parallel and overlapping explorations of data, with multiple frames that might be minimal and sketchy. The use of representations, such as link diagrams, provides a means of externalising frames and it is suggested that these can shift the style of reasoning exhibited by the teams as the Exercise progresses. Such a shift was seen more clearly in the behaviour of the Military Intelligence Officers who also spent more time developing and refining the diagrams to support the presentation of their findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-108
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Early online date22 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Sense-making
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Representations


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