Structured Analytic Techniques | SATS

Structured Analytic Techniques involve a step-by-step process that externalizes the analyst’s thinking in a manner that makes it readily apparent to others, thereby enabling it to be reviewed, discussed, and critiqued piece by piece. For this reason, structured analysis usually becomes a collaborative effort in which the transparency of the analytic process exposes participating analysts to divergent or conflicting perspectives. We believe this type of analysis helps to mitigate some of the adverse effects of a single analyst’s cognitive limitations, an ingrained mindset, and the whole range of cognitive biases, misapplied heuristics, and intuitive traps. Frequently used techniques include Cluster Brainstorming, Foresight analysis, Indicators, Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, and Key Assumptions Check. Structured techniques are taught in undergraduate and graduate school programs as well as many intelligence service training courses and can be used by analysts who do not have a background in statistics, advanced mathematics, or the hard sciences.