Research Methodology Topic




July26, 2014


Theterrorism act of 9/11 set the pace for a strategized partnership andcollaborative spirit in fighting terrorism. In particular, thefateful attack jolted the nation’s security agents as well as thepublic on the ‘need to share’ and the ‘need to know’information regarding terrorism. Although United States has numeroussecurity organ both at state, local and federal governments, theattack just exposed the daring, risk gap that existed between thesecurity agents and the public in information sharing. However, priorthe attack there was an existing mechanism of security informationsharing between the agencies but was not effective as it ought tohave been. As the extensive literature review indicates, after theattack, various strategies and mechanisms were implemented to enhancepartnership and collaboration among all stakeholders in fightingterrorism.

However,literature review indicates that to date, the notion of informationsharing, partnership and collaboration remains elusive informationsharing has not been fully embraced as envisioned by the NationalCriminal Intelligence Sharing Plan Committee (NCISPC). This studysought to investigate the underlying salient aspects that stillinhibit effective information sharing. The study question is howeffective information sharing policy is in regard to the need to knowvs. the need to share among the intelligence community and the lawenforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism.

    1. Choice of Research Method

Inorder to approach this question amicably and focus on the centralproblem (information sharing), the study would focus on the lawenforcement and the intelligence community. In this case, aqualitative approach would be used to explore the complexity offactors underlying effective information sharing as part of havingin-depth grasp on varying perspectives and meanings the participantshave regarding this phenomenon. Collecting these qualitativeperspectives and meanings from the participants would help inform onthe efficacy of a collaborative information sharing strategy inpreventing future terrorism1.

Inthis study, the hypothesis seeks to delineate the effectiveness ofthe relationship between the law enforcement agencies and theintelligence community and how that relationship affects futurecooperation in fighting terrorism. In particular, the study wouldfocus on factors that inhibit effective collaboration and partnershipin sharing information between the law enforcement and theintelligence community. Therefore, using the study research questionmore specific hypothesis is developed to give the study a moredirection in designing the study research. Therefore, the hypothesisin this case will be How is information sharing and cooperationeffective among the law enforcement and the intelligence community2.

Theimportant variables focused in this study are the ‘need to know’as an independent variable and the ‘need to share’ as dependentvariable. Ideally, change in one variable is accompanied by change inthe other variable. It is hypothesized that, the ‘need to know’is supposed to be correlated to the ‘need to share’ for effectiveinformation sharing among the law enforcement and the intelligentcommunity. In approaching this study, a multiple research approachesinvolving quantitative and qualitative methods would suffice asadequate in informing the research question3.For instance, in this study it will be important to know theperceptions of the intelligence community about the program. Theliterature review revealed that citizens are not satisfied with thefusion programs for infringing on their civil liberties.Statistically, quantitative method would help assess the number ofpeople supporting the program, number of fusion centers and staffs orthe number of recorded terrorism acts that have been botched up bythe security forces, as a result, of the partnership in informationsharing.

Thestudy bases its assumptions of ‘need to share’ on the fact eachgroup or community has distinct information to share to each otherthe law enforcement and the intelligent community based on theirpolitical history. As such both groups can provide rich data on theeffectiveness of preventing future terrorist acts. Great debates haveensured since the adoption of information sharing strategies thereis opposing sides based on ‘need to share’ and ‘need to know.’ The common ground was that not all information and not all peoplecan certain information be shared. In this respect, a mixed method ofresearch is used to address these two different perspectives. Bymerging the qualitative and quantitative approach, it will be easierto confirm the claims and make informed recommendations4.With this basic understanding of the world, we can understand more onthese events by having someone supply us with the information.

1.2 Researchdesign

Amultiple methods will be used to enhance flexibility and expandinformation as Creswell (1998) observes, ‘understandingcan be enhanced through adding layers of information by using varietymethods to validate data collected.’Quantitative information would be collected through open-endedstructured survey questionnaires distributed to sample group amongthe members of the law enforcement community FBI, CIA, fusioncentres personnel and the local police.

Aqualitative data would be collected from selected individuals using afocus group technique. In this case, 15 participants would beselected from the law enforcement and the intelligence community. Asemi-structured questionnaire would apply when collecting informationfrom the focus group. The partially structured questionnaire isuseful in guiding focus group discussions as the researcher canmoderate questions to suit the discussion. However, the focus groupguiding questions should ensure objectivity prevails to limit bias5.

    1. Research Sample

Randomsampling process would be used to choose respondents in accordance.Through this approach a sample of 100 participants would be selectedfrom the members of the intelligence community, the public and thelaw enforcement community FBI, CIA, fusion centers personnel and thelocal police. Sample information regarding the address and contactsof all officers would be accessed from the Department of Homelandsecurity.

Twohundred names would be randomly selected from the list based on State(in this case California State). Prospective participants would thenbe sent a fax requesting their approval to participate in the studysurvey through the questionnaires that would be sent. A sample ofhundred participants would be selected from the positive feedbacks.In the same way, a sample of focus group participants will be sentfax explaining the purpose of the study and the benefit. From thepositive feedbacks, 15 participants will be selected and informed onthe time and date of focus group discussions.

    1. Data Collection and data Analysis

Datacollected through the questionnaires will be coded and analyzed usingthe statistical applications order to derive statistical data. Theinformation collected from the focus group would be used to correlatethe findings gathered from surveys to expand the information. Duringthe focus group discussions, tape recording would be done and latertranslated to verbatim with each participant getting anidentification numeric code. Data would be analyzed through codingmethod in which similar responses are grouped together. This would bedone through categorizing respondents’ narratives, ideas and thenorganizing similar responses and features in question responses.

    1. Internal and External Validity

Usingtriangulation and multiple methods is necessary to get in-depthexploration of the effectiveness of information sharing as a policystrategy of preventing future terrorism. Triangulation enhancescredibility of qualitative research studies by searching forconvergence, consistency of evidence when using multiple datacollection such as surveys and focus groups.These sentiments are held by Patton (1990), who observes that,‘triangulation effectiveness lies on the premise that the weaknessof one method is compensated through the other’6.As such, the use of multiple methods will strengthens my research,enhance the collection of qualitative and objective data as well ashelp in substantiating the data gathered.


Anfara,V. A, Brown, K. M, &amp Mangione, T. L. ‘Qualitative Analysis onStage: Making the Research Process More Public’. (2002).Educational Research, 31, 28-38.

Best,Richard A. 2011. “Intelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs.Need-to-Share”CongressionalResearch Service: ReportR41848, (accessed June16, 2014)

Bloomberg,L. D. &amp Volpe, M. ‘Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation: ARoadmap from Beginning to End’. (2008). London, UK: SagePublications, Inc.

Charmaz,K. ‘Constructing grounded theory. A practical guide throughqualitative analysis’. (2006). California: Sage Publications Ltd.

Creswell,J. ‘Standards of Quality and Verification. In J. Creswell,Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among FiveTraditions (2nd Ed.)’. (2007). Thousand Oaks, CA: SagePublications.115

Creswell,J. W. ‘Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among fivetraditions’. (1998). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

GAOReport to Program Evaluation and Methodology Division: QuantitativeData Analysis: An Introduction. May1992.

Jick,T. D. ‘Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulationin action’. Administrative Science Quarterly, (1979). 24, 602-610.

Patton,M. Q. ‘Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods (2nd ed.)’.(1990). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

AppendixA Survey Questionnaires

Thisis an open ended semi structured survey questionnaire hence therewill not be structured questions



 Age…………………………………………………….

 State……………………………………………………

 Rank……………………………………………………

 Educationlevel………………………………………..

  1. Which Department or security Agency do you operate under?

  1. Federal (FBI) B. CIAC. Fusion Centre D. Local Police ( sherrif, etc.)

  1. How long have you worked in the FBI? CIA, Fusion Centers or at the local law enforcement agency? A. 0-5 yrs B. 5-10yrsC. 10-20yrs D. 20-above

  2. Which rank do you hold in the agency?

  3. Have you heard about National strategy of Information Sharing? Intelligence community?

  1. Yes B. No

  1. Does your agency collaborate with other agencies in law enforcement especially the intelligence community?

  1. Yes B. NoC. RarelyD. Never

  1. List agencies your agency partner or collaborate with in enhancing security and terrorism prevention.


A.What is the essential nature of information sharing?

  1. Is the partnership and collaboration essentially one of harmony or conflict?

  2. What is the fundamental nature of ease in sharing security information among the intelligence community and the law enforcement community?

  1. Describe the kinds of partnership between the law enforcement and the intelligence community.

  2. Rate in a five point Likert scale your rating of the information sharing strategy as a means of fighting terrorism.

  1. Very Effective B. Effective C. Slightly Effective D. Not Effective

B.What are the prospects for the eventual realization of effectivepartnership and information

sharing?Political values and ideological goals? Can one be optimistic orpessimistic?

• Inwhat sense and to what extent is the future of information sharingpredictable?

• Howmuch control or mastery can one have over historical developments andchanges made in

Theaftermath of 9/11 attack?


• Whatis the best approach for selecting goals or objectives to enhance theeffectiveness of

Informationsharing policy in future?

• Howare the goals of information sharing pursued effectively and what arethe challenges?

• Howare the risks of terrorism best approached in the event ofinformation sharing?

• Dothe agencies involved have conflicting interests in ensuringeffective information sharing?

B)Focus Group Guide questions

Tellme about these experiences

i)Have you heard about National strategy of Information Sharing?Intelligence community?

ii)Describe the kinds of partnership between the law enforcement and theintelligence


iii)Talk about the prospects for eventual realization of effectivepartnership and information

Sharing?Political values and ideological goals? Can one be optimistic orpessimistic?

iv)How are the goals of information sharing pursued effectively and whatare the challenges?

v)Does the agencies involved have conflicting interests in ensuringeffective information


1 GAO “Report on Program Evaluation and Methodology: Quantitative Data Analysis- An Introduction.” May 1992.

2 Best, Richard A. “Intelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs. Need-to-Share.” Congressional Research Report

R41848, 2011. (accessed July 26,2014)

3 Creswell, J. ‘Standards of Quality and Verification. In J. Creswell, Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design:

Choosing Among Five Traditions (2nd Ed.)’. (2007). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.115

4 Bloomberg, L. D. &amp Volpe, M. ‘Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation: A Roadmap from Beginning to End.’

(2008). London, UK: Sage Publications, Inc.

5 Charmaz, K. ‘Constructing grounded theory. A practical guide through qualitative analysis.’ (2006). California:

Sage Publications Ltd.

6 Patton, M. Q. ‘Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods (2nd ed.).’ (1990). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.