Research Topic: Open source intelligence and its impact on US national security.
Research Question: What is the reliability of open source intelligence against terrorism for national security within the United States?
Hypothesis: Open source intelligence is reliable material for national security agencies to utilize against terrorist threats facing the United States.
After exploring several plausible theories to apply to my research paper, I concluded that the most relevant theories to my particular topic would be social conflict theory and constructivism theory.
Social Conflict Theory: In the study of sociology, conflict theory asserts “that society or an organization functions so that each individual participant and its groups struggle to maximize their benefits, which inevitably contributes to social change such as political changes and revolutions” (New World Encyclopedia, 2013). Social conflict theory speaks of societal norms that differ from culture to culture, but how there are also underlying similarities between all societies. This theory relates to my topic in particular because terrorists and terror groups form patterns in regards to operations and intelligence collection on their end based on societal norms and structures. Intelligence analysts working for the Intelligence Community can use this to their advantage through open source intelligence to assist in the fight to protect the national security of the country.
Constructivism Theory: In the study of psychology, constructivism “suggests that humans construct knowledge and meaning from their experiences” (The University of Sydney, 2017). Social constructivism in particular focuses “on human awareness or consciousness and its place in world affairs” (Jackson & Sorensen, 2006). I believe that the constructivism theory assists intelligence analysts with learning and recollecting patterns used by terror groups after they have been used in the past. This helps analysts within the Intelligence Community prevent, deter, and react to terrorist attacks and activity that potentially threatens the homeland.
Out of the many theories I analyzed, I chose social conflict theory and constructivism theory because these were the options that I felt best fit in with my research question and hypothesis. Game theory was one theory that I did look into but decided not to pursue due to the fact that there were just too many pathways that I could have pursued.