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Research questions evolve from research problems. Before a research question is formulated, there must have been a research problem that was carried out. A research problem has four distinctive phases: Problem definition, data collection, data analysis, and report preparation. Problem definition involves identifying the problem and determining its feasibility. The feasibility of a research depends on available resources like manpower, time and funds.
Research problems in intelligence community evolve form recurring and non recurring needs of a sponsoring agency, from self initiated problems that the researcher identifies himself, and from perennial problems the agency faces yearly. A self initiated project addresses a critical need. Another stage in research is defining boundaries or scope of the research and determining the magnitude. At this stage, the researcher establishes the terms of references specifying them in terms of geographical locations, and time periods. It's also important to state assumptions related to the matter, brief methodology description, and stating of hypothesis.
The researcher provides operational definition of terms in accordance with the task, and analyses sources of information. This can either be man sources or documentary. Intelligent community is a body of agencies and organization that collaborate and work together in collecting intelligent information for the president and a country's policy makers to aid them conduct foreign relationships effectively, and oversee the smooth running of a nation via national security activities. Intelligence community includes among others, the department of state, defense intelligence agency, National security agency, civilian intelligence, military intelligence, etc.
How does the intelligence community coordinate between the headquarters to ensure all operations are run smoothly and one agency is favored more than others?
The above research question is an explanatory research question. It is because it seeks to explain an already happening activity. Explanatory research gives insight into a phenomena asking the "why" question to develop causal explanations to a problem, and explain "how" things happen in a particular situation. In the above example, we all understand what an intelligent community is, we seek to understand why their operations, though independent, are somehow centered within headquarters, and how they work together in coordination.
Hypotheses for the above question
1. Intelligence community is not centrally governed; each community is independent of the others.
This could be a possibility because the organizations are so many; they could be independent of each other.
2. The president controls the intelligence community's operations and decides resource allocations for each organization. This is an assumption that the research could seek to prove or disapprove, depending on how it is done, in an attempt to understand the intelligence community.
3. Officers and employees in intelligence community are ruled by the same codes of conduct to give them guidelines on operations and modes of behavior acceptable within community.
Depending on the sensitive nature of the organization's operations, a researcher could seek to see if this is the case or if different rules refer to different organizations. The intelligence community being an umbrella body and having certain right to access information about people's activities, countries and other organizations, their operations are of the general public's interest, so that we are comfortable with the level of privacy and efficiency within the intelligence community.
Before arriving at the research question, there are a number of factors and processes to carry out. Among them is collecting information. This I did via secondary sources. Documented information about the intelligent community gives insight to its operation that raises a number of questions. Assessing the needs of the intelligence community to enable me ask important questions is also a step I undertook in an attempt to come up with the research question and hypotheses.
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