Ethnographic research in the intelligence community: opportunities and challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article considers lessons learned from conducting research inside the intelligence community. Drawing on a year of ethnographic field work and interviews at the National Counterterrorism Center, I show that “boundary personnel”- people who navigate between the worlds of academia and national security - provide value added in the form of tacit knowledge that outside researchers would not be able to deliver. At the same time, these people face delays, challenges to freedom of information, and ethical considerations that are unique to their positions. Despite setbacks, social scientists must continue their engagement with national security organizations to further our understanding of how these powerful institutions operate.
LanguageEnglish
Article number5
Pages1-31
Number of pages31
JournalSecrecy and Society
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

national security
freedom of information
social scientist
value added
community
personnel
interview

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • CIA
  • counterterrorism
  • ethnography
  • Intelligence Community
  • National Counterterrorism Center
  • NCTC
  • organizational culture
  • sociology
  • tacit knowledge

Cite this

@article{fae62135fd83446a988edaa5a2ed1533,
title = "Ethnographic research in the intelligence community: opportunities and challenges",
abstract = "This article considers lessons learned from conducting research inside the intelligence community. Drawing on a year of ethnographic field work and interviews at the National Counterterrorism Center, I show that “boundary personnel”- people who navigate between the worlds of academia and national security - provide value added in the form of tacit knowledge that outside researchers would not be able to deliver. At the same time, these people face delays, challenges to freedom of information, and ethical considerations that are unique to their positions. Despite setbacks, social scientists must continue their engagement with national security organizations to further our understanding of how these powerful institutions operate.",
keywords = "Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, counterterrorism, ethnography, Intelligence Community, National Counterterrorism Center, NCTC, organizational culture, sociology, tacit knowledge",
author = "Bridget Nolan",
note = "Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
volume = "2",
pages = "1--31",
journal = "Secrecy and Society",
issn = "2377-6188",
publisher = "San Jose State University",
number = "1",

}

Ethnographic research in the intelligence community : opportunities and challenges. / Nolan, Bridget.

In: Secrecy and Society, Vol. 2, No. 1, 5, 2018, p. 1-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ethnographic research in the intelligence community

T2 - Secrecy and Society

AU - Nolan, Bridget

N1 - Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - This article considers lessons learned from conducting research inside the intelligence community. Drawing on a year of ethnographic field work and interviews at the National Counterterrorism Center, I show that “boundary personnel”- people who navigate between the worlds of academia and national security - provide value added in the form of tacit knowledge that outside researchers would not be able to deliver. At the same time, these people face delays, challenges to freedom of information, and ethical considerations that are unique to their positions. Despite setbacks, social scientists must continue their engagement with national security organizations to further our understanding of how these powerful institutions operate.

AB - This article considers lessons learned from conducting research inside the intelligence community. Drawing on a year of ethnographic field work and interviews at the National Counterterrorism Center, I show that “boundary personnel”- people who navigate between the worlds of academia and national security - provide value added in the form of tacit knowledge that outside researchers would not be able to deliver. At the same time, these people face delays, challenges to freedom of information, and ethical considerations that are unique to their positions. Despite setbacks, social scientists must continue their engagement with national security organizations to further our understanding of how these powerful institutions operate.

KW - Central Intelligence Agency

KW - CIA

KW - counterterrorism

KW - ethnography

KW - Intelligence Community

KW - National Counterterrorism Center

KW - NCTC

KW - organizational culture

KW - sociology

KW - tacit knowledge

M3 - Article

VL - 2

SP - 1

EP - 31

JO - Secrecy and Society

JF - Secrecy and Society

SN - 2377-6188

IS - 1

M1 - 5

ER -