… in three not-so-easy steps.
The three steps to processing information into intelligence (or “How to Separate the Wheat From the Chaff”):
1. Analysis 2. Integration 3. Deduction.
Analysis is the sifting and sorting of evaluated information to isolate significant elements with respect to the mission you are trying to accomplish. The mission could be to obtain evidence of probative value for court. The mission, or task, could be to refute or rebut accusations, it could be to verify information obtained by other sources and methods, it could be to “prove” certain types of behavior. Most importantly, the analyst must focus on the purpose for which the raw information has been gathered, while simultaneously extracting and preserving information that may assist in a collateral effort.
For example, if we are surveilling a residence to determine if John is visiting Mary (because John’s wife Abigail is not happy with this), and during this surveillance a watcher notices three unidentified males visit Mary within the hour before John arrives, it is just possible that other organizations may be interested in this information. But we just may report it, and let them do their own analysis.
Integration is the combination of the elements isolated in the analyses with other information, preferably rated C-3 or higher, to form a logical hypothesis concerning the observed activities — again, as they relate to the objective or mission. It often occurs that more than one hypothesis can be articulated. Once all the hypotheses are formulated, each is tested on its own merits. Yes, I hear you: What is a hypothesis?
A hypothesis is a conjectural statement that there is a relationship between two entities or occurrences, that is predicted as unlikely to have occurred by chance alone, according to a pre-determined threshold probability, called the significance level. There are usually three hypotheses stated (according to my learning in statistical research): The null hypothesis Ho states that there is no relationship except by chance; H1 asserts that there is a positive relationship between the two behaviors or occurrences, and H2 asserts that there is no relationship. Sound complicated? Well, the testing of hypotheses is a foundation of scientific research, so yes, there are many aspects to it, all interrelated to provide an objective foundation for making sound deductions.
Deductions are based on the results of the hypotheses testing, and will answer the Big Question: “So what?”
So what if Mary’s house is a revolving door for men? On that night, under those circumstances, it may mean nothing: they were relatives. Or it may mean that she is selling her stuff. Her “stuff” could be Mary Kay gifts for wives and girl friends. Or drugs. Or not.
Or not enough information to deduce anything. The learned (okay, experienced) PI will undertake more surveillances, as well as check license tags and their owners before she draws positvie conclusions about that human traffic. And, oh, yes, before she submits a report to her client with possibly erroneous conclusions.
If you reflect a bit, I think you will conclude that the foregoing information about information can be useful to most people in their everyday lives. Except those who like jumping to conclusions based on emotions, rather than fact.
Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.