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Intelligence analysts conduct these analyses every day, using decades of propriety tradecraft techniques and an arsenal of clandestine information gathering sources, but the resources available are not unlimited. Open source public opinion tools can provide timely and relatively inexpensive methods of understanding fast-moving conditions, acting as a force multiplier to help policymakers have a truly all-source understanding of complex events. By providing analysts with the best practices in survey methodology and nonsurvey methods for gathering data on public opinion, they will be armed with a clearer sense of important shifts in attitudes, elections, and unrest.
In order to provide guidance to analysts on strategies for assessing public opinion, representatives from the intelligence community approached the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to request preparation of a framework on Measuring and Analyzing Public Opinion. This analytic framework includes three layers of information. Layer 1 comprises four authored papers that review literature from various disciplines containing overview information as well as how the topic/situation of interest can enable better analysis across different situational constraints. Layer 2 is a distilled layer of information in the form of an authored summary of the four Layer 1 papers, both summarizing and describing key points. Finally, Layer 3 provides an even further distillation of the key concepts, in a one-page visual graphic, that displays key drivers from the work in Layers 1 and 2 to help the intended audience apply knowledge to the situation of interest.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Measurement and Analysis of Public Opinion: An Analytic Framework. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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