B. L. W. Wong and N. Kodagoda, “How Analysts Think: Inference Making Strategies,” Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 269–273, 2015.
In this paper we present early observations of how seven criminal intelligence analysts think and how they make inferences. We used the Critical Decision Method to identify the causal mechanisms of how they think and reason, i.e. how they organize, structure and assemble their information, understandings and inferences. We envisaged that this would enable us to design software to support the structuring of arguments and the evidential reasoning process. Our early observations suggest that analytic reasoning is not straight-forward, but appears chaotic and haphazard, and sometimes cyclic; and that inference making – abduction, induction and deduction – are not independent processes, but are closely intertwined. These processes interact dynamically, each producing outcomes that become anchors used by the others.
Keywords – Criminal intelligence, evidential reasoning, analytical reasoning, inference making, induction, deduction, abduction, anchors, critical decision method, fluidity and rigor.