KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Armchair Intelligence - Open Sources and Online Investigation (Module)

Module description

*Please note that module information is indicative and is subject to change for future academic years.

This module provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the nature and practice of open source intelligence and online investigation – how this sphere of activity has evolved over time, the opportunities and challenges presented by technological advancement, and that academic and policy debates that have accompanied these changes. The module also contains a strong applied element. Students will be exposed to a range of tools and techniques that are deployed by analysts working in this space. Case studies in key areas, from WMD to humanitarian action will ground class discussions in recent examples.


  • To provide students with a specialised knowledge of the nature and evolution of open source investigation in the intelligence arena and beyond;
  • To provide students with an understanding of the theoretical and conceptual debates underpinning the evolution of open source intelligence;
  • To provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of how open source investigation is being used to support information and intelligence needs across a range of different industries;
  • To introduce students to the core methods and approaches underpinning open source investigations.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will have demonstrated:

  • A sophisticated understanding of the main theoretical debates framing the evolution of open source intelligence;
  • An ability to engage critically with the concept of open source intelligence and understand its potential and limitations in a rapidly evolving information environment;
  • An understanding of the ways in which the emergence of new platforms for information exchange and delivery has impacted on security-related issues such as proliferation, illicit trade, verification and policing;
  • The development of critical analysis, independent judgment, and oral and written presentation to a level commensurate with taught post-graduate study.

Staff information

Dr Matthew Moran*

Teaching pattern

For a Half Year 15-credit module, teaching is typically 2 hours per week over 10 weeks, so 20 hours of teaching, as well as 130 hours of self-study. Teaching can be split into lectures and seminars, with online flexible delivery options available.

Module assessment - more information

Coursework only*

Key information

Module code 7SSWM077

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module No