GEOG 479
Cyber-Geography in Geospatial Intelligence

Assignment 8 - Reflection Paper 2 (Due at the End of Week 6)


Reflection Paper 2 - The Challenge for the Intelligence Community

Your assignment is to write a critical analysis paper of 1000 words (plus or minus 10%) which is about four double spaced pages in a 12 point font. Ensure you have a title and your name on the paper. Use one inch margins all around, and please use either Times Roman or Arial as your font. Your topic should be focused on the potential of collecting from humint sources in a crisis area which has some degree of connectivity with the outside world but may be considered a. in transition from one type of governance to another or b. in an ungoverned space.

  1. How can the Intelligence Community “dial in,” monitor and exploit these potential human intelligence sources?
  2. Is Real Time reporting from distressed localities reliable? Look at Ushahidi as an example.

Technical Specifications

Your assignment is to write a critical analysis paper of 1000 words (plus or minus 10%) which is about four double spaced pages in a 12 point font. Ensure you have a title and your name on the paper. Use one inch margins all around, and please use either Times Roman or Arial as your font.

Your paper must be highly organized and include an introduction which includes a purpose/thesis statement, and an outline of how you will approach your topic and accomplish your purpose. You may want to begin your paper with, "The purpose of this paper is to …" The body of the paper follows with paragraphs in logical succession that allow you to make your point. Finish with a conclusion that very briefly summarizes the paper and powerfully ends with your concluding statement.

Note that academic writing is normally in the third person (thus avoid I, we, us, and our). Writing in the third person helps writers maintain their objectivity and avoid personalizing the work. Your analysis and judgment must stand on its own. Do not assume the reader knows the assignment or has read the lesson or readings.

You should include at least some of the course material to include readings to make it evident that you read and understand the lesson material. You must do some research (probably online) and synthesize some other ideas into your reflection. Ensure you cite these sources using the mechanism of putting the author and date in parenthesis at the end of a section containing their ideas, e.g. (Corson 2007). You must then include a "Works Cited" section at the end of the paper that lists the author(s) last name first, date of publication, title, and publisher information. Here are some examples:

Multi-authored journal article:
Palka, Eugene J., Francis A. Galgano, and Mark W. Corson (2006) "Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Military Geographical Perspective," The Geographical Review Vol. 95, No. 3, pp. 373-399.

Single authored journal article:
Corson, Mark W. (2000), "Hazardscapes in Reunified Germany." Environmental Hazards. Vol. 1, No. 2.

Book Chapter:
Thomas, Michael L. (2004), "Geotechnology, the US Military, and War," in Geography and Technology edited by Stanley D. Brunn, Susan L. Cutter, and JW Harrington Jr. Dordrect: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Corson, Mark W. (2007), I Wish I had Written a Book (New York: No Such Publisher)

I am not overly worried about the exact format as long as I can look at the author and date and easily reference it to the full citation in the works cited section. Citations do not count against your 1000 words.

Please insert page numbers at the bottom of the pages. You may also include images, maps, charts, etc. Please ensure you include a caption and reference the graphic in the text. Captions do not count against your 1000 words. Cite the source of the graphic in the caption, e.g. "author's photo".

Please submit your reflection paper in Microsoft Word Format using the following file naming convention:


Please review Bloom's taxonomy, and note what I mean when I say demonstrate higher order thinking skills.

Knowledge - is the lowest level of learning outcomes. Memorizing and recalling a wide range of facts, data, or even complete theories falls into this category. Being able to remember and regurgitate facts from reading assignments is an example of this category. This is NOT an acceptable level of scholarship for graduate studies.

Comprehension - occurs when you understand the meaning of the material. You can demonstrate comprehension by interpreting the material through explanation or summation, by showing effects or consequences, or by translating the material from one form to another. While comprehension is critically important, it is still NOT an acceptable level of scholarship in graduate study.

Application - is the ability to take knowledge that you comprehend and apply it to new situations. This could include applying new methods, principles, concepts, theories, or laws to new situations. Application demonstrates higher order thinking than simple memorization and comprehension and will often be required in follow-on technically oriented courses.

Analysis - is essentially taking something and breaking it apart to see how it works. Deconstructing something to see its component parts and how they relate to the organizational structure are good examples of analysis. Analysis is higher order thinking because it requires an understanding of both the content and structure of the material in question. Graduate level coursework will often ask you to analyze something as part of an assignment.

Synthesis - is essentially taking several different ideas and putting them together to form a new whole. This might mean taking numerous research sources, analyzing them, and then taking select components to build a new idea presented as a paper or presentation. Synthesis stresses being creative in formulating new patterns, ideas, or structures. Your reflection papers, case studies, and research papers will often demand that you synthesize various inputs.

Evaluation - is the ability to make judgments about the usefulness, value, or veracity of given material for a specific purpose. The judgment must be based on definite criteria rather than instinct, faith, or feeling. These criteria may be external (relevance to purpose) or internal (organizational criteria). Evaluation is the highest in the cognitive hierarchy as it includes the other elements plus a conscious value judgment based on defined criteria.

While you will have to demonstrate some knowledge and comprehension, you must demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate complex ideas to produce a satisfactory reflection paper. Now review the cognitive skills of the critical thinker:

Cognitive Skills

  • Interpretation
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Inference
  • Explanation
  • Self-Regulation

Interpretation is to comprehend and express the meaning or significance of a wide variety of experiences, situations, data, events, judgments, conventions, beliefs, rules, procedures, or criteria. The three sub-skills of interpretation are categorization, decoding significance, and clarifying meaning.

Analysis is to identify the intended and actual inferential relationships among statements, questions, concepts, descriptions, or other forms of representation intended to express belief, judgment, experiences, reasons, information, or opinions. The three sub-skills of analysis are examining ideas, detecting arguments, and analyzing arguments.

Evaluation is to assess the credibility of statements or other representations which are accounts or descriptions of a person's perception, experience, situation, judgment, belief, or opinion; and to assess the logical strength of the actual or intended inferential relationships among statements, descriptions, questions or other forms of representation.

Inference is to identify and secure elements needed to draw reasonable conclusions; to form conjectures and hypotheses; to consider relevant information and to educe the consequences flowing from data, statements, principles, evidence, judgments, beliefs, opinions, concepts, descriptions, questions, or other forms of representation. The three sub-skills of inference are querying evidence, conjecturing alternatives, and drawing conclusions.

Explanation is to state the results of one's reasoning; to justify that reasoning in terms of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, and contextual considerations upon which one's results were based; and to present one's reasoning in the form of cogent arguments. The sub-skills under explanation are stating results, justifying procedures, and presenting arguments.

Self-Regulation is to self-consciously monitor one's cognitive activities, the elements used in those activities, and the results educed, particularly by applying skills in analysis, and evaluation to one's own inferential judgments with a view toward questioning, confirming, validating, or correcting either one's reasoning or one's results. The two sub-skills here are self-examination and self-correction.

You must demonstrate the appropriate critical thinking skills based on the approach you take. On this first paper, you may want to explicitly articulate the higher order thinking skills and type of critical thinking that you are applying. Please do not ruin the flow of your paper by overdoing this explicit articulation (be subtle).

This may seem daunting and cause some of you to worry. Remember that I am on your side, and I want to help you develop these skills. As you get into this very intellectually stimulating exercise, I hope that you will actually find that critical thinking and concise written reflection are enjoyable.