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HLSS500 250 American Public Mosaic Theory Discussion Response

Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Respond to Mark:

Moving further into week three, it is imperative to understand the different theoretical approaches which are found within research and how they can determine different results by the steps the researcher takes within them. From understanding what sets of information to keep, utilize or discount and after reading the week three materials, I have decided to utilize the Mosaic Theory as it relates to intelligence gathering in order to obtain the best results for my research question to substantiate my claims.

Originally, I was focused upon utilizing Grounded Theory to prepare my research project and ultimately decided against it. The reason this choice was made was since grounded theory “does not start with a theory, which is then tested but with an area of study from which what is relevant to the area is derived through data collection” (Howell, 2013). This method can be utilized for countless amounts of intelligence gathering but maintains the idea of creating a theory through data collection and analysis. In order to direct intelligence resources to a research question, you must substantiate what your question is before proceeding into the process of research. Grounded theory does not allow this benefit.

The Mosaic Theory on the other hand, allows a researcher to establish a question they feel requires answering. For example, my question of “how does the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) utilize Human Intelligence (HUMINT) within intelligence gathering?”. This question is already in place and I must utilize a theory which can take many approaches and multiple sources to build onto the question of how it is utilized. With there being over a dozen individual intelligence agencies within the United States Intelligence Community (IC), it is critical to be able to funnel all sources of information into one place to be effective as possible. The mosaic theory in research focuses on information the exact same way the intelligence community focuses on a goal. As one IC agency may have a specific set of intelligence that fills the gap another agency is missing, it creates the entire picture, hence mosaic (Jaffer, 2010).

As HUMINT is different from each department, the overall practice is the same. As information is gathered it may not make sense until it is pieced together with another. Much like the research question proposed, only knowing how one intelligence agency utilizes human intelligence, it does not answer how the others do, but once that is discovered, you will know how the intelligence community functions. Mosaic theory is exactly as it seems, finishing a picture, completing a puzzle and starting a car with a key is much easier than without. A weakness of the mosaic theory is when pieces of the puzzle are not locatable, only a partial image could then be constructed, and this would then cause indirect assumptions that cannot be founded unless the information is located.

Through the use of the mosaic theory, information based on the intelligence community specifically referencing human intelligence methods should be effectively located and in order to paint a picture to the reader of how HUMINT works within the Department of Homeland Security.


Grounded theory. (2013). In Howell, K. E. An introduction to the philosophy of methodology (pp. 131-153). London: SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781473957633

Jaffer, J. (2010). The mosaic theory. Social Research, 77(3), 873-0_3. Retrieved from…

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