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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC3128: Introduction to Open-source Intelligence (OSINT)

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Module Aims

This module aims to introduce you to the techniques used in Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigations, and in doing so, has two broad aims. The first is to develop your understanding of the theoretical aspects of OSINT, such as where it fits in relation to contemporary law enforcement investigative practice, the various ethical and legal considerations that must be considered when using these methods, as well as their role in academic research in areas such as online communities and extremism. The second involves introducing you to some of the basic techniques and skills used by a range of organisations when conducting OSINT investigations. These skills will be taught to you via practical sessions, and will cover such things as researching the origins of an image, geolocating specific events, and analysing data gained from these techniques. In learning these skills, you will realise that, so long as you are systematic in your approach, it is actually relatively easy to use these methods to conduct OSINT investigations using freely accessible tools that you might already be familiar with, such as Google reverse image search.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. demonstrate a high level of understanding of Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques, their applications, and their role within contemporary law enforcement and research
2. Show a good level of confidence in using OSINT investigative tools and critically assessing the data gained from them
3. Demonstrate a high level of computer literacy as it pertains to contemporary research methods, particularly OSINT work, and law enforcement
Discipline-Specific Skills4. Critically reflect on the role and impact of OSINT within the wider context of the changes to investigative practice in law enforcement and research as a result of an increasingly digital society
5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the evolutionary arms race between new methods for committing crime and crime detection and investigation methods
6. Critically evaluate the ethical considerations of using OSINT methods in law enforcement and research
Personal and Key Skills7. Demonstrate ability to work as part of a group on a joint project
8. Demonstrate written analytical skills by producing an essay and technical report to a deadline
9. Demonstrate the ability to present group-based work in a professional manner