I’m seeking volunteers to participate in my dissertation research. For this research, I’ll be examining some of the underlying cognitive skills used by expert security analysts in forensic investigations. My hope is that this research will tremendously benefit the information security community, ultimately making it easier for new analysts to learn the profession through a better understanding of what makes experts successful investigators. 

To qualify for this study, you must:
  • Consider yourself an expert or senior-level investigator
  • Have at least 8 years dedicated security experience OR 5 years dedicated computer security experience combined with 3 years of systems or network engineering/administration experience. 
  • Primarily serve as a triage/SOC/alert analyst, digital forensic examiner, or incident responder. 
  • Spend at least 50% of your time performing investigations (host, network, IR, alert review, etc). 
  • Be conversationally fluent in the English language.

If selected, you’ll be asked to complete the following tasks:
  • Participate in an interview where you complete a verbal tabletop exercise based around a fictional investigation scenario. (Approximately 1 hour)
  • Participate in an interview where you describe a complex or interesting investigation you worked through within the past five years. (Approximately 1 hour)
  • Review my summarized findings from the analysis of your interviews and provide specific feedback based on prompts I will provide by email (Approximately ½ hour)

I will conduct all interviews remotely through Zoom, at times convenient for you. These interviews will occur throughout the first half of 2021 and scheduled separately. 

The interviews will be recorded for conversion into text-based transcripts. I will assign a unique identifier to the recording and transcript so that none of the information you share will be attributable to you. No identifiable information or comments will be released during data collection, analysis, or in the final dissertation. 

If you are selected in this study, you will be granted a free seat in an Applied Network Defense course taught by Chris Sanders (valued at $97-$747 based on selection).

If you would like to participate in this study, please proceed to the application by clicking Next. The application is 13 questions and should take 5-7 minutes. Answers to this questionnaire will not be kept confidential. 

If you have questions, please contact me at chris@chrissanders.org.