The Intelligence Project's 1997 group count used a different methodology than in past years. If the 1997 count had been undertaken like earlier ones, it would have amounted to 290 groups, compared to the 241 listed for 1996. Thus, the 1997 total represents a real rise of approximately 20 percent.

In 1997, the Intelligence Project adopted a new policy of including all known chapters of hate organizations in the yearly count to provide more detailed information on hate groups. This year's count also includes a large number of previously undocumented Identity ministries.

In addition, the 1997 count lists several black separatist groups with racist or anti-Semitic platforms, including the newly added Nation of Islam.

The list does not include Patriot groups — militias, common-law courts and other groups — although some may be engaged in racist or anti-Semitic behavior. A report on the Patriot movement will be included in the next issue of the Intelligence Report.

The Intelligence Project has been publishing an annual list of groups since 1990. To compile the list, researchers study groups' publications and Internet sites, consult law enforcement officials and monitor news stories.

The group count covers organizations and their chapters that participated in documented hate activity — crimes, marches, rallies, speeches, leafleting or publishing literature. Individual, unaffiliated hate activists are not included in the count.

Entities that appear to exist only in cyberspace also are not included because they are likely to be individual Web publishers who like to portray themselves as powerful, organized groups.