It can be tough finding alternative research sources. When the rhetoric is so thick and the confirming documents are buried or blacked out, it’s time to start some radical research. Whether getting dirt on a major corporation or tracking down reliable stats to use in leaflets, sifting through useless information online can be difficult. This guide will help activists in the practical aspects of internet research. It includes:
Where to start
Consider using a web browser that won’t track your internet activity before beginning your research. Don’t be worried about narrowing your focus too much – you don’t have to be looking for something specific to find important information. But have a general idea about what kind of information interests you. Start with publicly accessible data. This could be reports from organizations, financial statements or other information. Look for leads within these documents such as references or contributors. Don’t forget to save important links so you don’t lose any data. The best way to do this is to write it down. If you’re planning activities that might be suspect, paper is easier to destroy than files.
Start browsing using specific keywords. Check out newspaper archives (some legitimate stories are picked up by the mainstream and dropped immediately after), zine archives and alternative new sources for leads.
This guide for radical research is a little outdated but has the same basic principles that are still used today.
Source-watch also has a great guide about researching front groups for corporations.
This guide details how to research your campus’s military ties and corporate affiliations.
Research corporations with this interactive guide from Corp-watch.
The Montreal working group Radical Reference has an extensive list of activist research resources arranged by subject. From zine libraries to feminist fact checking resources, the virtual reference shelf will have something to peak your interests.