Know Your Enemy: Practical Research Training

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Image says Know Your Enemy, practical research training with Corporate Watch

Do you have a problem with a company or industry and want to know more about it? Do you feel frustrated not knowing how to find the info you need? Do you want to fight back more effectively but get overwhelmed trying to find things online? Do you wish you could get a step ahead and finally find contracts and government plans before they hit the headlines?

The Know Your Enemy online course is designed for you. Whether you are a single mum fighting a landlord, a worker challenging your boss, part of a grassroots movement or campaign,  a student campaigner or a freelance writer – this course is designed to give you the practical skills you need to ‘Know Your Enemy’.

What will I learn?

This self-paced, online training, through a series of video tutorials, gives you practical skills to be able to:

  • Get clear and organised – know what you need to research and how
  • Research securely – learn simple tactics for online security
  • Use search engines effectively – prevent overwhelm and find the info you need faster
  • Build a company profile – mapping its ownership to the highest level
  • Find directors, board members and other key players – find out who pulls the strings
  • Find shareholders
  • Read company accounts – learn simple strategies for cutting through the jargon and finding the information you need quickly
  • Find government contracts
  • Connect the dots between lobbyists, companies and politicians – know how to find donations to political parties and more
  • Write and submit a Freedom of Information request
  • Map out company supply chains and get industry insight about risks and vulnerabilities
  • Undertake offline research – from speaking to workers to physical surveillance of factories
  • Write up and share your research with the world

Why learn with Corporate Watch?

Corporate Watch has been providing high quality, research, investigations and training to support those fighting for change since 1996.

We’ve supported hundreds of grassroots groups find the information they need for action – from people resisting deportation to communities fighting coal mines. We dig out the information to support those facing corporate greed or abuse. And together, we get results. One example: industry giant Citysprint told its bike couriers it couldn’t afford to pay them the living wage. We combed through company accounts to find they were paying millions out to their owners. Armed with this new info, the couriers won a pay rise.

Thousands of people have used our Investigating Companies: A Do-It-Yourself Handbook, published in 2014, and we have trained hundreds more through our ‘Do It Yourself’ workshops and courses. We’ve used our experience sharing these important skills to expand our DIY training programme with this new, accessible format to support people skilling up to learn about – and challenge – corporate power and abuse.

Commonly Asked Questions

There is no deadline for enrolment. However, we may need to occasionally pause access to the course due to team members being off work (holidays, sickness etc). This will not affect people who have already started the course.

There is no deadline – the course is self-paced and you can fit it around your own schedule. 

This course is 'unsupported' in the sense that we are not offering it live in the same way that we do with our bespoke training. For example, where learners can ask questions during our sessions and where we can assist them in specific company research. If you are interested in this more supported route and bespoke style of training, please find more information here.

For this online course, we will endeavour to answer emails from learners the best that we can. How this works is explained in our first lesson introducing the course in more detail. Please note we are a small team of part-time members with limited capacity.

Yes! We have tried to make this course as accessible as possible for beginners. Subjects are broken down into shorter lessons and we demonstrate everything we can in a practical way. We know there will be people with a wide range of skills and experiences and hope the content will be useful to different people's needs. 

The course is made up of short videos of members of Corporate Watch talking with a powerpoint and recording their screen to demonstrate practical tasks. Lessons are supplemented with handouts available to download. A glossary explains technical terms that come up through the course. 

Learners are able to 'jump around' and go to the topic of interest. However, we encourage people to work through the course systematically to help embed the learning and get to grips with research tasks. 

We encourage you to 'follow along' and build a company profile as part of undertaking the course. This is to help you get practical skills (rather than just passively consuming information). 

Yes! We are in the process of captioning and transcribing all of the course videos to make them as accessible as possible. If you have any other specific learning needs, please let us know.

Yes! The course uses very simple online software – it's like browsing a website. You will need to be able to play video, download and read different documents (such as PDFs). There are recordings of us completing tasks, like using different databases or websites. These will help you follow along at the pace that is right for you.

Yes! We recognise that many people are not part of a particular group or movement. You may be a student or writer or simply wanting to research something for your own interest. You are welcome to join the course. We recognise the diverse ways that people struggle against exploitation and challenge corporate power.

No, this course is not an academic course. It has been created to help support people learn practical skills that are useful to struggles and movements. We do introduce some ideas exploring how corporate power and capitalism work but these are not abstract theories or within an academic framework. The course does not give academic credits, however, it is a useful practical program to complement student research.

The course software only enables individual learners. However, we definitely encourage people to work through the course as a collective or group. You are welcome to all enrol as individuals and work through the content in a way that works for you.

If your group would like additional bespoke support please contact us. We have a sliding scale and are able to offer free support to grassroots groups and paid support to funded organisations. We find the learning comes alive when it is directly relevant to a campaign or people's lives e.g. researching their bosses or landlords.

At the moment bespoke sessions take place over Zoom or other platforms. However, we hope to be able to do them face to face again in the future when safe to do so.