Following the Watergate scandal that destroyed Richard Nixon’s presidency, a flood of people wanted into the journalism profession. With the leaks and reports coming out during today’s election season Opposition Research (OPPO) may prove to be a very attractive – if unexplored– field for many, as journalism was after Watergate.
OPPO is one of five major, distinct but similar, areas within major job fields.
- Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) of Intelligence and Law Enforcement
- Computer-assisted Reporting (CaR) of Journalism
- Information Literacy (IL) of Library Science
- Competitive or Competitor Intelligence (CI) of Business
- Opposition Research (OPPO) of politics and political science
Other fields, such as law and lawyers also use versions of it.
The various fields try to institutionalize the knowledge – create unique knowledge sets that apply to their own field – and that is part of the problem. They lack the overall view, and the tools and techniques that come with all of the other fields. All the fields have strengths and each has its weaknesses. By looking at all the fields and filling the weaknesses of one by using the strengths of the others theresearchschool.com is creating a much more robust capability in all the fields – including OPPO.
For those who want to independently explore only OPPO we can recommend: We’re with Nobody by Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian. This is a book of case studies. While it is not a how-to book, it does offer a good look at the field and shows some of the techniques that are useful. The Opposition Research Handbook by Larry Zilliox is more of a manual on how to conduct OPPO research using a computer. How Do Private Eyes Do That? by Colleen Collins is not strictly OPPO, but has some useful material that would-be political opposition researchers may find useful.
Mark Monday at theresearchschool.com