This multidisciplinary volume demonstrates how Freedom of Information (FOI) law and processes can contribute to social science research design across sociology, criminology, political science, anthropology, journalism and education. Comparing the use of FOI in research design across the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and South Africa, it provides readers with resources to carry out FOI requests and considers the influence such requests can have on debates within multiple disciplines. In addition to exploring how scholars can use FOI disclosures in conjunction with interview data, archival data and other datasets, this collection explains how researchers can systematically analyse FOI disclosures. Considering the challenges and dilemmas in using FOI processes in research, it examines the reasons why many scholars continue to rely on more easily accessible data, when much of the real work of governance, the more clandestine but consequential decisions and policy moves made by government officials, can only be accessed using FOI requests.

chapter |10 pages


Freedom of Information and research design in international perspective
ByKevin Walby, Alex Luscombe

part 1|2 pages

Freedom of Information and research design

chapter 1|11 pages

Designing research using FOI requests in the USA

ByEmily J.M. Knox, Shannon M. Oltmann, Chris Peterson

chapter 2|14 pages

Accessing information in South Africa

ByToerien van Wyk

chapter 3|12 pages

UK experience of Freedom of Information as a method of enquiry

ByKeith Spiller, Andrew Whiting

chapter 4|23 pages

Using FOI to explore governance and decision-making in the UK

ByMike Sheaff

part 2|2 pages

Freedom of Information and research design

chapter 5|11 pages

Freedom of Information and Australian criminology

ByIan Warren

chapter 6|16 pages

Accessing information in a nascent technology industry

Tracing Canadian drone stakeholders and negotiating access
ByCiara Bracken-Roche

chapter 7|19 pages

Using Continual FOI requests to uncover the live archive

Tracking protest policing in the USA
ByPierce Greenberg

part 3|2 pages

Freedom of Information

chapter 8|15 pages

Piecing it together, studying public–private partnerships

Freedom of Information as oligoptic technologies
ByDebra Mackinnon

chapter 9|17 pages

Researching the complexities of knowledge contestations and occupational disease recognition

FOI requests in multi-method qualitative research design
ByChristine Pich

chapter 10|16 pages

Repertoires of empirical social science and freedom of information requests

Four techniques for analysing disclosures
ByKevin Walby, Alex Luscombe

part 4|2 pages

Freedom of Information and research design

chapter 11|18 pages

Analysing public policy in the UK

Seeing through the secrecy, obfuscation and obstruction of the FOIA by the Home Office
ByJohn R. Campbell

chapter 12|12 pages

A double-edged sword?

Freedom of Information as a method in social research
ByHannah Bows

chapter 13|38 pages

The falling currency of democracy

Information as an instrument of control and certainty in the postwar and post-truth eras 1
BySean Holman