Whether your investigation requires you to have knowledge of public records access in Ohio, statistical validation on current financial trends in Southeast Asia, or proof of who said what in a news media clip, these three websites should be in every investigator’s toolkit.
Jstor offers over 12 million scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and other primary sources in 75 disciplines. This go-to non-profit resource and research hub has United States published content dating back to 1920 and as far back as 1870 for content published in other parts of the world. In a recent search for “crime,” 595,736 entries appeared. You can narrow and refine your focus, based on your investigative needs, and is full-text searchable.
It offers search term highlighting, including images, and is interlinked by multiple citations and references. While much of the content is freely searchable, you need to subscribe and take special care to cite the source if you include it in your report. A monthly JPass subscription costs $19.50 and includes unlimited online reading access to articles and 10 downloadable PDFs; an annual JPass is discounted at $199, with unlimited online reading access to articles and 120 downloadable PDFs.
Statistics are a good way for investigators to validate their information. Statista detects trends in industries, brands, media, society, and more from over 22,500 sources. Statista employs statisticians, analysts, experts, and editors to provide a tool for researching quantitative data and statistics and their related information.
The site provides quantitative data on such subjects and markets as media, business, finance, and politics. Statista offers a Chart of the Day which focuses on Media and Technology. The information highlights the latest updated statistics from the media, Internet, telecommunications, and consumer electronics industries. Statista also focuses on the Economy and Society, which includes current data—both U.S. and global—relating to economic and political issues, as well as sports and entertainment. A monthly membership fee of $59/month opens the door to all Statista’s statistics, including 1,000,000 market and consumer data sets.
This is a handy site to use when vetting what a person said and where and when he/she said it. While searches can be done in closed captions from U.S. television news shows from 2009 to the present, the archive holds news footage from as far back as late 2000. The site holds over 4 million videos, including 1.6 million television news videos. Researchers can find special sections including Quotes, Trending Yesterday, and Special Collections.
Searches can also be filtered by networks. Searches can be run, for example, on political ads and candidate quotes from June 4, 2009 to present. Results are sorted by Relevance, Date-Most Recent, and Date-Oldest. In searching for the words made by a 2020 presidential candidate—“America does not want to witness a food fight”— results were located on CNN, Fox News, and BBC News, with dates ranging from June 27, 2019 to June 28, 2019.
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Matt and Trevor are investigative analysts at Hetherington Group, where they use their open source research skills to extract data from social media accounts, conduct risk assessments, and monitor subjects for clients in pharma, tech, retail, and entertainment. Both are contributing writers to Hg’s Data2Know, Industry Undercover, and OSINT Slack channels. On their lunch breaks, they can be found outside playing frisbee with their four-legged colleagues.