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Studying your opponents:

___Gives you up-to-date knowledge of the opponent's positions on the issue

___Tells you why the opponent is taking those positions

___Tells you what strategies and tactics the opponent has used in the past

Knowledge about opponents is useful to:

___Identify potential problems earlier on, and sort them out before they become bigger problems

___Help you find ways to negotiate

___Help you develop successful strategies and tactics

With regard to the timing of research:

___Studying the opponent should be an ongoing process

___Your opponents’ position may change over time; your response may need to change as well

Studying can be either informal or formal. Informal methods may include:

___Keeping your eyes and ears open

___Looking at your opponent's previous activities and campaigns

___Reading their in-house publications and annual reports

___Talking to organizations and individuals who have dealt with your opponents in the past

Studying individuals may involve:

___Finding out where they live and work

___Finding out how and where they manage financial transactions

___Identifying their advisors

Studying agencies, companies or organizations may involve:

___Finding out their past records and tactics

___Finding out about their resources, strengths, and weaknesses

___Identifying their principle decision makers

___Finding out how much power they have, and why they are opposing you

A formal, tactical investigation may be necessary:

___If the opponent is powerful

___If the opponent may be willing to act forcefully

A formal investigation may involve the following steps:

___Develop an investigation plan

___Gather the information

___Think like your opponent

___Use the information

Information can be gathered:

___Through informants with an interest in the issue

___Through "freedom of information" laws

___Through published sources of information

Among published sources of information are:

___Business and trade publications

___Clipping files

___Reference works

___Government files on businesses

___Voting records

___Court records

Gathering information about an opponent may involve some ethically questionable tactics. Groups should balance the benefits of these tactics against:

___Their own sense of what is ethically permissible

___The risk of getting caught

___The risk that the opponent would also adopt hardball tactics

Thinking like the opponent will help a group:

___Predict what that opponent will do next

___Predict how the opponent would react to specific tactics

Studying their opponent can help advocacy groups:

___Plan actions that will be most effective

___Publicize the opponent's weaknesses

___Perhaps act as whistle-blower, and seek legal redress