Sign up to our newsletter

Advanced Research for Writers

The course

Dive deep to find the truth online.

Our one-day live online workshop equips you with the professional Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) skills you need to add authenticity to your stories, accuracy to your fact-checking and open up new worlds of information and intelligence.

Practise cyberspace safely and master the privacy tools to cover your tracks and guard your personal information.

This short intensive training is for novelists who need to travel back in time, journalists looking for a ‘pure’ search, researchers operating across languages – and anyone needing a cyber-toolkit for the 21st century.

Our workshop runs on UK time, however, everything is embedded and archived so you can access our digital campus 24/7.


Adam Lebor

Meet your course director

Adam LeBor

Adam LeBor is an author, journalist and veteran former foreign correspondent for several national newspapers. He teaches Open Source Intelligence at the Financial Times, Citywire and for the Society of Authors. Adam is also the author of several critically acclaimed investigative books.

How it works

We give you the theory in the form of videos, podcasts, written lectures and reading extracts. In the case of our live workshops, this includes a live online seminar.

You put it into practice by completing the writing assignments.

You share your work with the small group of fellow writers and the teaching team.

Your tutor and fellow learners read your work and give professional-style feedback on your submission. Giving feedback notes helps to build your skills as an editor - a critical part of the writing process.

You reflect on the exercises with the group and share what you’ve learned.

You use what you learned from the feedback and discussions to review your work and improve it.

Things to know

This workshop is suitable for writers and editors working in fiction and non-fiction, and anyone who wants to take their research skills to the next level.

It’s also for journalists and researchers looking for greater control and deeper dive access with their internet searches.

It’s suitable if you:

  • Write fiction and would like new sources and ideas to enrich your writing, and access to hidden archives of images and historical documents
  • Write non-fiction or journalism, and require more accurate and authentic sources of detail and ways to check facts
  • Would like to become a more efficient and informed researcher or fact-checker, with simple new tools for increased control with maximum privacy
  • Are intrigued by news stories on OSINT reporting, and want to find out more
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of online learners
  • Can dedicate 10am-4.30pm (UK time) to participate in the live workshop.

This professional development training allows you to:

  • Gain the know-how to make internet searches more efficient and accurate
  • Understand how to carry out ‘pure’ searches outside the big tech eco systems
  • Explore ways to get beyond fake news and the same old info served up to everyone
  • Learn how to travel back in time in cyberspace via the Wayback Machine
  • Operate in any language through Google Translate
  • Use search strings to take your research to a new level
  • Conduct reverse image searches to find out more about places and people
  • Guard your privacy and security and stop you and your data being commoditised
  • Use privacy-based search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage, and privacy-based browsers like Brave and Vivaldi
  • Explore instant disposable email addresses and Virtual Private Networks
  • Develop an understanding of the professional skills researchers require (eg discipline, attention to detail, ability to work to deadlines)
  • Build greater independence, autonomy and critical judgment as you work on a final assignment.

Each course is divided into sessions. These sessions are released one by one (weekly or fortnightly, depending on the course). 

There’s no need to log on at a set time. You can work through the learning materials whenever suits you, day or night, wherever you are in the world. Just complete the assignments and join forum discussions by the session deadline. 

Our teaching method is based on the science of active learning: you read/listen/watch, try out, share and reflect. It’s a social experience – you become part of a small group, feeding back on each other’s writing to build a supportive bunch of readers you trust. Find out more here.

Morning session –

  • 10am – Zoom lecture, exercises and discussion in breakout rooms.
  • 11.15am – Mid-morning break
  • 11.30am – Zoom lecture, exercises and discussion in breakout rooms.
  • 12-30pm – Q&A with Adam.
  • At the end of the morning, Adam sets 2 practical research tasks for you to complete this afternoon.
  • 1-2pm lunch

Afternoon session –

  • 2pm – Welcome back and more information on the research tasks.
  • 3.15pm – Guided breakout discussion in small groups of 3-5.
  • 3.30pm – Mid-afternoon break
  • 3.45pm – Adam reveals how he did the exercises, takes final questions and wraps up.
  • 4.30pm – Session ends.
  • You’ll conduct some guided research tasks in this session, and have the chance to share your work with the group and engage in peer feedback. After the course ends, your tutor will give individual feedback on your research tasks in the course forum.

Join our alumni community 

After your course, you can join our online alumni community – a friendly group of writers supporting each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing. There’s no cost for this. It’s easy to access via the online classroom, where you can:

  • Revisit all your courses materials, including tutor notes, feedback, videos, podcasts and forum posts
  • Rejoin your classmates, and continue working together in a private space
  • Meet alumni from other courses to find beta-readers and share work on our critiquing forum
  • Network with other writers working in your genre or area of interest
  • Take part in regular ‘sit and write’ Zoom sessions, to push forward with your work-in progress
  • Join our monthly live alumni events with our expert tutors and industry guests, including agents, editors, publishers, competition and festival organisers, and prizewinning writers

Taking things further

If you’d like to continue on to another Professional Writing Academy course, please get in touch for more details.

The team

Meet your course team

Adam Lebor

Adam LeBor

OSINT Maestro

Adam LeBor is an author, journalist and veteran former foreign correspondent for several national newspapers. He teaches Open Source Intelligence at the Financial Times, Citywire and for the Society of Authors. Adam is also the author of several critically acclaimed investigative books.

More about Adam LeBor

More courses

Looking for something different?

With CPD accreditation / New Writing North

Write Better At Work

Communicate clearly and confidently in everything you write at work.