Advanced Internet Research for Writers Workshop 


Does your search engine control your research? How do you stop your data being commoditised? Learn the professional investigate skills you need to search the internet truly effectively and uncover the hidden treasures of cyberspace. 

You’ll equip yourself with tools that open up whole new worlds of information in cyberspace, digging deeper than you thought possible to reveal the secrets of the internet. You’ll release the powers of little-known search engines and take your use of Google to a new level.

At the same time you will practise navigating cyberspace safely, mastering the privacy tools and techniques you need to cover your tracks and guard your personal data.

If you’re a novelist who wants to travel back in time, a researcher who needs to operate in different languages, or a journalist looking for a ‘pure’ search, not what big tech thinks you want, this short intensive course is for you.

The workshop is led by bestselling thriller writer Adam LeBor, a veteran former foreign correspondent, investigative author and OSINT trainer for the Financial Times and Society of Authors.

You will work alongside a group of like-minded writers and researchers to build your cyber-toolkit and hone your research skills using practical exercises and investigative tasks to mine rich seams of information and intelligence – and gain essential life skills for the 21st century.

No technical knowledge or special equipment required.
NB This is not about the dark web. Everything covered is legitimate and in the public domain.



Course Director

This is my first experience of online learning and it was so much better than I expected it to be. Evidently a lot of work went into the production of the session. I’m really grateful to have this quality of input when feeling very disconnected from the world.

Course participant, 2019

It’s incredible that such an amount of information was delivered via Zoom so personally and amiably. I felt that this was a community of people who share similar issues to mine and it helped to clarify some issues I was facing with my writing.

Course participant, 2020

By the end of the course you will understand how to:

  • make every internet search more efficient and accurate
  • carry out ‘pure’ searches outside the big tech eco systems
  • get beyond the same old info you’re served up at the moment
  • bypass fake news and counter truth decay
  • 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
  • use instant disposable email addresses and Virtual Private Networks
  • download and safely store the information you find.

Timetable for the workshop

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.
  • 3.30 Mid-afternoon break
  • 3.45pm Adam reveals how he did the exercises, takes final questions and wraps up.
  • 4.30pm Session ends.

This workshop is suitable for writers and editors working in all genres and formats who want to take their research skills to the next level, and 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
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of online learners
  • Can dedicate 10am-4.30pm to participate in the live workshop

This one-day online interactive workshop will take place as a live Zoom lecture in our online classroom. You'll learn in a group of up to 25 participants with one specialist tutor and a dedicated moderator. 

Teaching includes: 

  • Interactive Zoom lectures
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • Breakout discussions in small groups
  • Practical exercises to put the theory into practice
  • Downloadable tutor documents
  • Healthy screen breaks throughout the day 


You will need a laptop or computer* with:

  • A reliable broadband internet connection
  • Speakers or headphones
  • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge or Safari
  • Access to Zoom video conferencing platform
  • A notebook and pen or pencil if you like to make notes by hand

* You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join our alumni

After the workshop we will enrol you into an alumni area where you can continue to access an archive of the course materials and captured video lectures. You can share ideas with your group here, in a private forum. Many people use this space to read and feed back on their fellow participants’ tasks after the workshop has ended.

Taking things further

If you'd like to continue on to another course or workshop, we'll give you a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

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