Due Diligence and Research

Due diligence is a term that is commonly used in the context of commercial transactions. It refers to the need for both parties involved in the transaction to apprise themselves with all the facts through proper investigation to ensure that the deal is worth going through. This involves doing research to discover all the facts from various reports and documents. According to the Small Business Encyclopedia, “Due diligence is a program of critical analysis that companies undertake prior to making business decisions in such areas as corporate mergers/acquisitions or major product purchases/sales.

The reason for bringing in this term here is to remind you that choosing an issue or a problem of public interest in which you wish to get involved is only the first step. Before plunging in you must thoroughly familiarize yourself with what you are up against; what all has already been done and what has been the experience of others who are or have been involved in it. All possible sources of information need to be tapped, such as, the Internet, filing RTI petitions, meeting or talking to other activists, going through media reports and so on. It is like going into a war with appropriate equipment and plan based on the full knowledge about the enemy’s plans and preparedness.

Develop a set of questions that you want to answer. Here’s some you might want to use

  • What makes this issue unique and important to address?
  • Who is most affected by the issue and why?
  • How does this issue differ locally, nationally, regionally and globally?
  • What different approaches have been taken to understand and tackle the issue?
  • What groups are currently working on addressing the issue? (consider different sectors such as government, corporations, non-profit organizations, youth groups, United Nations agencies, etc.)