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Power Structure Research

A Collection of Social Science Research Tools for Assisting Progressive Social Change

Power Structure Research is an analytical model that focuses on the durable institutions, structures, and systems of power rather than the specific individuals in power at any given moment is history. It emerged as a major model for investigative work by radical and progressive social and political movements in the tumultuous 1960s.

Networking information with these allied sites:

Political Research Associates (PRA)
Boston Institute for Non-Profit Journalism (BINJ)
Imagine 2050 | Center for New Community (CNC)
Research for Progress (RFP)
Building Human Rights WebNet (BHR)
Progressive Movements Commons (PMC)

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Power concedes nothing without a demand.
It never did and it never will....

Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress....

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are [people] who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.

--Frederick Douglass
The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies."
Speech, Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857
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Under Construction: Links that do not work are being built behind the scenes...Send in ideas and links! c {dot} berlet {at} researchforprogress {dot} org. Or ask to help build this site as an approved editor with full editing rights! (Alex Jones and his ilk need not apply)

  • Power Structure Research is a method of analysis based on criticizing unfair systems, structures, and institutions in society. This analytical tool is used by many researchers to study social, political, economic, and cultural practices that create, expand, defend, or restore inequalities of power and privilege based on race, gender, or class.
  • Power Structure Research unveils the social costs of corporate activities in terms of work, government policies, the quality of life, and the sustainability of a healthy planet.
  • Power Structure Research rejects conspiracy theory and does not consider conspiracism a useful form of analysis. Any analytical model that inspects the systems, structures, and institutions in society can contribute to our understanding of how power actually is exercised in society


Conservative Transparency








Training Guides at Data Center

An Introduction to Research Justice aims to build the capacity of grassroots organizers and community members and better equip marginalized communities to reclaim, own, and wield all forms of knowledge and information.
Data Feud is tool used to share statistics, survey results and quantitative data in a fun and engaging way.
Creating Surveys is a participatory research toolkit on how to do community surveys to support social justice campaigns.
Getting Public Records
Researching Corporations
Researching Individuals
High and Dry in the Smoggy Skies…? Overcoming the Challenges in Capturing Air Toxics 411! (2004)
Challenging the FTAA, NAFTA & the WTO: A Community Research Toolkit (2003)
It’s Your Right to Know: A Research Guide on Juvenile Justice in California (2003)

Citizen Journalism Guides

Investigative Reporting and Research

Citizen Journalism for Progressive Activists

Developed by Chip Berlet, Holly Sklar, and Abby Scher for Z Magazine

Tools of the Craft

Fact Checking
Getting Started - Keeping Current
Don't Limit Your Audience
How to Interview
Protecting Your Sources
What is Investigative Journalism?
The Muckraking Tradition
Using Style Sheets for Publication
Power Structure Research

Basics of Responsible Journalism

Fairness and Accuracy rather than "Objectivity"
Ethics for Journalists
Alternative Journalism Issues
Citizen Journalists, Progressive Journalists, and Movement Journalists
Legal Stuff

Defamation, Libel, Slander, etc.
Copyright & Intellectual Property

Conspiracism is not Journalism

Other Guides

American Press Institute: Journalism Essentials

Public Journalism Project

Glossary of Terms


More Links

G. William Domhoff

Power Structure Research and the Hope for Democracy
Power in America
Power at the Local Level
Teaching Power
Theories of Power
Power Elite Database
Social Change

Val Burris

Internet Guide to Power Structure Research
Policy Formation

Selected Reliable Progressive Research Organizations

Some of these groups view themselves as progressive, while others do broad-based work in defense of democracy, justice, Constitutional rights, or human rights.

American Civil Liberties Union
Applied Research Center is now Race Forward
Brennan Center for Justice
Campaign Finance Information Center
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Defense Information (now part of the Project on Government Oversight)
[Center for Democratic Renewal (Closed)]
Center for Media and Democracy

ALEC Exposed
Progressive Magazine
PR Watch
Publice School Shakedown
[http://www.SourceWatch.org Source Watch

Center for National Security Studies

Center for Responsive Politics
Center for New Community
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Children’s Defense Fund
Citizens for Tax Justice
Data Center
Defending Dissent Foundation
Economic Policy Institute
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
[Institute for Defense & Disarmament Studies (offline)]
Institute for Policy Studies
Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
National Council for Research on Women is now re:gender
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force & Policy Institute

National Security Archives
Open Secrets(Center for Responsive Politics)
Political Research Associates
Project on Government Oversight
Project South
Public Campaign
Race Forward (formerly Applied Research Center)
re:gender (formerly National Council for Research on Women)
Sentencing Project
United for a Fair Economy
Urban Institute

Resources from Various Movements for Democracy and Human Rights

Building Human Rights
Building Our Planet
Building Democracy
Building Economic Justice
Building Equality
Building Gender Justice
Building Immigrant Rights
Building Liberty
Building Public Education
Building Racial Justice
Building World Peace

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Amnesty International Human Rights Search
Human Rights Watch
US Human Rights Network
Open Democracy
Teaching for Change
Rethinking Schools
Zinn Education Project

How Maps Change the World Civil Liberties Hall of Fame
What are the Tools of Fear?
How to do Power Structure Research
Why Conspiracism Undermines Democracy
How Apocalyptic Aggression Builds Bigotry

History of Power Structure Research