Step 6: Verify Your Data

Verifying — or fact-checking — your data is essential for compiling evidence and for ensuring that the community is engaged and aware of the content of the report.

Verify your data by presenting the information and findings in your draft report to affected people in a form they can easily understand. Check with them that each piece of information is accurate. Following the verification session, make any necessary corrections and clarifications to your draft. You can also use the sessions as an opportunity to collect any missing information or to obtain additional quotes and case studies.

Consider whether or not it is a good idea to send the draft report to the company and/or government authorities at this stage to obtain their feedback. Although this is an important part of verifying information and ensuring your report is unbiased, you may need to weigh this against security concerns and the likelihood that the company and government will contribute constructively to the fact-finding process.

You should consider whether sending the government and company the draft report will be beneficial or detrimental to your advocacy efforts. If you send them the draft, their communication staff will have plenty of time to influence media coverage of the final report, and this could mean that the launch of the report loses some of its impact. However, if you do not send them the draft for feedback and include their response in the report, they may use this against you by trying to discredit the findings as one-sided.