🛠 Using this toolkit

There are five 🗃️Approaches that you can take to your research. Each Approach contains a number of 🛠️Methods, which include step-by-step instructions for applying them to your own context.

You can combine different methods and approaches. Some will be more appropriate than others, depending on the kind of job or specific workplace.

You don’t need to use all of these methods to do effective research. Nor does your research need to be incredibly thorough or extensive. Even small interventions can generate useful, transformative knowledge. Use what you think will be most engaging and productive in your context.

🔮 Workers' inquiries

This toolkit builds upon the rich history of worker organising. Throughout the twentieth century, workers looked to generate knowledge about their working environment as a means to understand and, ultimately, to transform it. This broad array of techniques and tools have subsequently become known as workers' inquiries.

This site brings together a range of inquiry techniques, distilled to their most accessible form, with links to relevant materials for those who want to dig further.

🤔 Isn’t this just sociology?

The key difference is that these methods are based on the idea that workers themselves have a unique perspective of their own labour. Rather than being observed from the outside by academics and researchers, or from above by management, the knowledge of workers’ inquiry is produced by the workers themselves. This can lend it an engaged, concrete character that might otherwise be restricted by academic constraints or the need to appease superiors.

👁‍🗨 Accessibility

Access Guide was created in Notion, a note-taking and documentation tool.

We know parts of Notion aren’t fully accessible, for example:

  • Low contrast on certain elements such as search and filter buttons
  • Placeholder text used on user inputs (such as the search bar) rather than permanent label
  • No skip link for screen readers to skip navigation
  • No visible focus state, only hover state
If you experience any accessibility issues, please report them by reaching out to Notion help & support.

🤝 About the project

This project is a joint initiative between Autonomy and Common Knowledge.

Autonomy is an independent think tank that provides necessary analyses, proposals and solutions with which to confront the changing reality of work today. Our aim is to promote real freedom, equality and human flourishing above all.

Common Knowledge is a not-for-profit worker cooperative. We are interested in the intersection of grassroots activism, autonomous organisational practices and digital technology. We design and build digital tools in direct collaboration with organisers.

Research consultancy by Patrick Carmichael

Illustrations by Andrew Beltran

Supported by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn trust