The project primarily employs archival research, supplementing this with contextual analysis and oral history. The aim is to conduct close research in a range of collections with the aim of charting and analysing the conduct of production companies which operated in both a domestic and an international context. There are two main centres and a range of additional public and private holdings. The first centre is the Cineteca di Bologna, Italy, which is a project partner. The second centre is the Cineteca Lucana in Basilicata. For more information on these archives, along with other collections that the project will be using, see the ‘Discoveries' page.
Contextual analysis focuses on the press, press collections, promotional material and memoirs. This material complements archival sources and sheds light on the public profile and image of producers, the way they opened up foreign markets and did deals with distributors. In Italy, the Rizzoli centro documentazione in Milan and the libraries of the Centro sperimentale in Rome and the Cineteca comunale in Bologna are the key centres, while in the UK the BFI and, in the US, the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the USC Cinematic Arts archive in Los Angeles will be consulted for press books, promotional material and various ephemera. In New York (for Balio, the 'gateway' to the American market), the New York Public Library's Research Collections and the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center hold many documents from the US offices of ANICA and IFA, as well as advertising agency scrapbooks.
Oral history is employed to gather testimonies from thirteen producers (including Alberto Grimaldi and Marina Cicogna), executive producers, producers' former collaborators and producers' children; three directors (Bertolucci, the Taviani brothers, Montaldo); six actors and three former press agents. Stephen Gundle has previously conducted an oral history project relating to Italian media and is leading the training of other team members.