Making a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is complicated and takes time. Use the resources of the following agencies and organizations to make your request as strong as possible. Use the resources on the Declassified Documents page of this guide to verify that the documents you need have not already been released.
Federal agencies are required to provide an electronic reading room for materials released in response to FOIA requests. For those agencies not linked below, try this search in google:
"electronic reading room" site:agencyurl | for example: "electronic reading room" site:fbi.gov
If you need to contact an Illinois state agency about FOIA and they are not listed at the link above, try a google search structured as follows (substitute the name of the agency of interest where "public health" is used in this example):
"freedom of information act" site:illinois.gov "public health"
The Congressional Research Service provides the following reports explaining the scope and limitations of FOIA and related legislation which clarify the extent of transparency in governance.
Reviews the provisions of four legislative acts which provide access to government information, the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, the Government in the Sunshine Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
Sheffner, Daniel J. (2020, August 24). The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): A Legal Overview (R46238). Congressional Research Service.
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). (2021, January). Freedom of Information Act: Update on Federal Agencies’ Use of Exemption Statutes, GAO-21-148.