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JOUR 11200: Investigative Journalism

Beat Reporting using Library Guides

Library Guides will point out they key resources in a particular field of study.  If you are on a particular beat, you can use the guides to get started.

Research Method

The following method is loosely based upon a document: Information Literacy Competency Standards for Journalism Students and Professionals.(pdf).   

You can also refer to the following book from Investigative Reporters and Editors:

Houston, B., & Investigative Reporters Editors, Inc. (2009). The investigative reporter's handbook : A guide to documents, databases and techniques (5th ed. / [edited by] Brad Houston. ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.


  • What information do you need? What is your story idea?
  • Identify what sources are best to use for your story
  • How will the information be obtained? How much will it cost? How long will it take to obtain it?


  • Create your research strategy. 
  • Make a consultation appointment with Cathy!
  • Accessing information may include using Interlibrary loan, checking out a book, and accessing primary resources.
  • As you work you'll add and subtract information as needed. New questions will emerge.
  • Keep your information organized in a reporters notebook.  Keep citations in Zotero or Google documents or a system that works for you.


  • Summarize your information.
  • Access the credibility of your sources and double check all facts.
  • Recognize the cultural, organizational, historical, political and other contexts of the information gathered.
  • Synthesize the information "big picture" and identify additional information based on related ideas or contexts.
  • Consider how the new knowledge found compares to what was previously written.
  • Check public sentiment and expert opinions.
  • Re-focus the story as needed.


  • Draft the story based on guidelines (ex. AP) and media outlet.
  • Quote from you research and paraphrase as needed.  Support claims with data and research.

Follow professional guidlines by the SPJ, Poynter, NPPA, RNTDA and others:

Journalism Organizations

Cathy Michael

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Cathy Michael
Ithaca College Library 953 Danby Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850‑7002