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?
FIND AND ORGANIZE
- 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.
EVALUATE FOR ACCURACY AND FAIRNESS
- 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 AND CREATE
- 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: