Tips for Gathering Information and Data for Journalism Dissertation Topics
As a journalism graduate student you should approach your journalism dissertation with the same energy and focus you would apply to any of your journalistic writings. This means you should focus on obtaining the truth, uncovering information and data that was previously unknown, and putting together a full list of documentation that supports your position or argument.
Here are a few tips for gathering information and data for your dissertation:
- Find trusted journalistic websites: Trusted sources can be found at a few select websites online. You should be able to verify the list of approved websites with your advisor. These websites are information hubs, sharing valuable facts for journalists around the world to present clear and compelling evidence in their work. Generally, each website will have ample contact information for you to conduct further background research to verify the information that has been provided.
- Government websites: Official government websites are an excellent source of finding information about the world’s nations. Developed countries in particular will have a number of websites dealing with specific information – for example, agriculture, census, education – that provides approved context upon which you can base your opinion or argument. The websites are updated monthly, quarterly, and annually, depending on the topic, and will usually post addendums or corrections when they have been found.
- Personal interviews: You may choose a dissertation topic that requires a certain amount of interviewing. Your interviews should be limited to knowledgeable people such as experts, law enforcement, witness, managers, politicians, etc. and only if they can provide firsthand accounts of an event. Generally, one can use a previously published interview (with citation of course) but it’s generally discouraged because reprinted interviews can sometimes be taken out of context.
- Observation: Another great way of collecting data for your journalism dissertation is to report on information you gather first hand by observing events, attending speeches or lectures, and by conducting your own experiments and tests. One of the facets of journalism is being able to take an objective approach when reporting. Objectivity begins at the point when information is being gathered and ends with the information that is reported in writing.
- Checking facts: While it seems that checking facts after a story has been reported on in the media, it’s not customary for media outlets to employ people solely to check facts after the matter. A great tip, then, in writing your journalism dissertation is making sure the information and data you gather is still correct and current. This is at the core of journalism and should be a habit you employ in your entire academic and professional career.