The Classroom

Tools
Our Approach

Tools and Techniques

The Pearl Project is an advanced hands-on research project that applies the tools and techniques of in-depth reporting and research. The Pearl Project follows a scientific model toward conducting an investigation, working both as a individual researchers and as part of a team. We use advanced reporting methods of collecting evidence, including Freedom of Information Act requests, public records, database searches, interviewing and other techniques.

This Pearl Project is intended to be extremely practical, while at the same time causing researchers to think deeply about the issues we explore and why we study them. The Pearl Projects is immersed in the practice of investigative journalism and research.

Goals

Apply strategies for gathering and analyzing information, and developing background information. Pearl Project members apply the research and analysis techniques of in-depth research and reporting, investigative journalism and narration techniques used in in-depth news writing and reporting.

Goals for Investigative Research:

  • Go beyond the day-to-day journalism done at most newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets.
  • Gather information by using documents and databases, interviewing more effectively and getting out into the field.
  • Use primary and secondary sources including people sources, paper sources, electronic documents and databases, both online and offline.
  • Organize research materials and then write a compelling narrative that covers not only the who, what, when and where, but also the why, the how and the “so what?”
Format

The Pearl Project is an advanced hands-on project in learning the tools and techniques of in-depth investigations. Students will follow a scientific model, working as individual researchers and as part of a team. We will use advanced investigative methods of collecting evidence, including Freedom of Information Act requests, public records, database searches, interviewing and other techniques.

This course is intended to be extremely practical, while at the same time causing you to think deeply about the stories you write and why you write them. This course will show you how to do in-depth investigative research. You will be immersed in the practice of investigative research.

After successfully completing this course, you should be capable of producing in-depth research.

Teaching Goals

Learn strategies for gathering and analyzing information, and developing background information. You will be introduced to the research and analysis techniques of in-depth research. Gain competence in the different narration techniques used in in-depth writing.

Goals for the Practice of Conducting an Investigation:

  • Go beyond the day-to-day journalism done at most newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets.
  • Gather information by using documents and databases, by interviewing more effectively, and by getting out into the field.
  • Use primary and secondary sources including people sources, paper sources, electronic documents and databases, both online and offline.
  • Organize your research materials and then write a compelling story that covers not only the who, what, when and where, but also the why, the how and the “so what?”
Reading

Books:

  • A Mighty Heart by Mariane Pearl
  • At Home in the World by Daniel Pearl
  • AP Stylebook
  • Who Killed Daniel Pearl by Bernard Henri Lévy

Articles:

  • Bomb Probe Eyes Pakistan Links Extremist May Have Influenced Reid, Boston Globe, Jan. 6, 2002, by Farah Stockman
  • Killing of Pearl Fit into Web of Radical Islam in Pakistan, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23, 2003, by Steve Levine
  • Who Really Killed Danny Pearl, Salon, Oct. 22 2003, by Asra Q. Nomani
  • Black Sites, New Yorker, August 13, 2006, by Jane Mayer.

Supplementary Reading:

  • Houston, Brant, and Len Bruzzese, Steve Weinberg. The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook — A Guide to Documents, Databases and Techniques. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002.
  • Goldstein, Norm, Ed. The AP Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (With Internet Guide and Glossary). New York: The Associated Press, 2005.
  • Interviewing: Stewart, Charles J. and William B. Cash Jr. Interviewing Principles and Practices. 10th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003
  • Survey Research: Alreck, Pamela L. and Robert B. Settle. The Survey Research Handbook. 3rd Ed. Chicago: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2004.
  • Writing Feature Stories: Friedlander, Edward Jay and John Lee. Feature Writing for Newspapers and Magazines. 5th Ed. New York: Longman, 2004.
  • Photojournalism: Horton, Brian. Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism – 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
  • Online Journalism: Craig, Richard. Online Journalism: Reporting, Writing, and Editing for New Media. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth-Thomson Learning, 2005. Foust, James C. Principles and Practices of News for the Web. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers, 2005.
  • Research Methods: Leedy, Paul D. Practical Research: Planning and Design. 8th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall, 2005.
  • Creswell, John W. Research Design: Qualitative & Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2002.
  • Hult, Christine A. Research and Writing Across the Curriculum. 3rd Ed. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon Longman, 2006.
  • Lester, James D. and James D. Lester Jr. Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide. 11th Ed. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon Longman, 2004.
  • Taylor, George R. Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Research. Lanham, MD:University Press of America, 2000.
  • Kennedy, Shirley Duglin. Best Bet Internet: Reference and Research When You Don’t Have Time to Mess Around. Chicago: American Library Association Editions, 1998.
  • Literature Review: Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1999.
  • Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From Paper to the Internet. 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004.

Supplementary Reading on Pakistan:

  • Ghost Wars by Steve Coll
  • In the Line of Fire by Pervez Musharraf
  • Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West by Benazir Bhutto
  • Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism by Hassan Abbas