One Story Lesson Plan: Analyzing Research in an Investigative News Article

January 20, 2015 at 5:07 pm


Analyzing Research in an Investigative News Article


Using one or more of the stories in the “Other Than Honorable” project by the Colorado Springs Gazette, students will analyze how the reporter obtained information using a variety of research techniques.


  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of a variety of research techniques used in journalism and recognize the purpose of journalistic research.
  • Students will evaluate research material for validity, authenticity and objectivity.
  • Students will analyze published stories and determine the type and effectiveness of the research within stories.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.


One class period of 50 minutes

Materials / resources

Class set: Analyzing News Stories for use of Research handout

Research Assignment Rubric

“Other Than Honorable” news stories

Slideshow: Journalistic Research (optional; use as needed)

Lesson step-by-step

  1. Tap Prior Knowledge — 5 minutes

Ask students to think of the ways in which journalists, other than interviewing, would conduct research while reporting.

If necessary, use the Journalistic Research slideshow to go over different types of research that journalists use.

  1. Analyze a story activity — 30 minutes or longer

Have  students use the Analyzing Research in a News Story handout to analyze one of the four investigative news articles in the project “Other Than Honorable” from the Colorado Springs Gazette. Students should determine what research techniques were used by the reporter(s) of the story. This is primarily a reading activity and should be accomplished individually.

  1. Closure

Have a short Q&A with students about their reaction to the “Other Than Honorable” project. Try to keep focus on the reporting required to write and publish this story.  Assign the Analyzing Research in a News Story handout for homework to allow time for students to read then entire story and find 10 research examples.


Use the Research Assignment Rubric to grade the Analyzing Research handouts.


For students who have difficulty reading on computers, copies of one or more of the stories in the Other Than Honorable series may be printed out. Beginners may be more comfortable simply annotating a print-out and finding the attribution of sources and researched information. Additionally or as an option, students can use the videos embedded within the package to look for types of information that the reporter found using records and other research as well as interviewing.