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A bookshelf onPlease send your suggestions and read the CAR syllabi.
news research & statistics
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- Philip Meyer, Precision Journalism: A Reporter's Introduction to Social Science Methods, 2002. (See link there for the hardcover edition.) Updated version of Meyer's 1973 book, without which we wouldn't have most of the others on this list. As Meyer wrote, "If you are a journalist, or thinking of becoming one, you may have already noticed this: They are raising the ante on what it takes to be a journalist." The previous version is available free on the Web.
- Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, 2001. A provocative and thrilling description of why we're doing this.
- James S. Ettema and Theodore L. Glasser, Custodians of Conscience: Investigative Journalism and Public Virture, 1998. (Not a how-to book, but a careful examination of the assumptions and methods of investigative reporters.)
- Bruce Garrison, Computer-Assisted Reporting, 2nd Ed., 1998. The most comprehensive text on computer-assisted reporting. Garrison takes readers into newsrooms to see how computers are being used every day to gather news, and why. A professor at the University of Miami, Garrison gives many story examples, and interviews many journalists. This is not a "click here" book. Chapters in this 487-page paperback edition: The Next Wave; Using Personal Computers; Online Information; Online and CD-ROM Databases; Using the Internet; Government Databases; Accessing Public Databases; Portable CAR; News Research; Word Processors and Personal Information Managers; Merging Data Analysis With News Stories; Building and Editing Databases; Spreadsheets and Basic Data Analysis; Relational Databases and Mapping; Statistics and Advanced Analysis; Survey Research as CAR; the Computer-Literate Journalist.
- Brant Houston, Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide, 2nd Ed., 1999. Probably the most widely used text on CAR, with clear, step-by-step instructions by Brant Houston, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and a professor at the University of Missouri. Especially strong on spreadsheets, databases and acquiring government data. Touches on online research, statistical software and mapping. Chapters in this 224-page, spiral-bound paperback: High-Tech Journalism: What Computer-Assisted Reporting Is and Why Journalists Need to Use It; Computer Basics: Translating the Technical into the Practical; Spreadsheets: Conquering Numbers; Database Managers: Going from the Rolodex to Matchmaking; Mapping: Finding Patterns and Illustrating the Point; A Few Words About Statistics: A Brief Foray Into Social Research Tools; Getting Stories By Going Online: Searching, Finding, and Downloading; Obtaining Databases: Locating, Negotiating and Importing; Dirty Data: Pitfalls and Solutions; Getting Going: Strategies for Stories.
- Nora Paul, ed., When Nerds and Words Collide: Reflections on the Development of Computer Assisted Reporting, 1999. A 52-page collection of 23 essays by many of the leading practitioners and educators in computer-assisted reporting. Available from the Poynter Institute, (888) 769-6837 or e-mail to email@example.com.
- Bruce Garrison, Successful Strategies for Computer-Assisted Reporting, 1996.
- Lisa C. Miller, Power Journalism: Computer-Assisted Reporting, 1997.
- Margaret H. Defleur, Computer-Assisted Investigative Reporting: Development and Methodology, 1997.
- Tracy L. Barnett, ed., 100 Computer-Assisted Stories, 1995.
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- Nora Paul, Computer Assisted Research: A guide to tapping online information, 4th edition, 1999.
- Nora Paul, Margot Williams, and Paula Hane, ed., Great Scouts: Cyber-Guides for Subject Searching on the Web, 1999.
- Paula Hane, Reva Basch, ed., Super Searchers in the News: The Online Secrets of Journalists and News Researchers, 2000.
- Alan M. Schlein et al., Find It Online: The Complete Guide to Online Research, Second Edition, 2000.
- Christopher Callahan, A Journalist's Guide to the Internet: The Net As a Reporting Tool, 1999. (A companion web site is here.)
- Robin Rowland, The Creative Guide to Research: How to Find What You Need Online or Offline, 2000.
- Stephen Quinn, Newsgathering on the Net, 2001.
- Daniel J. Barrett, Netresearch: Finding Information Online, 1997.
- Shirley Duglin Kennedy, Best Bet Internet: Reference and Research When You Don't Have Time to Mess Around, 1998.
- Tara Calishain and Jill Alane Nystrom, Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research: For Windows & MacIntosh, 1998.
- Ernest Ackermann and Karen Hartman, The Information Specialist's Guide to Searching and Researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web, 2nd ed., 2001.
- Reva Basch, Researching Online for Dummies, 1998.
- Robert S. Want, ed., How to Search the Web: A Quick-Reference Guide to Finding Things on the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition, 1999.
- Cheryl Gould, Searching Smart on the World Wide Web: Tools and Techniques for Getting Quality Results, 1998.
- John A. Butler, Cybersearch: Research Techniques in the Electronic Age, 1998.
- Mary McGuire et al., The Internet Handbook for Writers, Researchers and Journalists, 1998.
- Randy Reddick & Elliot King, The Online Journalist: Using the Internet and Other Electronic Resources, 1997.
- Robert T. Grauer & Gretchen Marx, Exploring the Internet, 1997.
- Daniel Anderson, Bret Benjamin & Bill Paredes-Holt, Connections: A Guide to On-Line Writing, 1997.
- Mick O'Leary, The Online 100: Online Magazine's Field Guide to the 100 Most Important Online Databases, 1996.
- Mary Ellen Bates & Reva Basch, The Online Deskbook: Online Magazine's Essential Desk Reference for Online and Internet Searchers, 1996.
- Reva Basch, Mary Ellen Bates & Howard Rheingold, Secrets of the Super Net Searchers: The Reflections, Revelations and Hard-Won Wisdom of 35 of the World's Top Internet Researchers, 1996.
- Robin Rowland & Dave Kinnaman, Researching on the Internet: The Complete Guide to Finding, Evaluating, and Organizing Information Effectively, 1995.
- Jim Carroll & Rick Broadhead, Canadian Internet Handbook, 1994.
- Tom Koch, Journalism for the 21st Century: Online Information, Electronic Databases, and the News, 1991.
- Kathleen Wickham, Perspectives: Online Journalism, articles collected by Coursewise Publishing, 1998.
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- Jean Ward & Kathleen A. Hansen, Search Strategies in Mass Communication, 1996.
- Lauren Kessler & Duncan McDonald, The Search: Information Gathering for the Mass Media, 1991.
- Stephen R. Elias & Susan Levinkind, Legal Research Online and in the Library, 1998.
- Suzan Herskowitz, Legal Research Made Easy, 1998.
- Thomas Mann, The Oxford Guide to Library Research, 1998.
- Walt Harrington, ed., Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, 1997.
- H. Webster Johnson, ed., The Business Library and How to Use It: A Guide to Sources and Research Strategies for Information on Business and Management, 1996.
- C. Cope, How to Use a Law Library, 1994.
- Jacques Barzun, The Modern Researcher, 1992.
- John Joseph Brady, The Craft of Interviewing, 1977.
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- Brant Houston, Len Bruzzese and Steve Weinberg, The Investigative Reporter's Handbook: A Guide to Documents, Databases and Techniques, 4th ed., 2002. An update of IRE's indispensable guide. IRE offers a discount at ire.org. Some readers prefer the 3rd edition, which is organized more as a list of documents.
- Bruce Maxwell, How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet, 1998.
- Bruce Maxwell, How to Find Health Information on the Internet, 1998.
- Bruce Maxwell, How to Access the Federal Government's Electronic Bulletin Boards, 1997.
- Michael L. Sankey, ed., The MVR Book: Motor Services Guide 2000: The National Reference Detailing, in Practical Terms, the Privacy Restrictions, Access Procedures, Regulations..., 2000. A primer on access to motor vehicle records in the U.S.
- Michael L. Sankey, ed., The MVR Decoder Digest 2000: The Companion to the MVR Book, Translating the Codes, and Abbreviations of Violations and Licensing Categories..., 2000.
- Carl R. Ernst and Michael Sankey, eds., Public Records Online: The National Guide to Private and Government Online Sources of Public Records, 2nd ed., 1999.
- Dennis King, Get the Facts on Anyone, 1999.
- Michael L. Sankey and Carl R. Ernst, eds., The Librarian's Guide to Public Records 1998: The Complete State, County, and Courthouse Locator, 1998.
- Michael L. Sankey and James R. Flowers, eds., The Sourcebook of State Public Records: The Definitive Guide to Searching for Public Record Information at the State Level, 1997.
- Don Ray, A Public Records Primer and Investigators Handbook, 1995.
- Louis J. Rose, How to Investigate Your Friends and Enemies, 1992.
- Mary Landers, Investigative Environmental Reporting: A Handbook.
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- Kathleen Wickham, Math Tools for Journalists, 2002, "an essential guide to all the basic mathematical principles journalists encounter." With exercises. Prof. Wickham teaches at the University of Mississippi.
- Sarah Cohen, Numbers in the Newsroom: Using Math and Statistics in News, 2001, a primer for Investigative Reporters and Editors. Topics: What's a Number? A Newsroom Math Guide (includes fractions, rates, percentages, measuring change, understanding averages, etc.) Working with Graphics. The Standard Stories. Surveys and Polls. The 10 Most-Wanted List: Mistakes in the News from Simple Math to Lapses in Judgment. Lotteries, Lightning Strikes and Longevity -- A Note on Probability. Cohen is a Pulitzer Prize recipient and a former training director of the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.
- Victor Cohn and Lewis Cope, News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields, an updated version, 2001, of Vic Cohn's classic primer. Cohn, a Washington Post science writer and editor, died Feb. 14, 2000. This edition has been updated by Lewis Cope, who worked with Cohn at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in the 1960s.
- John Allen Paulos, Once Upon a Number: The Hidden Mathematical Logic of Stories, 1999.
- John Allen Paulos, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, 1996.
- John Allen Paulos, Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man, 1992.
- John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, 1990.
- Edward R. Tufte, Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, 1997.
- Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 1992.
- Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information, 1990.
- Theoni Pappas, Mathematical Scandals, 1997.
- A.K. Dewdney, 200% Of Nothing: An Eye-Opening Tour Through the Twists and Turns of Math Abuse and Innumeracy, 1996.
- Cynthia Crossen, Tainted Truth: The Manipulation of Fact in America, 1996.
- Sheldon R. Gawiser, G. Evans Witt & Walter R. Mears, A Journalist's Guide to Public Opinion Polls, 1994.
- Morris Kline, Mathematics for the Nonmathematician, 1985.
- Ellen Swanson, Mathematics into Type: Copyediting and Proofreading of Mathematics for Editorial Assistants and Authors, 1979.
- Darrell Huff, How to Lie With Statistics, 1954 (1993 reissue).
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Note: This section is woefully out of date, but it gives examples. Often readers want two kinds of software guides. First, a tutorial, for learning a new program from scratch. Second, a slim, alphabetical refererence, like Microsoft's "Field Guides," for looking up the problem of the moment.
- DOS and Windows basics:
- Russ Walter, This is the Best Computer Book: The Secret Guide to Computers, 1997.
- Susan Plumley, Easy Windows 95, 1997. (The "easy" guides are the most basic, but ingenious. Each page is devoted to a specific task, explaining in words and pictures "why would I want to do this" and each step to doing it. Try these on the least computer-literate students or colleagues.)
- Stephen L. Nelson, Field Guide to Microsoft Windows 1995, 1995. (The "field guides" are small, quick-reference guides. Want to know how to sort? Look under "S.")
- Macintosh basics:
- Robin Williams, The Little Mac Book, 1998.
- David Pogue, Macs for Dummies, 1998.
- Microsoft Excel spreadsheet:
- Stephen L. Nelson, Field Guide to Microsoft Excel for Windows, 1997.
- Elaine J. Marmel, Easy Excel for Windows 95, 1995.
- Microsoft Access database:
- Stephen L. Nelson, Field Guide to Microsoft Access 2 for Windows, 1994.
- Jeffry Byrne, Easy Access for Windows 95, 1995.
- Catapult Inc., Microsoft Access 97 Step By Step, 1997.
- Microsoft FoxPro database:
- James E. Keogh, Visual FoxPro 5 for Dummies, 1997.
- SQL (Structured Query Language), used for database queries in several programs:
- Jim Melton and Alan R. Simon, Understanding the New SQL, A Complete Guide, December 2000.
- David Rozenshtein, The Essence of SQL: A Guide to Learning Most of SQL in the Least Amount of Time, 1998.
- Martin Gruber, SQL Instant Reference, 1993.
- Allen G. Taylor, SQL for Dummies, 1997.
- SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences):
- Duncan Cramer, Fundamental Statistics for Social Research: Step-By-Step Calculations and Computer Techniques Using SPSS for Windows, 1998.
- Thomas W. Pavkov & Kent A. Pierce, Ready Set Go!: A Student Guide to SPSS for Windows 7.5, 1997.
- Marja J. Norusis, SPSS 8.0 Guide to Data Analysis, 1998.
- Internet and Web page creation:
- Stephen Spainhour & Robert Eckstein, Webmaster in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference, 2nd edition, 1999.
- Kiersten Conner & Ed Krol, Whole Internet: The Next Generation, 1999. (Earlier edition available here.
- Ed Tittel, et al., HTML for Dummies, 1997.
- Ed Tittel, et al., HTML for Dummies: Quick Reference, 1997.
- Perl (for cleaning text and sharing data over the Internet):
- Randal L. Schwartz, et al., Learning Perl, 1996.
- Larry Wall et al., Programming Perl, 1996.
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You can reach Bill Dedman by e-mail at Bill@PowerReporting.com.
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