The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Story-Based Inquiry Method – Online

This four-part online course, which takes place over four days, gives you the basics for starting, deepening, organising and writing an investigative report.

7, 14, 21, 28 October 2020. 6pm till 8pm (London, UK time).
Group size: max 30 people.
Class duration: 2hrs x 4 days, over 4 weeks
Level of participation: high, with regular Q&A sections.

The course sets out the Story-Based Inquiry (SBI) method, which has been successfully used by thousands of journalists, academics and NGO researchers since its publication by UNESCO in 2009. The method can be used for feature writing or documentary filmmaking as well as reportage. Its language and approach have been integrated into leading journalism organisations and NGOs worldwide.

This is one of our most popular courses at #CIJSummer Conference.

“This method is a must for any investigative journalist. It will give you the tools to organise your material for the better. The manual equips with you a number of skills, but most importantly it structures your investigation. So when it comes to filing your story you are fully prepared and not looking for that quote in the cloud”

Delegate feedback 2020

“From theorising, to organisation, to writing the story, the trainers gave a lot of helpful tips and tricks that will help me immensely going forward.”

Delegate feedback 2020

“Most useful. Very concrete and practical.”

Delegate feedback 2019

The course fee includes not only the lectures, but also two Logan/CIJ handbooks that dive deep into the techniques covered in the lectures.

Technical Requirements

This course will be hosted on Zoom.

Our Zoom account’s default settings have been modified to maximise information security and ensure all training participants’ data protection and privacy. See details of our Zoom infosec settings HERE

7 October 2020 – Day 1: From question to hypothesis.

A hypothesis is what you think happened -- a provisional story based on available evidence. It enables rapid assessment of the interest and viability of your idea and potential sources before investing your time in further research. Our colleagues at ICIJ call it a core skill in contemporary investigative projects.

14 October 2020 – Day 2: Nailing the timeline.

Timelines provide a backbone to your story, allowing you to see not only what happened, but what must have happened between known events, and how the story may end. It allows you to focus on dramatic scenes that deepen the impact of your work. In the process, it creates one possible structure for your narrative.

21 October 2020 – Day 3: Mapping the stakeholders.

A stakeholder map shows you who is involved in your story – as actors, witnesses, and victims. The map leads you to further sources, and enables you to spot relationships among everyone involved. It also indicates the core audience for your story, which is essential to promoting its impact. Not least, it captures an alternative way to structure the story.

28 October 2020 – Day 4: From Masterfile to masterpiece.

Organisation is a core process for depth reporting. A Masterfile is a simple yet effective database that we use to collect and analyse our material. We leverage organisation to facilitate the composition of final reports. The time you spend in this session will save you thousands of hours across your career. You will also learn writing techniques that enhance the power of your work.

Luuk Sengers

Luuk Sengers is a journalist and lecturer. He investigates how large corporations affect the environment and climate change for the leading Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer. Luuk is also co-developer of Story-Based Inquiry: an acclaimed and effective method for producing investigative stories.
  • 7 October 2020 18.00–20.00
  • 14 October 2020 18.00–20.00
  • 21 October 2020 18.00–20.00
  • 28 October 2020 18.00–20.00
Location: Zoom Webinar
This event is now fully booked.
Large Organisation (10+ staff)
Small Organisation (<9 staff)
Student (Full Time)
Student @ Goldsmiths (Full Time)

Our pricing operates on a sliding scale, ensuring large organisations pay more to subsidise places for smaller newsrooms, freelancers and students.

Student places for this course are capped, due to limited capacity. Anyone registering as a student will be asked for a photo/scan of their student ID ahead of the course.

We are unable to offer refunds or transfers of bookings.

7–10 December 2020

Story-Based Inquiry Method – Online, Intensive

This four-part online course, which takes place over four days, gives you the basics for starting, deepening, organising and writing an investigative report.