Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 18/01/2019 11:38:57

Title of Module: Data Journalism

Code: JOUR10003 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Annie  McGuire

Summary of Module

This module is designed to introduce students to the news potential of mining data and how to present that data effectively across a number of platforms. This means students will be required to source and evaluate data and learn how to present it for broadcast, online and in traditional print publications. This in turn means the ability to present stories using graphics, text and a range of techniques associated with interactive online journalism.  Alongside these practical applications students will discuss the development of data sources, Freedom of Information legislation and Data Protection legislation.  Analysis of the way news organisations have exploited data sets successfully will be undertaken and a discussion of how this form of newsgathering relates to storytelling will be undertaken. 

Topics to be covered will include:

*Defining data journalism

*Sourcing data for news stories and understanding how to extract relevant information in a meaningful way for readers and audiences. 

*Integrating data journalism with traditional story-telling techniques across a range of journalism platforms.

*Techniques of graphical story-telling, including practical applications using relevant tools.

*Data journalism and social media

*Freedom of Information requests and how to use the information gathered effectively.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check mark

Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


check mark






Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Source, identify and evaluate data from a range of sources suitable for news journalism.

L2. Use data to enhance or create multi-media news stories, including graphics, for a range of journalism platforms.

L3. Apply knowledge of Freedom of Information legislation to generate data for news stories.

L4. Analyse the development of data journalism and evaluate its usefulness in enhancing story-telling.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Critical understanding of principal theories, concepts surrounding data journalism.

Demonstrating detailed knowledge in one or more areas of data journalism.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Finding appropriate data in preparation for journalism output.

Interpreting and explaining complex data in an appropriate, understandable form for a general, non-specialist audience.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critically identifying and defining complex issues in data journalism.

Demonstrating some originality and creativity in discussing controversial professional issues in relation to gathering and explaining data.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in an appropriate journalism form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Working effectively, together with others in groups or teams, taking a leadership role where appropriate.

Dealing with complex issues in accordance with current professional practice.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
This is primarily a practical module but with lectures also focused on the impact of relevant legislation on the use (and misuse) of data in journalism and the public and political sphere more widely.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity18
Lecture/Core Content Delivery18
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Gray, Jonathan et al (2012), The Data Journalism Handbook, O’Reilly Media

Bradshaw, Paul and Rohumaa, Liisa, (2016) The Online Journalism Handbook, 2nd ed., London, Routledge.

Data Driven Journalism

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorJames Mahon
External ExaminerV Neumark Jones
Accreditation Details
Version Number


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
(LOs 1, 2 & 3) is by way of a portfolio of journalism work on a defined topic based on the original gathering of data from a range of sources (70% of total marks).
(LO 4) will be a reflective essay discussing the extent to which this gathering and presentation of data enhances “off-diary” story-telling (30% of total marks).
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck markcheck mark 700

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay   check mark300
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

[Top of Page]

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our Partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.