ABSTRACT

Chapter 6 describes how analytical journalists can justify their causal hypotheses with evidence. The chapter outlines justification in journalism based on a review of journalism studies, which indicate the absence of methods for testing the truth of analytic journalists’ causal hypotheses. The chapter elaborates on the fourth phase of analytical journalism and presents the deductive strategy, which builds on the social science criteria of pattern matching adapted to journalistic verification of causal hypotheses. One method uses a similarity model to match exact details of each variable in the hypothetical causal model with data from the case the journalist is investigating. A second method uses a covariation model to compare data at different points in time from the journalist's case with the predicted changes in the variables of the hypothetical causal model. Then a third method consists of interviewing relevant sources to obtain their reflective assessment of the causal explanation already confirmed by the data. These justifying methods employ a relatively limited volume of available data compared to the data used in other disciplines such as data journalism or investigative journalism.