Interviewing Databases


This curricular unit will present the main techniques for accessing, cleaning, interpreting and analyzing databases. The curricular unit combines the theoretical and practical aspects of Data Journalism and does not require prerequisites. At the end of the course, students will have learned to:

  1. Explore databases on Portuguese and international websites;
  2. Collect and browse large data sets;
  3. Use spreadsheets to clean and analyze the data;
  4. How to create simple graphics.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo Nuno Gouveia Vicente


Weekly - 2

Total - 140

Teaching language



Not applicable.


  • Anderson, C. W. (2018). Apostles of certainty: Data journalism and the politics of doubt. Oxford University Press.
  • Houston, B. (2018). Data for journalists: a practical guide for computer-assisted reporting. Routledge;
  • Bradshaw, P. (2016). Finding Stories in Spreadsheets. Leanpub;
  • Cairo, A. (2016). The truthful art: data, charts, and maps for communication. New Riders;
  • Usher, N. (2016). Interactive journalism: Hackers, data, and code. University of Illinois Press;
  • Reinhart, A. (2015). Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide. No Starch Press;
  • Cohen, S. (2014). Numbers in the newsroom: Using math and statistics in news. Investigative Reporters and Editors;
  • Incorporated;
  • Wheelan, C. (2014). Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data. W. W. Norton & Company;
  • Meyer, P. (2002). Precision journalism: A reporter's introduction to social science methods. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Teaching method

The curricular unit combines the exposition of theoretical knowledge with practical sessions. All students are expected to participate in the practical sessions and contribute to the discussion during the theoretical sessions.

Evaluation method

Mini Tests(30%), Attendance and Participation(20%), Exam(50%)

Subject matter

  • Examples of using data to tell stories in different areas of knowledge since the 19th century;
  • Introduction to different types and formats of data; Contextualization and importance of open data and Open Government;
  • Workflow and methodologies in data analysis and examples;
  • Presentation of Portuguese and international databases; Introduction to spreadsheets;
  • Fuctions and formulas in spreadsheets;
  • Data cleaning and processing;
  • How to use Pivot Tablets;
  • Introduction to SQL;
  • Introduction to query and cross-database joins.