Undertake research and gather information for editorial content

Business Sectors (Suites): Journalism
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 31 Mar 2019


This Standard is about undertaking research for editorial content.  This could across editorial genres. It involves having a clear understanding of the purpose of the research and how it will be used.

It is about accessing or contacting a wide range of sources and being able to interrogate data, or question individuals in order to gather information of relevance and significance to the subject under scrutiny.

It requires making considered judgments about the reliability of sources and the accuracy of information. It involves understanding copyright issues as well as legal and ethical constraints.

This Standard applies to all those who undertake research to develop editorial content.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

1. identify areas for research to be undertaken relevant to the editorial content brief 2. identify potential sources of reliable information and advice when specialist knowledge is required 3. agree the use of specialist sources with relevant people and make arrangements for contracts to be issued where appropriate 4. approach relevant sources in a way most likely to elicit the required information 5. maintain accurate and comprehensive records and interview notes of research undertaken 6. keep contact databases up-to-date 7. store all information relating to sources and research in a secure way in line with agreed organisational protocols 8. devise questions and use appropriate questioning techniques to secure information for the research brief 9. gather information from a range of different sources to enable judgement of its value and reliability to be made 10. verify that information is authentic, accurate and suitable for its purpose 11. assess all information for its relevance to the editorial content before selecting the material which will best realise the research brief 12. obtain appropriate advice about any legally-contentious areas and concerns regarding verification 13. gather information within agreed timescales, budget limits and contractual requirements 14. produce coherent and concise briefing notes about your research in an appropriate form for the end-user

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the purpose of the research and the nature of the editorial content to which it relates

  2. the timescales, deadlines and resource constraints for the research to be undertaken for editorial content creation

  3. how to use data analytics and interpret social media trends

  4. how to break down a proposal into practical research tasks

  5. the sources of potential information including people, publications and databases

  6. how to approach people to elicit information 

  7. the importance of keeping clear, comprehensive, accurate and current research notes

  8. the relevant legal requirements and organisational protocols for storing information relating to research and sources

  9. the commercial, legal and ethical considerations that apply when contacting sources and what contractual arrangements apply to specialist sources

  10. how to evaluate information for relevance, reliability and accuracy and how to check for, and identify, discrepancies and inconsistencies

  11. how to undertake effective internet research, using specialist search engines and social media 

  12. the need to verify sources, and who and how to refer to for this

  13. the potential legal risks, factual errors and breaches of codes of conduct involved in using material from internet sources

  14. the value, limitations and risks of using social media sources

  15. the relevant legal and ethical considerations which affect the use of information for editorial content

  16. any restrictions and conditions attached to the use of information and the implications of using copyright materials for editorial content


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2022





Originating Organisation

Screen Skills (formerly Creative Skillset)

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Media and Communication, Media Associate Professionals

SOC Code



research, information, content, editorial, ethics, journalism