Data journalism is one of the fastest growing practices in modern reporting and for good reason; just look at Wikileaks’ and the Cablegate revelations.

There are elements of data analysis which can be used at every stage of the journalistic process.

Search engines and data scrapping can be used to source information as a basis for stories.

Done correctly such techniques can be used to bring together a variety of different sources and give a detailed overview of a topic.

Then by interrogating the data using computer programs one is able to draw out complex trends and patterns from the raw data.

Finally by visualising the data, journalists are able to present their findings to the audience in a way which makes even complicated stories easy to understand.

Some of the biggest stories in the past few years have been played out in these terms.

The publications breaking the story of the leaked embassy dispatches made information accessible using techniques such as Der Spiegel’s Flash map and the Guardian’s exclusive mini sight.

Here users could access use a interactive database to filter the information and find articles they were interested in, alongside copies of the original cables.

For another important element of data journalism is the sharing of sources.

This adds authenticity to your work and allows collaborative efforts to further improve the quality of your journalism.