The genealogy research process involves all of the necessary steps to conduct quality research. It is a cycle that helps genealogists focus on finding the desired information, so that more can be learned about their ancestors. Most researchers know the steps, but few think of them in the context of keeping a research log. If you are interested in best practices, keeping a research log is an essential part of the genealogy research process.
Step 1: Analyze current information
When beginning a research project, it is important to analyze what is already known. This analysis helps researchers see what they have in their files and decide what information they want to learn. Use the search function in ResearchTies to instantly find anything that is already in your log from previous research.
Step 2: Set a research objective
In setting research goals, family historians decide what information they want to find. It is important to record the objective in order to stay focused and not be distracted. ResearchTies begins with recording a research objective. The program also has a checkbox to record whether or not each goal has been met.
Step 3: Determine which sources to search
Next, genealogists look through websites, as well as online and onsite library and archive catalogs to find sources relevant to their objective. Whenever an appropriate source is located, the bibliographic citation needs to be recorded, and the search needs to be defined. Who is the subject of the search? What locality and time period will be searched? In ResearchTies, the user adds “searches” to the objective. These are created by selecting or adding a new source, then defining the scope of the search. When they are saved, the planned searches become “to do” items for future research sessions.
Step 4: Search the records
When it is time to research, generate a “to do” list so that your work will be efficient. The “to do” list in ResearchTies includes a full bibliographic citation for each source, as well as the call number and the scope or focus of each search. Conduct a thorough search of the record(s).
Step 5: Record the results
As searches are conducted, it is important to make of copy of what is found. Digital images preserve the documents most accurately. ResearchTies provides fields to record specific citation details for each item found, as well as links to electronic documents and/or URLs.
Back to Step 1: Analyze current information
Was the desired information found? If so, mark the objective complete in your log, and move on to Step 2 to set a new research objective. If not, return to Step 3 and locate more sources that might provide what is needed.
Recording a quality research log will help any genealogist to be a more efficient and effective researcher. Used well, ResearchTies will prevent duplication of work that has already been done, it will remind you of “to do” items so that they are not forgotten, and it will store all past documents for easy retrieval when needed. Try it today!