After formulating an objective and planning appropriate searches, it is time to conduct the research. While working through the research plan, it is important to record the findings in detail and as soon as possible. If it can be done at the repository while researching, that is ideal.
In ResearchTies, use the search function to generate a “to do” list. (See New-user Instructions, p. 16) To the right of each item on the list is a link to add the result of that search. Clicking “Add Result” will bring you to a template similar to the following. Notice that the objective is shown at the top of the form, the Search being conducted is next, and the third section of the form is the “results” template. Be sure to record a Result for each person located in the search.
Recording a result involves selecting, adding, or typing the appropriate data in each field of the template.
Result date – Record the date of the Search. Past dates can be entered when recording previous research, but it is best to record your work as it is done. Using the tab key will record “today’s date” without the need to type it. Otherwise, type the desired date or select it with the calendar tool.
Person found – Select from this dropdown the person who was found in the Search. Type a few letters to narrow the list, and click on the entry when it is shown. If the person is not yet in the list, click on the green add circle and add the person.
Name in record – Type the spelling of the person’s name exactly as it was found in the record. It is important to track the various spellings, names, and nicknames used by each person.
Citation detail – The bibliographic information for the source being searched was already added to the source template when creating a research plan. The citation detail field on the Results template is for recording the additional details needed beyond the bibliography to create a footnote. The researcher needs to know exactly where the information was found for the specific person being recorded. For a book, this would be a page number. For a census, it’s necessary to record the town, county, state, ED, page, sheet, etc. The source being searched will determine the amount and type of detail to record.
Film number – When using a source that continues for two or more microfilms, record the film number that applies to this specific person. If the source is contained on a single microfilm, the film number should be recorded in the Source List to avoid the need to add the same film number to every Result separately.
Document number – This field may be used for paper filing numbers, or you may record the folders and file name for an electronic file on your computer hard drive.
Nil – When a search for a specific person is Nil, use the Results template to record the person and check the box that the search was Nil for that person. This is best used when there are mixed results in the search. Remember, when the entire scope of the search was Nil, record the date and check the box on the Search template. However, if you find a few members of a family but not everyone you had hoped to find, record those who were located and then make an entry for those persons you had also hoped to find but did not. This will help you analyze not only what you have found, but also what you have not found.
Comments – Record any comments or information about the results of the search.
Add Link – Click on “Add Link” when you would like to record the URL for an online result. Two fields will open. The “description” field is the place to record what you want to name the result. These are the words that will show as a hyperlink in your reports, rather than a long URL of jibberish. Copy and paste the URL from the address bar of your browser into the “Link” field. When using this function, it is important to remember that URLs will change over time, and URLs to subscription databases do not allow others to view the documents if they don’t have a subscription. Consider the “Add Link” function to be temporary. More than one link may be recorded. To add more, click on “Add Link” to open more fields.
Add File – We highly recommend that users download a copy of an online result or save it as a screenshot to your hard drive. Any digital file may then be loaded as the Result of a Search (.jpg, .pdf, .png, .docx, .xlsx, etc). These files may be images, photos, translations, transcriptions, research analysis and conclusions, and more. Click on “Add file,” then record a name for the file in the “description” field. Click on “Choose file,” then select the file from the directory of your hard drive. Multiple files can be added to each Result, if desired, and they may be added in combination with links. When the Result is saved, a copy of the file is placed on the ResearchTies server. The hyperlink is linked to the file on the server, so if you ever rename or move the files on your hard drive, the link will not break. This is also beneficial for preservation of your files. If your hard drive ever crashes, all of your documents will still be preserved on the ResearchTies servers.
Add Result – If more than one person was found during the Search, click on “Add Result” to continue adding more Results, as needed.
“Ditto down” arrow – Notice that several fields on this form have “ditto down” arrows. Clicking the arrow will copy the information recorded in the same field of the preceding entry. If more than one Result is recorded for a Search, clicking the “ditto down” arrows eliminates the need to retype data that is the same for all members of the family.
After recording the details of each Result found in the Search, click “Save Results.”
By accurately and consistently recording your research results, you will be able to quickly retrieve your documents and facilitate higher quality analysis.