Reporting on Research: Standards Encourage Better Communication – Nancy A. Peters

March 30th, 2019 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

Reporting on Research: Standards Encourage Better Communication

Session: F341, Time and Date: Friday, 10 May 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

Sponsor: Board for Certification of Genealogists

Nancy A. Peters

As family historians we all enjoy the hunt for information about ancestors’ past lives. We love solving the puzzles of family connections, relationships, and identities.

The motivation for each of us may be different. Yet for all genealogists, research without reporting and sharing the details is wasted effort. Our many hours spent examining records online and in archives, courthouses, libraries, and other repositories will be lost if we don’t record our results.

Preparing research notes and a report is crucial to capturing and preserving findings—whether for a client, family member, friend, or ourselves. A research report is a unique type of genealogical writing. It provides a detailed and clear account of an investigation into a problem, including analysis, interpretations, hypotheses, and reliable conclusions (if any) based on evidence. Research reports supply the foundation information for other writings such as biographical sketches, case studies, compiled genealogies, family histories, and so forth.

Guidance from genealogical standards help us prepare more informative, accurate, and useful reports. Standards apply to all genealogical research and writing, including work done for ourselves and for others. By following standards along with principles of good writing, we can be more effective in reporting. The lecture explains the essential characteristics and structure of a quality report. You’ll learn about and see how to apply several standards for data collection, researching, and writing that will improve your communication of results.

Bio: Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL, is a full-time professional genealogist and coeditor of the NGS Quarterly. She serves on the executive committee and as a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and is the former editor of its newsletter, OnBoard. She lectures at conferences and is an instructor for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the BCG Education Fund on skill-building topics and genealogy standards. Her published work has appeared in the NGSQ and other genealogical journals. She authored the “Research Reports” chapter in Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, & Standards (2018). Nancy’s client and personal research focuses primarily in England, Germany, New York, and the southeastern United States.

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