Sunday, January 16, 2011

Documenting the Research Process

Focusing on "good research" is an important part of Casefile Clues. One of the ways I've tried to do that is the incorporation of citations throughout the newsletter. Citations are not fun, but they do allow us to clearly indicate which record we used and how it was accessed--always good.

I'm thinking that in addition to the citation of sources, we need to include more of the "how" of how things are found and how searches are conducted. We've done some of that in issues devoted to formulating census searches for hard to find individuals. I'm talking about a more comprehensive approach. The specifics of how databases were searched are not included in issue 20. There is broad discussion of how searches were done, but not in great detail. I'm thinking that more of that needs to be included. Perhaps not in every issue as it does tend to increase the length of the article.

Perhaps every few articles would include more focus on how databases were searched, what terms were used, and how the research results, both successful and unsuccessful, were tracked.

Any thoughts?


  1. Probably not necessary for every article, but I would find it very helpful to see the process every few. This is something I fall down on in my own research. Thanks!


  2. That's what I was thinking. It might be too much for every article, but I thought that there are times when it's helpful to see how things progressed, what the thought process was. Organizing everything after it has been found is good too, but sometimes it helps to actually see the process.

  3. I'd certainly like to see it, at least frequently if not every time. I'm especially interested in seeing how you track all search results, not just the ones that end up in a neat little box (with attached source)in the database.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I was thinking of a chart outlining the people who had been eliminated and including what distinguished them from other eliminated people and why I had eliminated them from consideration.