I struggle with what works and I would like to hear from you about your approach to research plans/planning.
I have come to the following conclusions:
- what works for me, probably won’t work for you.
- every problem is different enough that perhaps the research plan “template” varies from problem to problem
- I want to be able to see all my investigative work together
I started out by trying to make my research plan “do too much”. I listened to a webinar by Marion Pierre-Louis on research plans. I thought her system might work; she had a series of forms and filled them in as she went along. After trying her system it ended up being too cumbersome for me; every problem had four templates. It seemed redundant to me. I spent more time figureing which form I was to use than doing the research. I also found that the forms do not allow for the serendipity to be recorded, i.e. the discovery you find that you didn’t plan on. I ended up with too many pieces of paper, with very little on some and a significant number of insertions on another. And none of which allowed me to see what I was doing in a single glance. I am just better off writing up each problem in the following way:
- Name of Person (b. ____, d._____)
- Today’s Date
- What is the question I am trying to answer?
- What is known?
- What sources may help me answer the question?
- Where are these sources located?
- When pursued, what information=> evidence did these sources provide?
I admit I am still trying to figure out an approach to identifying Frederick Eilers, second husband of my Ida/Eda (van) Berg(en), b. 1811, d. 1889. Using the approach numbered above, I discovered that though I knew very little, I did know his birth location. This is huge. So by writing this up, I think my next avenue is to pursue him from Germany to the US and try to see if I can work his life forward, rather than trying to work it backward….and which I was having no luck.
I think I will formally write up this research problem and see if there are any other discoveries.
This may be my last posting for a week, as I will be away with little internet access.
What I have done since the last posting: finished a difficult client report for Theresa. This took many more hours than I wanted to expend but I also do not like shortchanging reports. I also did more clean up on the conference, watched another legacy webinar on Indirect Evidence and compiled some information for the cruise so I can be prepared whatever “extra” one-on-one I get (assuming I get one at all!) I also started working on Mary’s German (Mettendorf/Messerich) investigation. Read an Illinois Research Guide to see if there were any clues there for how to get to Mr. Eilers. No big revelations but some leads to pursue.