Archive for ‘Saturday Skills’

June 22, 2013

Saturday Skills: Source List Entries or Reference Notes?

As a new editor, I’m dealing with some surprising issues, things I had no idea would come up during the editorial process. One of these issues is the proper formatting of source citations. The order of elements in citations is of concern, certainly. Just as frequently, I’ve found that authors confuse the format for source list entries with that for reference notes. Each has a place in historical writing, but when should authors use what format?

The source citation Bible for genealogy is Elizabeth Shown Mills’ excellent resource, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009), commonly referred to as EE. The companion web site, which is also incredibly useful in learning how to create citations, is Evidence Explained. I’ll be using EE in the following discussion, for those who would like to follow along.

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March 16, 2013

Saturday Skills: Setting Research Goals

Over the past little while, I’ve had several inquiries by researchers asking if I could point them in the right direction with their research. In some cases, I was able to help because the researchers could explain exactly what they needed. The remaining researchers did not, and in return, I asked a series of questions designed to elicit their research goals for the particular individual or family they needed help with.

The thing is, we all have goals in the back of our minds for the research we’re conducting. When we look at a particular ancestor or family, we think, Wow, it sure would be great to know who Dixie Lou’s parents were or I wish I could figure out where Bobby Jean is buried.

Go ahead, try it. Now, see what I mean? The goals are there whether we articulate them or not.

Unfortunately, formal goal setting is one simple action researchers fail to do, yet it is a necessary step in the research process. Defining and articulating the research focus (i.e. the goal of the research) can keep research on track and help the research process flow efficiently.

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