The February 2011 ProGen Study Group was on chapter 14, “Problem Analyses and Research Plans” in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (affiliate link) edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. The assignment was to develop a Research Plan. I’m ashamed to say mine was the worst and that I didn’t capitalize on the whole mission of the study group…to develop our professional skills. My Research Plan looked like a research plan just for me. And, well, it is, but I should’ve done it in a different format that would be more client-friendly and professional.
There were some common problems….wish we always did these for our own research, spent too much time, started doing research in the middle of planning, etc.
Like the development plan assignment the month before (which I had shared a portion of), it gave us an opportunity…ok, that’s not right, we always have opportunity…rather, it forced us to do something we needed to do. And once we did it, we recognized the benefit. Yes, we always knew it was best practice but in the interest of “the hunt” we’re too quick to jump to research and then our efforts aren’t as systematic and conscientious as they should be.
And, of course, for the pro, it is essential because it is basically the agreement for the work to be performed.
Another component of the discussion but not part of the assignment (though it will surely come into play later) are the tools we use for analysis (e.g., timelines) and what to do if the original information provided by the client (on which you base the research plan) is not sound. We had good discussion about client work, time management, and organization. This was the first month that we really started delving into the professional issues as the previous three months were more on us as individuals desiring to be professionals.