Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Research Plan -- How and do I really need one??

As I've been working on the history of my family I have been hearing/reading a lot about research plans.  Do I really need to use one??I've been googling trying to find out more.  I use Evernote as my other brain for the things I don't want to forget but know that I will.  I've been trying to come up with a template for Evernote to help with my research.  I think I've finally done it.

The first part of the above Research Plan includes some background information about her and her parents.  Then there is a place for birth, marriage, death and burial information.  In red you will see what I don't have.  One of the great things about Evernote is that I can link to other notes and then when I click on the note link it will take me to the linked note.  (note links are green and links to websites are blue).

In the next part, above, you will see a place for information on Icie's children and below that census information.  I tried using spread sheets to organize/analyze information but I didn't like that I had to go between so many different ones to have all the information that I wanted.  I like having it all in one document.  As I find more information I add to my research plan.  Below the census information there is another table for other information like church records, military, probate records, land records and local history.

The last part of my research plan is my favorite.  The problems section and the research log!  Now as I continue my research I can list my problems and the steps I need to take to solve them all in one location.  As new problems arise I simply copy and paste my problems table to create another one below the first one and fill it in.

One of the great advantages or using this research plan is that I can always see what I'm working and where I left off since "real life" always gets in the way of research time.

Yes, I do need a research plan to keep me on track and to remind me where I left off.  Is it perfect? No, but it is working for me right now.

I've created a shared notebook in Evernote so you can get my research plan for your self and I included Icie's research plan as well.  You can get the research plan by going here.  Feel free to tweak it to suit your needs.

If you have any additions please let me know.

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