Researching Your Family history | Research Goals
Once you have gathered as much information about your family as possible, the next step is to identify a family line to research. Choosing one line at a time is a more efficient way to research and helps to identify connections easier.
Having a research goal or plan can help you to stay on track, organise your research and assist with not missing potential clues. A research goal starts with a question. A good research question does two things: Firstly, it identifies a unique individual and secondly, it specifies what we want to learn about that individual. Being clear about what you want to find out, and why, will help you decide the best approach to finding that information.
What to Put in a Research Plan
Aim/Research Question: What do you want to know?
Keep your research question very specific. A broad question causes you to lose focus and creates tangents. For example: Why did an ancestor move? Are there missing children in a family group record?
Known Facts and Speculation: What do you already know, or what have you already learned from previous research?
Start by recording what you already know and what you think you know and where you got the information. This lays the foundation for your research and helps to identify holes in your current knowledge and sources that have not been investigated yet.
Potential Sources: Where could you find out what you want to know?
This step helps you to identify records and other sources that might be available to find the information you need.
Action List: How will you find the sources you want?
Make a list of sources starting with the ones most likely to answer your research question and note where to find them. ie. online, local archives, libraries. Can you ask for copies to be sent to you, or do you need to visit a particular site?
> Research Plan Template