Writing a research report after you do some research is a very good idea. It lets you examine the information that you learn and write down your conclusions. writing the report will force you to examine the information you have found and determine if it is what you need. Of course, I am talking mainly about research that you do for family history. In this context, you are looking for records that pertain to your family. You want to search record databases and find the records you are looking for.
Often, in family history, the problem is not so much finding the records as it is finding the correct record. In my family, I have a three times great grandfather named John Gilchrist who died in 1871 in Ontario, Canada. There are five men named John Gilchrist in Ontario in the time between 1830 and 1871. Finding records for John Gilchrist in that time is not that hard, but finding the correct one is difficult. That’s where a research report can help you determine if the record you just found is the one for your ancestor. I have great grandmother named Amy Hendrickson. I have found her in the 1900 census, the 1910 census, the 1920 census and the 1930 census. She is missing in 1940, but she is not dead, from her husband’s death certificate.
A good research report has five parts, an introduction where you explain what the report is about, a section explaining what is known and what the research is to accomplish. Then there is the methods section where you explain what you searched and why. The results section is where you report your findings. Then there is the conclusions section where you detail what you have found and how it relates to your research. The final section is optional and lists your options for further research. As always, you need to cite your sources. You will need to include a bibliography with your report.
Even if you have done the research for yourself, it’s a good idea to write a report anyway. It helps you to organize your thoughts and allow you to itemize your conclusions. It’s not something that you have to do, but it can help you to figure out what your research is telling you. Your research is something that you want to do your best to do. A research report is a terrific way to organize your thoughts and you should write it up as soon after you do the research as you can. It will help you to log your research, and its result, as well as help you to draw your conclusions. Check online for templates that will guide you through the form a good research report should take. You will thank yourself later.
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