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Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice
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This course examines the specific needs of the potential or current researcher-for-hire, touching on a variety of topics including: experience and education; a review of research standards; peer-body certification or accreditation; business planning and office organization; the kinds of services to offer; setting fees; and promotion and marketing ideas to heighten your profile. We also take an in-depth look at client management, from the first contact through to professional report writing. A number of genealogy-related options are described for additional income-earning.

With a business in place and with knowledge of acceptable standards, the professional genealogist assumes ethical responsibilities to self, clients, colleagues and the public at large. The professional needs a solid knowledge of ethical practice in case difficult personal or moral issues arise. We outline these standards in Module 6 and suggest that you keep them nearby for review from time to time.

Professional standards and many of these professional practices are equally applicable to the serious family historian who wishes to construct proof arguments, write articles or compile a worthy family history.

It would be prudent to remember that the five previous Methodology courses all contain valuable information and materials in terms of research standards, planning and procedures. They address evaluation of sources, analysis of information, synthesis of evidence, citations, the usage of charts and much more, which are not repeated here.


Module 1

Professional Requirements
  • Apititude
  • Experience
  • Training
  • Commitment

    Becoming Professional

  • Professional Organizations
  • Volunteer Work

    Brief Review of Research Standards
  • Genealogical Proof Standard
  • Sources–Information–Evidence
  • Citation of Sources
  • Transcribing & Abstracting
  • Synthesis or Proof Summary

    Educational Opportunities
  • Canada
  • United States
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Australia

    Credentialing Bodies

    Module 2
    Business Services and Office
    Business Planning
  • Step One: Self-Examination and Consultation
  • Step Two: Mission Statement
  • Step Three: Business Plan

    Office Planning
  • Home v. Outside
  • Equipment
  • Supplies & Organizing
  • Suppliers

    Home Library
  • Basic Needs
  • Specialty Interest Areas or Subjects

    Your Desk

    Research Services
  • What Kind of Research Service?
  • Geography Plays A Part
  • Specialties

    Marketing Your Services
  • Free
  • Paid
  • Last Words

    Module 3
    Client Management
    Answering Enquiries

    Who Is This Potential Client?
  • Responses and Proposals

    Agreements and Contracts
  • Payment

    Client Scheduling
    The 7 Folder System for Client Work

    Your Briefcase
  • Staples
  • Variables

    Working With Colleagues
    Complaints/Delinquent Accounts

    The Professional Image
  • Self-Image
  • Clients
  • Public at Large
  • Resource Centres
  • Colleagues & Peers
  • Family & Friends

    Module 4
    Research Planning and Reporting
    Research Planning
    Suggested Steps in Research Planning
    Small Case Example
    Report Writing
    Types Of Reports

    Essential Elements Of A Formal Report
  • Specific Components

    Citing Your Sources
  • Reports for Law Firms

    Technical and Other Hints
  • Reviewing Your Report

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Audio Recordings

    Module 5
    Other Options - Writing, Lecturing, Teaching

  • Articles
  • Columns
  • Books
  • Publishing and/or Selling Books & Products
  • The Web — Personal Sites, Listserves, Newsletters & Blogs

  • First Engagements
  • More Engagements: Proposals and Submissions
  • More Engagements: Professional Preparation

  • Preparation & Planning
  • Student Performance

    Still More Options
  • Heir Tracing
  • Private Investigator
  • “Genetealogy”
  • Tours
  • Land/Title Searching
  • Broadcaster
  • Editor
  • Photographer
  • Executive Director
  • Specialized Societies

    Module 6
    Standards and Guidelines
  • APG Code of Ethics

    Confidentiality and Privacy
    Copyright and the Law
    Liability and Fraud
    Ethical Accountability & Planning

    References & Further Reading
  • Books
  • Courses


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