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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.

Course Content

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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