Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over - Month 2 - Research Goals and Research Plans

Setting Research Goals was one of the two topics for February in the year-long version of Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over.

I set my research goals for 2016 in mid-January, then last month, as I started working on those goals, I first set out more detailed plans as to how I wanted to tackle them. A detailed plan for each goal gives me focus, keeps me on track and helps to ensure that I can meet that goal by whatever end-date I have in mind. The Genealogy Do-Over really helped me to see how important it is to have stated goals if I really want to make solid progress in my research. But a detailed plan is vital, too. Without a plan my research goals will just be a list of things I wish I'd done this year come the end of December!

Since I have a Mac and no PCs at home, I had set up some spreadsheets last year at work over lunch and saved them to Google Docs. My plan was to subscribe to Office 365 for Mac so that I could do more with Excel spreadsheets but after reading Kerry Scott's "How to Use Evernote for Genealogy," I decided to set up tables in Evernote and give that a whirl. So far, so good. I've created a research log and research plan which I have shared below. And I can create tables and access them on my Mac, my work PC, my Kindle Fire and my phone (although I should point out that not all table functions are available on the Evernote mobile apps.)

This week I'm going to set up a research log and then see what other planning tools I want to create such as a table to keep track of society and other memberships, as suggested by Kerry Scott. I'm also working on my organization strategy for my notes. How many notebooks are necessary but also practical and how do I want to tag my notes? Kerry Scott did have suggestions in her book but you probably know for yourself that what worked for her won't necessarily work for me or for you, so I'm still working on the answers to those questions, but I hope to have a system in place by the end of next weekend.

In the meantime, since part of my research plan is to scan the keepsakes and documents from Dad's basement stash on Wednesday nights, I should be back tomorrow to share some of those treasures with you.


Wendy said...

I am glad to read your goals. Setting goals is always hard for me because I don't think about those everyday activities as goals but I should. I need to do this. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anna Matthews said...

I know what you mean. Even once I started I wasn't planning enough. I said I was FINALLY going to finish scanning my dad's slides this year, but here it was almost March and I hadn't scanned a single slide. Then I knew I really had to break down all my goals even more.