Course #7: Write As You Research! A Methodology for Efficient Report Writing

Instructor: Jill Morelli, CG
Dates offered: 25 October, 1, 8, and 15 November
Time: 3:00 pm PT to 6:00 pm PT
Cost: $300
Registration: 8 August-14 August

Course Description
“Write As You Research” (WAYR) sounds so simple when lecturers talk about the method, but we quickly learn that intellectually we “get it,” but putting it into practice takes—well, practice! In this course we will dissect the process reducing it to its elements and hone each as a skill before moving onto the next. Our goal is to make you better problem-solvers. This takes practice and discipline. If you are willing to change habits formed when you were a “baby genealogist” and form new ones that speak to your more advanced skills, this class is a perfect match for you.

My goals for every student are to:

  • Learn and understand the benefits of the WAYR methodology
  • Learn and practice building the basic elements of evidence presentation
  • understand when to use this method
  • Develop your own research report template(s)
  • Work on one of your own problems using this method

Skills Based Requirements
The student should be an intermediate or advanced genealogist, skilled in the use of online databases and development of citations to Evidence Explained standards. It is helpful if you have cataloged your evidence (at least to some extent) using a genealogical program or online.

Course Materials
Please make sure you have these materials (and yes, you really should have the latest edition of Genealogy Standards and EE).

  • Board for Certification of Genealogists. Genealogy Standards, Second Edition, Revised. Nashville :, 2021.
  • Jones, Thomas W. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia : National Genealogical Society, 2013.
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Third Edition Revised. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2017.

Recommended Resources
You will need to identify either 1.) one genealogical problem to solve, of which you have multiple pieces of evidence, but you have not yet answered your research question or 2.) a problem you have solved using multiple pieces of evidence that you wish to write up using this methodology.

The most successful problems for this course are: multiple individuals with the same name and you are trying to discriminate; OR fragments of information for two individuals with different names who you think are the same individual; OR you are trying to find a BMD date and place and those particular records do not exist. You also must bring a willingness to expend the effort to learn and apply this methodology, because you may be breaking some long term and intrenched habits.

Course Outline:
The schedule is subject to change as I will tweak the schedule to respond to student needs. Class members are given a Weekly Sheet the day of the class which outlines the schedule for the day, break out exercises and the assignment for the week.

Session 1: Introduction to the Method and Evidence Blocks

  • Introductions
  • Discussion of Pre-Assignment & Class Breakout
  • Discussion of Write As You Research and Genealogy Standards
  • Skill Building: Evidence blocks
  • Q & A 
  • Break
  • Case Study: “Fredrick Eiler: Building an Identity from Scant Clues”
  • Introduction: Homework/Scavenger Hunt #1

Session 2: Correlation of Evidence

  • Review of Assignment #1
  • Skill building: Correlation Tools
  • Class Breakout 
    • #1: Immigration of Margaret Brady
    • #2: 1920 Census of Margaret Brady
    • #3: Correlation
  • Break
  • Discussion: assembly of evidence
  • Presentation: “Lessons Learned from T.F. Murphy” 
  • Introduction: Scavenger Hunt/Homework #3

Session 3: Introduction to Research Reports & Broad Context

  • Review of Assignment #2
  • Skill-building: “Incorporating Broad Context into your Research Reports”
  • Class Discussion: Broad Context 
  • Break
  • Skill-building: “Dissecting a Research Report”
  • Class Discussion: research report templates
  • Presentation: “Learning from T.F. Murphy”
  • Weekly Assignment: Scavenger Hunt/Homework #4

Session 4: Outputs of Research Reports

  • Review of Assignment #3
  • Skill-building: Writing Personal Reports, Client Reports and Articles using a “Write As You Research” approach
  • Break out: Share your Homework topic and your findings
  • Class Discussion
  • Break
  • Case Study: “Turning a RR into an Article”
  • Class Discussion:
  • Discussion: Wrap up

I hope you will join me in the very interactive course on “Write As You Research!”