TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM-L ArchivesArchiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2009-08 > 1251067150
From: Connie Sheets <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] Are research reports published?
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 15:39:10 -0700 (PDT)
> As best as I can determine, a good case study does not have
> to include
> the all information needed for the reader to answer the
> question of
> whether the GPS was met. Specifically, the
> reader of a case study
> essay has difficulty deciding whether the "research has
> been systematic
> and exhaustive" and "any contradictory evidence is soundly
> because the evidence reported in a case study essay has
> been selectively
> chosen to address the essay's goal. The reader does
> not know what was
> omitted. If the reader assumes that the ONLY research
> pertaining to the
> individual/family/community involved is that reported in
> the case study,
> I suspect the reader would be assuming incorrectly most, if
> not all, of
> the time. I suspect the authors have done more
> research...much more.
Perhaps I'm hampered by my lack of participation (so far) in the study groups; on the other hand, with one or two exceptions, I've read every NGSQ published over the last 20+ years from cover to cover, often more than once..
I have to admit I'm befuddled by much of this discussion, i.e. I'm not comprehending the perceived deficiency of case studies, or exactly what is being requested that is not already available.
While I occasionally find myself thinking "how does the author know for sure that John Doe left no record of X," for the most part I believe that virtually every case study I have read rebuts contradictory evidence and presents exhaustive research. (The latter is why I read the footnotes so carefully). Yes, sometimes they report negative searches in one sentence, (and are not particularly consistent in how the negative searches are documented), but as a whole, thinking over the entire body of articles I've read, they do address all elements of the GPS. (Perhaps I'm naive, but I don't think they would be approved for publication in the major journals if they didn't meet the GPS).
Certainly, they do not specifically address all elements of the GPS for every relationship that is discussed in the article, i.e. if the purpose of the article is to present evidence as to who Jane Smith's mother was, they may not go into depth explaining how they came to the conclusion that Jane's children were Susan, Alice, and Samuel, and her second husband was Richard Jones. They also may not cite a published index of marriage records in XYZ county, which the author very well may have consulted before finding the original marriage record in ABC county, but I'm not certain that level of detail would add much to my overall knowledge and skill relative to methodology.
I'm not sure I would find reading lots of "raw" research reports particularly helpful, but I do find myself wishing there were more opportunities for others to review and provide feedback on my own work. I also wish I could get to the point where I didn't get as frequently sidetracked by interesting tangents, although the more often I force myself to write status summaries and carefully document a "Further Research Needed" section, the more thorough and exhaustive my research becomes (and the more "brick walls" topple, or at least de-stabilize).
Connie in AZ
|Re: [TGF] Are research reports published? by Connie Sheets <>|