Friday, 13 February 2015

What it takes to be a good genealogist

There's an interesting article in the February 2nd issue of Harvard Business Review What Research Tells Us About Making Accurate Predictions. While genealogists don't make predictions about the future both forecasters and genealogists marshal evidence to come to a conclusion. The activities are similar. If you have trouble accepting this please see 5 below.

Here are the eight factors that separate the sheep from the goats.

  1. Intelligence helps. Nothing profound there, smart people are smarter.
  2. Domain expertise helps. The more you know about the resources genealogists use and the techniques employed the better. The argument for education.
  3. Practice improves accuracy. Embrace opportunities to do genealogical research, even if it isn't on your family or a commission.
  4. Teams consistently outperform individuals. Run ideas past others; learn together. Develop a trusted network of colleagues.
  5. More open-minded people make better predictions. Think outside the box.
  6. Training in probability can guard against bias. This is the area with the most potential for improving genealogical practice.
  7. Rushing produces bad predictions. Take the time needed to think things through. Your deceased ancestors aren't going anywhere.
  8. Revision leads to better results. The genealogical proof standard emphasizes that proof is an iterative process.


Douglas Hill said...

Darn good article, John.
Douglas Hill

Jill Ball said...

Great stuff, John

McElrea One-Name Study said...

How clever of you to see the connection! Very good article.

Kathleen Cooper