with Diana Elder, AG® and Nicole Dyer
Could you use some structure in your genealogy research? Do you respond well to a group study atmosphere? If so, the Research Like a Pro® study group can give you the motivation and the setting to finally make progress in your research. Attend weekly lessons and work on your own project for the assignments. Receive feedback and learn from others’ assignments. Take your research to the next level!
The next Research Like a Pro Study Group will be in the Fall of 2023. RLP 9 will begin at the end of August and meet weekly with some break weeks for 9 weeks. Registration begins May 22 at 10am MT and ends August 10.
Lesson 1: Objectives, pedigree analysis, and file organization: Learn how to analyze your family tree for possible research opportunities, then how to focus your research with an objective. Get started with a file organization and protocol system.
Lesson 2: Timelines, review previous research, and create source citations: Gather previous research and extract all clues from the records you already have. Study the elements of a good source citation and learn to create your own.
Lesson 3: Analysis of sources, information, and evidence: Learn how to analyze the sources you have gathered and understand information and evidence labels.
Lesson 4: Locality research: Study jurisdictions, boundary changes, record availability, and discover the importance of understanding context.
Lesson 5: Research planning: Learn to make a focused plan that will guide you to the best sources to answer your research question.
Lesson 6: Research logging: Discover how to organize your findings using a research log.
Lesson 7: Research reports: Learn how to track your research progress and write up preliminary conclusions in a research report.
Lesson 8: Copyright, proof arguments, and publication: Explore how to create proof summaries and arguments for completed research and publish your work. Learn about copyright and fair use.
Lesson 9: Final steps, productivity, and education: Learn about adding conclusions to your family tree software, becoming more productive, and creating a genealogical education plan.
Weekly Lesson Format
Regular 90 minute sessions are led by Diana and Nicole and held virtually via Zoom. Each session will include:
-10 minute discussion of the previous assignment
-70 minute lesson taught by Diana and Nicole
-10 minutes Q&A about the next assignment
Lessons and question/answer sessions will be recorded for review after the session.
Peer Group Sessions and Mentors
Optional peer group sessions are an opportunity for participants to meet with 4-6 other participants to discuss their projects. The peer group session will be facilitated by a peer group leader (PGL). PGLs are genealogists who have experience with the RLP process. Each participant will be assigned to a PGL who will give feedback on all of their assignments throughout the study group.
The peer group sessions meet on Monday for 30-60 minutes. The purpose of the peer group session is to discuss your personal project and experience completing the assignment. PGLs will also be completing a project during the study group. Their role is to facilitate the discussion during the peer group session. They will share their experience with the assignment as well. Peer sessions are not recorded.
If you are interested in becoming a peer group leader and receiving complimentary registration for the study group, please go to our peer group leader application page here: RLP Study Group Peer Group Leaders.
This is a fast-moving, time-intensive study group. You will have five days to work on each assignment, except research logging (12 days) and report writing, which you will work on in both assignment #7 and #8. The time you will spend on assignments will depend on the difficulty of your objective and how much time you need to spend learning to use technology. For easy objectives, expect to spend about 10-15 hours per week, or about 1-2 hours per day. For more difficult objectives, you may spend 15-20 or more hours per week. When you choose your objective, please take into account how much time you have to spend on the assignments and the difficulty level of your chosen objective.
Peer Review and Feedback
Plan to spend 1-2 hours each week on peer review. After you turn in your assignment, you will have one day to review your assigned peers’ work and give them constructive comments. You will be assigned to give feedback to four people each week: three participants (that rotate each week), and your mentor. The purpose for peer review is twofold: (1) to learn from the work of others and (2) to provide helpful comments to others. We will create a feedback schedule that shows your assigned peers each week. It is critical that you complete your assignment on time and that you give feedback to your assigned peers. Past participants in the study group say that the peer review is one of their favorite parts of the experience.
After you register, you will be asked to sign a participation agreement stating that you agree to complete your assignments and participate in peer review for three people each week. We will also ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that you will not share private information about living people mentioned in your peers’ work.
You will receive feedback from three participants and your mentor on each weekly assignment. Diana and Nicole will give feedback on assignments 3, 5, and 8: timeline/analysis, research plan, and the final report.
We will be using the following tools during the study group and suggest that you become familiar with them. Any time you can spend learning how to use these tools prior to the study group will aid your use of them for assignments. Check your welcome email for videos to watch to help you learn more about these tools.
–Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets: Research project document, reflection journal, final report, citation template
–Airtable: Timeline, research log, FAN club list
We will also be using the above listed tools’ collaboration/commenting features for peer review. Some guidance will be given for getting started with these tools after you register as well as during the course.
Note about Google Drive: We will not be giving support about how to convert Microsoft Word into Google Docs or sharing Microsoft Word documents on Google Drive. If you are comfortable doing this on your own, that’s fine. However we encourage everyone to create their documents in Google Docs for ease of sharing and peer review.
Diana Elder, AG
Diana Elder AGⓇ is a professional genealogist accredited in the Gulf South region of the United States. She serves as a Commissioner for The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Diana is the author of the bestselling book, Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist’s Guide and the creator of the Research Like a Pro study group and e-Course. Diana and her daughter, Nicole Dyer are the hosts of the Research Like a Pro Genealogy Podcast and share research tips on their website, FamilyLocket.com.
Nicole Dyer is a professional genealogist, lecturer, and creator of FamilyLocket.com and The Research Like a Pro Genealogy Podcast. She is the co-author of Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist’s Guide. Nicole speaks at genealogy conferences and institutes including the National Genealogical Society Conference and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR). She specializes in Southern United States research and enjoys incorporating DNA evidence into her research.
Schedule and Email List
Two Research Like a Pro Study Groups are held per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring study group focuses on DNA. Session times are 12:00 pm MT and 6:00 pm MT. To receive advance notice of registration opening and early bird sales, click the link and subscribe to the special study group email list.
Sign up for Study Group Email List