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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Problem Solving track at SLIG offers a unique student experience

The Problem Solving course at SLIG is a directed practicum: the student, with the assistance of interested consultants and peers (fellow students in the group) enhances and applies specific methodology, analysis, and evaluation skills to the student's personal research.

The format of the problem solving course is designed so each student receives specific help on his/her own project, learns from studying the submissions of the other students. and from discussing research and methodology with the other students and professionals.

Each problem solving student chooses his own curriculum--focused on one ancestor, ancestral couple, or particular genealogical question. Choose a problem that is of personal interest and is not under constraints imposed by others. Research being done for hire or for possible submission to BCG or ICAPGen should not be used.

The Problem Solving course takes place in 3 parts.

  1. After registering and before Oct 30, each student submits a Problem Solving Project, with the following elements: a short 1 page summary of the Problem, pertinent research logs, family groups, pedigree, maps, time line, and five page report about the research problem being submitted.
  2. During SLIG daily meetings are held with the assigned group to discuss the problem, offer suggestions, and debrief on the previous day's research activities.
  3. After SLIG each student completes a new written summary of their research project, discussing sources used, new findings or lack of findings, conclusions and what to consider next in future research. IF at the end of SLIG week, the group consensus is that research possibilities have been exhausted for the problem, leaving no further avenues to pursue, the student is encouraged to put the project on the shelf--writing a final evaluation report which states final conclusions with supporting evidence, and details research steps, sources and analysis. The summary should be shared with those interested, including fellow PS Group members and consultants.

As a Problem Solving student one is 1) a researcher, evaluator and reporter for their own research, 2) a peer within the group, providing encouragement and suggestions, 3) a student of the comments of consultants and peers, 4) a teacher sharing their own expertise with others when needed, and above all 5) a genealogy friend.

Often the encouragement a genealogist needs is validation: someone else to look at their research, evaluation, and analysis – am I on the right track? Do conclusions make sense? What data or pertinent records are missing? What are the flaws or misconceptions in evaluating data and sources? What is needed to resolve conflicts or discrepancies? For some it may be “a safe place” where others will listen to their genealogy stories and concerns.

~Judith Hansen, MLS, AG

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