Casefile Clues

12 May 2014

My Research Is Better Because I Have Citations

No, it's not.

Really, it's not. While citation to the source is necessary, research is more than simply citing everything we use. And while we applaud the fact that more genealogists cite their sources than in days past, research is not so simplistic that source citing solves every problem. Research is also not so simplistic that citing sources is all you need to do.

The quality of your genealogical research is not about your citations. It is about your process, your analysis, and your ability to clearly explain that process and analysis. Writing "up" your research includes adequate citations to the material that you have used. I may get kicked out of the genealogy club for saying so, but "you can have good research with citations that are not in the proper form (they do need to include all the proper elements, though)." I just think that for the typical researcher, it's a little silly to go bonkers over a semicolon.

Citations alone do not imply "good research."

If it were only that simple.