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Tom Coughlan Genealogy Research

 

Assessments

 

There are two things to consider when thinking about engaging a professional researcher:

  1. How successful is the research likely to prove?

  2. How much will it cost?

Before accepting any commission, we will always consider the feasibility of a successful outcome. If it seems unlikely that research will yield results, we will say so. If it seems possible, but is far from certain, we will tell you that. Of course, it is possible we will advise that research appears likely to succeed, but then find that it doesn't. This happens from time to time, when expected records do not exist, for example, but only conducting the research reveals the shortfall.

In any case, if you are considering commissioning us for research, then we do ask for your research aims and requirements in writing, either by email or regular post. That reduces the possibility of misunderstanding your goals. All we ask is that you tell us what you want to find out and what you know already. It might help to look at this Prompt Sheet. This is something of an ideal - most people will be unable to answer all the questions on the sheet, but even some answers can be enough.

Once we have your information, we will then use whatever written and online sources and knowledge we possess or have access to in order to determine if it seems likely that we can help you meet your research goals. If the request is straightforward, then we will follow up with a simple assessment of the likelihood of a successful outcome, and if we think research is feasible, then an outline of our research strategy, and an estimated cost. If it is a more complex or significant piece of work, we will supply a formal Research Proposal document, containing our initial asssessment, strategies, proposals and costs.

If our assessment is that research is feasible, then it is up to you to decide if the approach and cost are acceptable, and also the indicated timescale. There is no obligation whatsoever.

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