Research Methods 1 : Make a note of all sources searched, even those which have not returned a positive result. 2 : Transcribe exactly what is written never abbreviate or expand any words. 3 : Note the date you accessed the records and what the records covered. 4 : Whenever possible photocopy the source material, rather than transcribe, this avoids mistakes. 5 : Label all transcripts and copies with the source, date & repository 6 : Be methodical in your approach, if searching for a specific event start before the expected date and work past the date. 7 : When stuck reading old handwriting scan the pages for other instances of the letter or word in a familiar context 8 : Familiarize yourself with abbreviations and markers used to indicate missing letter(s), there are many guides available for this. 9 : If in doubt ask, archivists, librarians and mailing lists will all help you solve your problems, but you have to ask first. 10 : Reassess your work frequently, new finds may prove or disprove earlier theories.