By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student
If you are working towards a certificate at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, the Analysis and Skills Mentoring 1, 2, and 3 courses are required subjects. However, as you will read below, they are also great ways to test if your genealogy methodology and research skills are up to par. I wrote previously about Analysis and Skills Mentoring 1 in this blog post so you can get an idea about that course. This blog post takes a look at both Analysis and Skills Mentoring 2 and 3 because they have the same elements and each one builds upon the other.
The main difference between Analysis and Skills Mentoring 1 and the other two courses is that Analysis and Skills Mentoring 2 and 3 require you to transcribe and abstract a document. This can be one of the more difficult assignments for students. Many feel it is because everyone has a different style of how they transcribe or abstract. And, while this may be aesthetically true for abstracts, a transcription is a true-to-life copy of the original. That fact by itself means that if you adhere to the guidelines taught in the course you will be fine. Abstractions are the ones that I feel can be more difficult. To me, beyond deleting the boiler point information, it feels almost subjective as to what you should leave in or take out.
Beyond the transcription and abstraction, your assignments include a series of research questions that test the skills you should have learned through the intermediate level (AS 2) and advanced level (AS 3) courses. I didn’t feel they were too difficult, as long as you take your time and read through everything. In one instance I rushed through an assignment, but luckily I put it to the side and came back later to review my work before submitting. There were a couple glaring errors which should have stood out to me the first time! So big tip: read and the re-read your submissions.
All three Analysis and Skills Mentoring courses have a National Genealogical Society Quarterly journal article to read and analyze. A lot of the students I talked with thought the Analysis and Skills Mentoring 2 reading, Organizing Meager Evidence to Reveal Lineages: An Irish Example-Geddes of Tyrone by Dr. Thomas W Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, was a bit harder than the Analysis and Skills Mentoring 3 article, Identification through Signatures: Using Complex Direct Evidence to Sort Colwills of Cornwall by Ronald A Hill, Ph.D., CG. In fact, many felt it was the most difficult article of all three courses. This may be, in my opinion, because it is a bit more theoretical and there are some great “get you thinking” type questions.
On that note, I hope you feel a little more prepared to jump into the Analysis and Skills Mentoring courses. Remember, you have a full year to complete the course. So there’s no need to rush, especially through the transcriptions. You also have two instructor consultations per course which is a great way to get feedback from instructors at The National Institute on what you may need to work more on. Plus, there are always Article Review Virtual Meeting (and Analysis and Skills Mentoring General Virtual Meeting) sessions you can join in when you get to a sticking point with the articles. If you take your time, and take advantage of the resources made available to you, these courses will be no problem.
See you online!