Quicksheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to the Research Process

In her book Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Elizabeth Shown Mills discusses successful research through a series of models. These models are outlined in Quicksheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to the Research Process. According to Mills, “reliable research is not achieved by trolling the Internet for a name; using indexes and databases as though they were actual records; or accepting uncritically whatever conclusions others tout.”

However, Mills believes success can be achieved through following a set patterns described in her book and outlined in this chart in the following four models:

  • The Research Process Model
  • The Research Analysis Model
  • The Identity Triangulation Model
  • The Reliability Model

The guide is printed in two colors (black and blue), folded in half to fit any folder; including, space enough for a three hole punch and binder insertion. This laminated, four-page quick reference gives the researcher an easy guide for following a successful research methodology that returns results. The QuickSheet begins with a Basic Principles section and a Research Report summary. The remainder of the guide provides models to follow in successful research. See the “Contents” section below for an outline of what each model covers.



Basic Principles

Your Research Report

  • Starting Point Data (corresponds to Stage 1)
  • Research Findings (corresponds to Stage 2)
  • Evaluation (corresponds to Stage 3)
  • Attachment

The Research Process Model

  • Stage 1: Preparation
  • Stage 2: Performance
  • Stage 3: Evaluation
  • Stage 4: Reporting

The Research Analysis Model

  • The Principle
  • Sources
  • Information
  • Evidence

The Identity Triangulation Model

  • The Principle
  • Persona
  • Relationships
  • Origin
  • Triangulation

The Reliability Model

  • The Principle
  • Criteria and the Qualities That Should Be Met (table)


Elizabeth Mills is an expert researcher and family historian. Here are some of her works we have previously reviewed, including other quicksheets:


Order Quicksheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to the Research Process. From Family Roots Publishing; Item #: GPC3870, Price: $6.86.

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