Applicants for certification are sent a photocopy of an historical document that relates to the geographic areas and time periods in which they normally work. The document is chosen based on the research background the applicant specified in his or her Preliminary Application. This part of the certification test gives an applicant an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to read handwritten records, analyze their contents, and design an intelligent research plan for answering a research question based on clues found in a document. An applicant is also asked to submit a document of their own choice. For each document, BCG-supplied and applicant-supplied, applicants are asked to:
- Transcribe the document;
- Abstract the document;
- Write a brief statement of a research focus— who or what question you might have been investigating that would cause you to retrieve and analyze this document;
- Write a statement identifying a research focus,a
research problem that identifies (a) who in the document
you would envision researching and (b) what you would hope
to find out about him, her, or them by pursuing the search
- Compile a research plan containing the first steps for examining other materials or using methods to pursue the same research focus.
For your educational benefit, we have posted sample documents with accompanying transcriptions and abstracts.