“Writing Logical Proof Arguments”
Michael Hait, CG
One aspect of the Genealogical Proof Standard requires genealogists to develop “a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.” Some of the most compelling and educational genealogical articles present multidimensional arguments based on a combination of conflicting direct, indirect, and negative evidence.
Whether a simple proof statement, a more involved proof summary, or a complex proof argument based on conflicting or indirect evidence, these written conclusions must follow basic principles of logic.
This course will explore principles of deductive and inductive logic, with a focus on building strong arguments. We will deconstruct a published case study into standard argument form, then organize pieces of information relevant to a research problem into this argument form. Finally, registrants will learn how to transform a logical argument into a well-written narrative proof argument.
The course is appropriate for intermediate and advanced genealogists, as well as professional genealogists, who wish to learn a method of effectively organizing and writing their research results. Students will be given a reading assignment to prepare and short ungraded exercise to practice the principles learned.
Michael Hait, CG, is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written case studies for several genealogical journals including the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. In 2012 Michael won 1st prize in the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Competition for his article “In the Shadow of Rebellions,” exploring descendants of an enslaved woman living in 19th-century Maryland.
Michael currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2013–2016), and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (2012–2013). For more information, visit www.haitfamilyresearch.com.
- Lecture 1: “Principles of Logic and Arguments”
- Lecture 2: “Dissecting a Published Proof Argument”
- Lecture 3: “Turning Evidence into a Logical Argument”
- Lecture 4: “Putting Your Argument into Writing”