SHRA’s Process

SHRA historians and researchers use the following multi-stage process to answer research questions thoroughly and provide complete and fully documented historical context. Interactions with clients occur throughout the process. Often, these stages overlap. For example, archival research continues even after we begin analyzing primary sources and moving toward conclusions and a report.

    Engagement
    Client contacts an SHRA researcher with an area of research or set of research questions. For example, you may have a narrow inquiry that involves a clearly defined question, such as whether a road or trail existed before the government declared the area a National Forest. Or, you may have a more complicated set of research objectives, such as examining the administration of a river system over a 40-year period or the historical operators or arrangers at a CERCLA site.
    Scope of Work
    SHRA researchers review and analyze the historical literature, then identify relevant archival repositories for research.
    Research Plan
    SHRA researchers develop a thorough, detailed research plan to discuss with client. Decisions about which repositories to visit are made based upon the client’s strategy and upon proven and accepted historical methods.
    Historical Investigation and Forensic Research
    SHRA researchers conduct fieldwork at archival repositories to gather relevant primary sources. Archival repositories might include the National Archives, State Archives, Regional Archives, public libraries, or other relevant collections. Primary sources might include government records, company records, deeds, historic maps, or aerial photos, among others.
    Analysis and Review
    SHRA researchers organize, synthesize, and abstract relevant information from collected sources. They develop, follow up on, and incorporate additional research leads. From this research, they shape the historical narrative surrounding the client’s research questions.
    Deliverables
    SHRA researchers synthesize research into client’s desired deliverables as the project reaches culmination. Deliverables could include an expert report, rebuttal reports, an annotated timeline, an affidavit, or a combination of these.
    Court Preparation
    SHRA researchers serve as expert witnesses to provide historical context and perspective in deposition settings or at trial if the case goes to court.
    0 - 30 days 30 - 90 days 90 - 365+ days 90 - 120 days as required

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