Services: FAQ

Q: What Kind of Research Does the Harvard Research Service do?
A: HSR does historical research. The research service finds original documents in the Harvard libraries and archives, and sometimes in other Boston area archives and libraries, for clients who need these documents and cannot come to Harvard. We can find and make arrangements to have documents reproduced; we can also read, analyze, and transcribe documents for clients. If allowed by the archive or library, we can take photographs of documents and transmit these to clients via Box or Dropbox or by DVD/CD. In certain circumstances we can look for documents in languages other than English.

Q: Who Uses The Harvard Research Service?
A: Anyone is welcome to place an order with the research service. Most of our clients are professors, teachers, university students, and writers from all over the world. We have also worked with business executives and people undertaking research about individuals who attended Harvard. We work with people from all walks of life.

Q:  How Long Does it Take to Get Research Done?
A: The length of time to complete a research project varies greatly. The Research Service never guarantees that it can find any document, or complete a research job by a certain date. We can give you a rough estimate of how long a job may take when you contact us, and also give you an estimate of how many hours you should authorize initially for the job. The best way to approach this issue is to get your research request into us several months---or longer---before your deadline, and contact early with any questions. HSR does not do rush jobs.

Q: Who Are the Researchers the Service Uses to Do the Research? Are They Trained in Research Techniques?
A: Our researchers are generally Harvard students and recent Harvard graduates. Individuals cannot work for the Research Service unless they are currently attending Harvard, are recent Harvard students, or in a few cases Harvard graduates. All researchers are interviewed by the Head Researcher and in some Cases the Research Team Manager. All have an interest in doing historical research. The Head Researcher accompanies each new researcher for the first research job to provide guidance and orientation. Each researcher is given a Research Manual to read and study, which contains information about Harvard's libraries and the procedures we follow when working for clients. We also provide quality control checks by following up with clients to ensure the research was performed in a competent manner.

Q: How Does Billing Work?
A: We bill after every time the researcher makes a visit to the archives. An invoice should be emailed to you every time your card is charged.

Q: Is There a Minimum Research Requirement for Research Services? 
A: The minimum research hour requirement is 2 hours. After this 2 hour minimum, you will be refunded for any additional hours that go unused. However, any unused time within the first 2 hour minimum will not be refunded.