There was no doubt from the beginning on the need for establishing the methodology of the work: to define the indicators for choosing entries, to describe the structure of articles and explain the type and style of writing for such an encyclopaedia, and, more importantly, to provide a guideline for authors, editors and members of the editorial board. Thus, an extensive initial study was conducted, looking at various methodologies for similar works, and finally the Hazara Encyclopaedia Methodology (picture 2) was written using several relevant sources. The methodology plays the role of an instruction handbook which delivers answers to the relevant questions on an issue, and helps the authors on how to cover the entries using provided sources. However, the handbook is being amended, reformed and updated regularly to ensure that entries are covered in the best possible way.
The research and study for the encyclopaedia is mainly done in Dari, the Farsi dialect used in Afghanistan; however, the intent is for the Encyclopaedia to be translated and published in foreign languages, particularly in English, to provide a reliable and academic source of information on Hazara people, and eventually all Afghan ethnic groups, for researchers on Afghan society and culture. Based on the initial plan, the Farsi and English versions should be published at the same time. Meanwhile, the articles written in English or any other foreign languages will be translated into Dari.
One of the primary but essential tasks was finding, gathering and digitalizing the relevant main sources for the research. The main sources are estimated as over one thousand, of which most of them, including some rare ones, have been found and made available to authors. There was an attempt from the beginning to digitalize the main sources due to the fact that authors are located all across Afghanistan and the world, which meant it would be difficult to send the physical sources to them. The work on finding the relevant sources is ongoing, with more focus now on sources in foreign languages including English, Russian and Arabic. These are located in different libraries all across the world.
The Encyclopaedia Council realized after some studies on the area of field work that a comprehensive questionnaire needs to be designed for the unit of ‘village’ to gather the necessary information for authors. The questionnaire is designed in two versions; for experts to conduct interviews with informed people and fill it, and for ordinary people belonging to different villages in Hazara inhabited areas all across Afghanistan to complete themselves. The information for each village will be compared to fill the gaps and complement each other.