Gary, The most obvious help UFT provides for your research is in recording the sources of your data. There are more ways to do this in UFT than most other products. If you are consistant in recording the details of where and what you found (in sources, footnotes, or research notes) you are less likely to cover the same research matterial twice, or rely on questionable data (that you originally didn't note as questionable), or know what sources are useful. Although we generally record source information, we sometimes don't, and then have regrets when we go back later to work on a family. And sometimes our sources are not as complete as they should be. Occasionally I put a compete entry into a research note, just so I can go back and see exactly what we know or don't know about an event (without searching our paper records).
The other area I find very useful is the event structure of UFT, where everyone related to an event can be linked to that event. For a census, for example, we link everyone listed in the household, and sometimes neighbours if they seem related. We can then go to any individual, press Shift-F8 to get a list of all of that individual's events (whether they were principal or not), select an event of interest, check on all the information we have on that event, and possibly jump over to anyone else linked to the event. The event list also shows you just where and when the individual is known to exist (although normal caviats still apply, such as a listing in a will does not mean the person was alive, even at the time of writing the will). A family's history is made up of many events, each having several, or maybe a large number, of family members and others taking part.Recording that data in a linked database can help you understand a person's life more easily, and hence plan future research to unearth more data.
UFT has powerful data search features that let you find anyone in your database related to any piece of information, such as a source entry or a place. UFT 3.0 has a global find and replace which extends this power to any text in just about any field.
Most genealogy programs organize just that: the genealogy, or the Birth and Marriage data that are the primary links between family members. Other events generally are just linked to a single person. Other relationships between people are generally just recorded in various text areas, without the database linkages. A family history database, such as UFT, can link everyone to all events they are associated with. The only other event oriented program I know of is The Master Genealogist.But it does not have the same rich set of pre-defined roles for various events.In UFT, each has a default role sentence that will be used if the person in that role is your principal individual (even, for example, if he or she was just an inmate in a workhouse). And UFT has the flexibility to let you change that sentence to suit just an individual, or for all individuals in that role. And if you don't find the event or role you want to use, you can define them yourself.
We use these features often when trying tomore fully understand the data we have, or don't have. Whenever I have looked at another product, my main criteria is: how well does it help in my research. Most products have the standard reports, and differ primarily in how pretty they produce them. It is as a research tool that I think UFT stands out.
This explanation, of course, is based on my somewhat limited experience. I've read reviews and seen demos of other products, but I've only really used a few other packages (including FTM). Aside from the first few I kept my main database in, I quickly rejected them as inadequate for the way we want to work with our family information. Unless a new product comes on the market with much better features than most of the current competition, I'll stick with UFT as long as I can, even if no further updates become available.