In gotcha #1 we looked at the issue of having the Source quality associated with the Source Details instead of the Master Source. In gotcha #2 we look at issues dealing with evidence.
Source, Information, & Evidence
According to Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, ”sources are artifacts, books, digital files, documents, film, people, photographs, recordings, websites, etc.” (see page 24) Information is the content of the source. Evidence “represents our interpretation of information we consider relevant to the research question or problem.” (see page 25) So in order to classify evidence we need both information and a research objective. Even though the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) does not include a step to define research goals, I’ve included it as part of the Genealogy Research Process Map because it is implied. Step one of the GPS states:
“We conduct a reasonable exhaustive search in reliable sources for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question.”
The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual, page 1.
How do we know which sources to search if we don’t have a research objective? The definitions of direct and indirect evidence also points to the need to have a defined research objective:
Direct evidence – relevant information that seems to answer the research question or solve the problem all by itself.
Indirect evidence – relevant information that cannot, alone, answer the question;
Negative evidence – an inference we can draw from the absence of information that should exist under particular circumstances.
Evidence Explained, page 25
Even the definition for negative evidence hints at a research objective.
So how can we set the citation quality value for evidence in RootsMagic or any other genealogy software unless we have a research objective?