Casefile Clues

28 August 2013

Is Evidence Derived?

According to the BCG Standards Manual (page 8):

"Evidence is derived from appropriate, effective data analysis and correlation..."

I'm not certain I agree with the use of the word "derived" as it relates to evidence. Evidence is information obtained from sources and used in the creation of a proof argument. I understand that. The analysis and correlation of evidence is a part of the proof argument, but evidence needs to be in a form that is as true to the original as possible, given the occasional limitations one faces when transcribing, abstracting or extracting information from sources. The correlation and analysis is a part of the argument and reasoning that goes into the proof argument and the writing of that proof argument.

Evidence is extracted or abstracted from a source, but the analysis and correlation should be part of the proof not a part of the evidence.

To me when something is "derived," it is somehow altered, changed, or modified. I don't like to change evidence. I may change what my conclusions are. I may change my proof argument. I may alter my reasoning. The evidence should not change. The analysis might.

It seems to me that saying something to the import that the decision of whether to include certain information as evidence in a proof argument stems from effective data analysis and correlation. It just seems that the word "derive" is a little strong or has a connotation that "choose" does not.

Or am I missing something?

Source:

Board for Certification of Genealogists (Washington, D.C.). 2000. The BCG genealogical standards manuall. Orem, Utah: Ancestry Pub.
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