Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2010-10 > 1285940548

From: Michele Kemper <>
Subject: [TGF] EE Discussion - Section 1.14 - Process Map for EvidenceAnalysis (Part 2)
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 09:42:28 -0400

Hey. It looks like the first part of this got some people thinking.

Let's take it to the next topic: proof.

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained : Citing History Sources
from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing
Company, 2007.


Laymen use the term proof to mean the same thing as source and evidence.
For those doing historical research, it is not the same at all.

"Proof is a conclusion supported by three things: (a) thorough researh
and documentation; (b) reliable evidence correctly interpreted and
carefully correlated; and (c) a well-reasoned analysis. The most
reliable proof is a composite of information drawn from multiple
sources--all being quality materials, independently created and
accurately representing the original facts.

If proof exists in the form of direct evidence--and we eventually
conclude that this direct evidence is indeed the best evidence
possible--our reporting of the fact may require nothing more than simply
citing its source. More often, proof involves an assimilation of
indirect evidence or a resolution of contradictory evidence--situations
commonly referred to as building a case. In those circumstances, a
written proof argument is essential."1

Here are some questions:

1. Do you agree with the definition of proof as defined in the book?
2. Do you have alternative ideas on what constitutes proof when it comes
to historical research?
3. Under what circumstances do you think that a proof argument is
required over simply citing sources?
4. What other thoughts do you have on this topic?

And the next section is a full discussion of proof arguments.

Later, Michele

1 Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained : Citing History Sources
from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing
Company, 2007), 26.

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