One thing I try and discuss in every article is the goals of the specific research that lead to the record being discussed.
Regular readers know that many issues of Casefile Clues focuses on analyzing one specific document. We usually analyze that document in isolation–not because research is in isolation, but because it often helps us to focus on as many details in that one document as possible without bringing in “other information” that may cloud what the documet says.
Of course, later we need to put together all the documents we’ve found and see what general conclusions are supported from those documents.
Our analysis of individual documents is usually completed with a discussion of what the research goals are, why/how this document was located, and what the most reasonable next steps are moving forward.
But the goals do matter and while we encourage exhaustive research and “locating everything,” we try and balance that with practicality, access to records, and cost of obtaining records.