We recently noted a wonderful insight on public records research from the Social Qs column which appears each Sunday in, of all places, the Style Section of The New York Times. For those of you who haven't read the column, author and attorney Philip Galanes "offers lighthearted advice about awkward social situations" like whether or not it is OK to sign for a wrongly delivered pizza and then refuse to return the uneaten pizza to the driver once he realizes his mistake (not OK). Another example: a reader seeking advice on whether or not it is appropriate to use a single-occupancy bathroom designated for the opposite sex (Yes, since "sharing is good").
Galanes' advice is delivered in a conversational tone but also contains a deeper insight. Such was the case with his recent "Enjoy the Mystery" offering in which he advised a reader to approach Google cautiously when preparing for a first date. Under it all, Galanes offered an insight into the nature of public records: They reveal facts but they don't necessarily tell the whole story.
Public records researchers would be well-advised to keep Galanes' gem front and center since doing so will prevent overstatement (i.e., letting your rhetoric run away from the facts that the analyzed record actually supports) and under-analysis (i.e., departing from a line of inquiry without fully exploring all of the records that could be useful in supporting it).