As I write the Client Report, I find that there are times that I am forced to used secondary sources when primary sources are not available; for example, using a death certificate to provide birth information because no birth certificate is available or state statutes make it inaccessible. This primary/secondary issue becomes evident when the reader looks at the citation for the facts presented.
The question is, whether I should spend time in the report explaining why a secondary source is used in place of a primary source. Alternatively, should the citation itself have some statement as to why the primary source is not used.
It seems to me that such as discussion in the body of the report seems distracting, and bringing it up in the citation would make the citation long and rambling.
I would sure like to hear anyone's thoughts/suggestions.. I wish that I had thought to bring this up at the ICAPGen Conference.
I think it should be addressed briefly in the body of the report. By doing that, it shows you understand that not all sources are created equal, and that you've tried to get the best source possible. If a secondary source really is the best source available, you've gotta use it! :)
Just my two cents...