Orphan Results

Susan Van Dyke wrote at Slaw on How to Avoid Resource-Draining One-Off Marketing Activities. She inspired this post with one of her ideas:

  • Review your current orphans and if you’re not getting any results after a good effort of at least a couple of years, see about dropping some of these, especially if you can’t make a reasonable business case to support it.

Susan was speaking about marketing events, but this advice could apply to many things – library services, database content, use of website features, technology solutions, margarine vs. butter.

For legal research, I believe it is important to pay extra attention to orphan results.  Think of a set of case law research results. If everything seems to be pointing in one direction but there is jurisprudence that goes the another way, a legal researcher must investigate that ‘orphan result’ further.  Note it up – has the odd case been followed, commented on, blogged about, referenced by anyone in the media; is it the newest decision by date heard or by judgment date; is it the only result from a particular jurisdiction; is the decider commonly a dissenter; was there legislative change that affected the situation.

Today’s Tip: follow up on orphan results

Do you have any orphan result stories? Share in the comments or suggest a related research tip

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