Decision making is a process. It involves taking information, processing it in the recesses of the mind, and producing a course of action. Having been involved in the "higher educational system" for some 27 years [taught at three Universities], it would seem that there are roughly two methods involved. There are the "lumpers" and the "splitters".
The "lumpers" were the folks that needed more information. Give me more facts, more details, more information, etc.,....,etc.,...so I can make the best decision.
The "splitters" were the folks who said, don't confuse me more information. I need to split away any useless information to get down to the bare facts. All this excess is just making things worse.
For the genealogist, it takes both! At times during ones tree climbing, it is necessary to collect as much information, dates, facts, etc...etc...to get a clearer picture. At other times, it is necessary to split away all the excess information and ask what is necessary to help make this decision. For example, the following table shows my "lumping" process. It says, give me all the individuals named "JONES" during the early period of Virginia settlement.
Then it was necessary to "split" out those who had the name "John Jones". This would give me a list of those who shared this name. I could then evaluate the relationship of these individuals to my own family. [This work as been stored in my research notebooks #206 for lumping, and #207 for splitting.]
Lumping and splitting, processes for decision making they are.