OK, I know when people see "intelligence" they think about spy agencies and whatnot. Well, most of what PIs deal with is intelligence. Sometimes a PI will forget about assessing the intelligence "because the information is so good." What I mean by that is, we learn something from a source that really could blow the case wide open. We need to tread lightly, if we do not assess the intelligence.
OK, I have already over used "assess" so I will explain what I mean. When we gather information, we need to weigh the quality of information we receive. We really need to explain this if and when we pass this information on in our reports. One line you should never see in a PIs report is "I learned that..." or "I discovered that..." at least not with an explanation of how it was learned/discovered.
You see, sometimes how you get the information is nearly as important as the information itself. I am not saying you need to reveal your sources directly. Example: Let's say you run a report from one of the data companies. The report shows that your person of interest resides at 123 Austin Street, Houston, TX. Look at the report closely. Does it show a driver's license using that address? Can you find a second source through public records or even a Google search? You should never just say "Well, Acme information service says he lives there."
Here is an example of what I mean. I had to farm out a paper to be served out of state. I gave them the information that I had. I also explained where I received the information. This included using "a friend of a friend on Facebook." It also included jail booking records and what agency it was from.
If I just said "I have information he is at that address." without passing on how I got the information, the people receiving it have no idea how to assess the information.
This happens all the time. What happens? Someone telling me information without giving me an idea where it came from. How do I know it happens? I get something from someone almost every day this way. What happens when I cannot confirm the information or deny it right away? I have to pick up the phone or email and ask how did they get the information.
Save a step - pass on how you got the information. You may have to say, "I have an informant I have used in the past that has been very reliable." That is OK. Or, "I learned it from the Ex." Exes often keep closer tabs on the whereabouts of the ex than they did when they were together - go figure.
Weigh your intelligence, it will help you know how much time and effort to put in on what you are doing, Sometimes you only have a sliver of information, and that is fine. Just know how to use your resources wisely.