Most projects you work on—whether you are developing innovative new products, planning or implementing ideas, proposing ideas, or recommending solutions—will require research. Research can save you time by determining what other similar designs/solutions have already been proposed, what has been tried and tested in the past and what the results were, what patents are already in place, and so forth. It also helps you to understand the background of your project and how it fits into a larger context. Finally, research is necessary to help you to develop and validate your ideas by showing how similar projects have had beneficial outcomes. Researching is one of the key steps in any design process.
The chapter contains the following sections that will help you develop your research skills and meet the following learning objectives:
5.1 Research Terminology: understand basic terms related to conducting and disseminating various kinds of research.
5.2 Finding and Evaluating Research Sources: review various kinds of sources and how to determine their reliability, authority, and relevance as research sources in professional context.
5.3 Defining the Scope of Your Project: understand how to use various methods to refine the scope of your project and determine a focused research question for a problem-based project.
5.4 Human Research Ethics: understand the requirements and protocols for conducting primary research using human subjects (e.g.: surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.)
5.5 Stakeholder Engagement and Consultation: Understand what stakeholders are, how to map the stakeholders related to your project, and the general types of engagement strategies commonly used in public engagement plans.