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. Research helps you to find out about previous studies on your topic and what those researchers have concluded. 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 number of projects you may be working on once you enter the workplace.
This chapter contains the following sections that will help you develop your research skills and meet the following learning objectives:
5.1 Understand basic research terminology related to conducting and disseminating various kinds of research.
5.2 Find and evaluate research sources to determine their reliability, authority, and relevance.
5.3 Understand how to use various methods to define the scope of your project and narrow your research question for a problem-based project.
5.4 Understand the human research ethics requirements and protocols when humans are involved (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.)
5.5 Understand what stakeholders are, how to map the stakeholders related to your project, and the general types of stakeholder engagement and consultation strategies commonly used in public engagement plans.