Stage 3 — Research

Conduct Secondary Archival Research to identify, acquire, translate, absorb and apply existing science-based knowledge from qualified sources. Then, if and as necessary, conduct Primary Scientific Research to generate required new conceptual discoveries.  

Steps 3.1 through 3.9

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Click on the Refrigerator Door Opener image to review an example of the steps in this stage. 

Step 3.1

Project team identifies specific fundamental scientific and technical knowledge required to plan, implement and conduct envisioned project. 

Develop research problem/question. Note: Not every project requires Primary Scientific Research — if the state of existing knowledge is adequate, a project may proceed to Phase II. Engineering Development, after the Secondary Archival Research is completed.  

Step 3.2

Identify fields of expertise — and individual experts — capable of providing required knowledge. Opportunity for Knowledge Translation intake: Create a Secondary Research plan to identify, acquire, translate, absorb and apply existing science-based knowledge necessary to successfully complete the envisioned work. Then, as necessary to fill critical knowledge gaps, create a Primary Research plan to generate that new to the world knowledge.

Step 3.3

Select appropriate research designs (i.e., systematic or scoping review, action research, grounded theory, clinical research), for conducting Secondary Archival Research and for conducting Primary Scientific Research.

Step 3.4

If Primary Scientific Research is deemed necessary, then prepare/submit proposals and secure funding from appropriate sponsor. If Secondary Archival Research provides all the necessary knowledge, skip Steps 3.5 — 3.7 and go directly to Step 3.8.


By following the NtK Model through to Step 3.4, the PI's will have accumulated the necessary evidence to propose a valid solution to a verified problem, in the context of existing technical, market and consumer knowledge. Projects proposed, reviewed and funded without this foundation typically fail.  

Step 3.5

Once funding is obtained, conduct required Primary Scientific Research by implementing the selected methodologies to generate new knowledge.

Step 3.6

Monitor and track quality of Primary Scientific Research process and results. 

Collect and analyze data. 

Step 3.7

Refine process and optimize quality of research results. 

Step 3.8

Compile results from Secondary Archival Research and Primary Scientific Research, and perform analyses to integrate findings into project plan.

Tabulate and organize findings from individual studies.

Produce new knowledge through conclusion/finding.

Step 3.9

Draw conclusions — evaluate discovery state knowledge in light of proposed solution to stated problem. Before proceeding to Decision Gate 3, ensure project team has obtained all fundamental science and engineering knowledge required to successfully accomplish the project's goals, and to initiate the Invention Phase (Engineering Development). Reserve the option to return to the Research Phase (Stages, 1, 2 or 3) if new requirements for Conceptual Discoveries arise during the Invention or Innovation phases.

Reserve the option to return to the Research Phase (Stages, 1, 2 or 3) if new requirements for Conceptual Discoveries arise during Invention or Innovation phases. Recognize that such iterations will impact timeframes for entire project and will delay deliverables.

Decision Gate 3

Is the Project Team qualified to puruse the downstream requirements? If so, are they prepared to commit the time and effort necessary to complete the downstream requirements for the Invention Phase and Innovation Phase? If not the team lacks the required expertise, commitment or prior commitment, what lessons can be drawn from completed work and shared with others qualified to continue?  Determine if the Discovery Phase reaffirmed the potential for the envisioned solution to address the validated problem. If so, either continue project into the Invention Phase (Stages 4 — 6), or identify appropriate partner to initiate those activities. If neither option is viable terminate project and implement Knowledge Translation Opportunity to effectively communicate the project's Conceptual Discovery to all relevant stakeholders.