Approaches to Conducting Research

The research protocol is the procedure used to gather data, information or knowledge to clarify understanding and make decisions. Research involves a systematic but flexible method to obtain facts, figures and supporting content. If/then hypotheses are an inherent part of research methodology. Approaches to research are quantitative (numbers oriented) and/or qualitative (values-based).

Project Team Members (PMTs) spend approximately 90% of their time communicating and engage a variety of activities to complete research, including: phone calls, emails, meeting and other forms of correspondence. Research is integrally related to project management and may utilize evaluation-related processes as a framework. These activities can be viewed across the process groups and knowledge areas as depicted below.
Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring / Controlling Closing
Communications Determine Stakeholder Relationships Focus Groups Interviews Surveys Participant Observation Information Distribution Performance Reporting
Cost Opportunity / Sunk Costs Top Down / Bottom Up / Parametric IRR / NPV Earned Value Analysis Payback Period / Return on Investment
Human Resources Job Role Determination Job Description Responsibility Assignment Matrix Productivity Per Person Job Evaluation
Integration Case Studies Comparative / Competitive Analysis Internal Benchmarking Best Practices Archive Records
Procurement RFI RFP SOW Service Level Agreement Contract Signoff
Quality Criteria / Values Change Management Verification / Validation / Testing Change Control Inspection / Audit
Risk Flow Chart/Process Map Decision Tree / Logic Model Risk Breakdown Structure Monte Carlo / Simulation / Delphi Cause / Effect Analysis
Scope Requirements Gathering WBS / WBS Dictionary Requirements Management Configuration Management Value Stream Map
Time Timeline / Schedule PERT / AON / AOA Fast-tracking / Crashing Critical Path / Dependencies GANNT / Milestones