Getting It Right

R&D Methods for Science and Engineering


  • Peter Bock, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Over the past decade, the author has met with directors of R&D departments in large industrial firms, who are frustrated by the lack of coherent and consistent methodologies in R&D projects. As a direct result the author was asked to design and present a seminar to provide R&D engineers and scientists a standard methodology for conducting coherent, rigorous, comprehensible, and consistent R&D projects. The author also realized that this training should be included in engineering and science curricula in universities and colleges. To this end, he designed and presented a pilot course for his department that was received enthusiastically by students who participated. This course has now become a required course for all doctoral students in the author's department.This book has been designed to provide professional engineers, scientists, and students with a consistent and practical framework for the rigorous conduct and communication of complex research and development projects. Although courses and training in research methods are common and generally required of social science professionals, a vast majority of physical scientists and engineers have had no formal classroom training or on-the-job mentoring on proper procedures for research methods. Getting It Right emphasizes the comprehensive analysis of project problems, requirements, and objectives; the use of standard and consistent terminology and procedures; the design of rigorous and reproducible experiments; the appropriate reduction and interpretation of project results; and the effective communication of project design, methods, results, and conclusions.
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Scientists and engineers in all fields of research and development, social scientists, and managers of R&D projects.


Book information

  • Published: August 2001
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-108852-1


A textbook introducing principles and practices of research. The sections cover project organization, knowledge representation, and the scientific method.Book News, Inc.®, Portland, OR

Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsForeword (Fridolin Piwonka)Part I IntroductionResearch and DevelopmentProcess and PreparationPart II Project OrganizationThe Project HierarchyThe Project TaskPart III Knowledge RepresentationAn Epistemological JourneyCategories and Types of KnowledgeRoles of Knowledge PropositionsLimits of KnowledgePart IV The Scientific MethodOverviewAnalysisHypothesisSynthesisValidationAppendicesBibliographyGlossaryTipsSummaries and GuidelinesSample Milestone Charts