Deconstructing The Work of Research

This framework deconstructs the work of research into core craft and human skills. Dividing our skills into discrete units, craft patterns and human skills, we can re-evaluate and re-frame our work. The framework also comes with a collection of tools so you can try activities immediately before digging into the details.
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Tools and insights in the framework are built from three key frames for evaluating the craft skills:

Craft skills by potential for leverage & impact:

Craft skills are grouped in thirteen themes, which are mapped to a spectrum of influence. The more visible the work is to an organization, the more influence it may bring. Look to move "up" this chain to identify new levers that will allow you to create the most value from your efforts.

Visibility and influence doesn't correspond to importance. As practitioners we can't skip the acquisition of skills on the "invisible" side of the spectrum, quality on the "low visibility" themes is the foundation for every higher-order skill area.

Take this value chain as one hypothesis for the relative organizational influence of each skill theme, and their interdependencies.

Human skills by actor map layer:

Human skills - usually called 'soft skills' - amplify the value that your craft skills bring forth. Human skills are critical for anyone involved in the work of research, regardless of experience level, and merit the investment of time and effort required to develop them.

In RSF, each human skill is mapped to the most probable layer of influence, starting with self and extending beyond your organization.

For practitioners working in an agency/consultancy environment, take both your own and your client's organizations into consideration when identifying the Actors whom you want to reach with your work.

Craft skills by research process phase:

The work of research is iterative, but there's a sequence that underpins the general flow. In RSF, each craft skill is mapped to the most relevant step in this six-step research process.

A researcher's scope of responsibility will typically start in the middle—execute and analyze—of this process, and extend outwards as their skills develop. This frame helps us "locate" each skill in the arc of whatever process we use it in. All skills indicate where they sit (most closely) in the research process. (See also: researcher’s journey article.)

Driven by volunteers in the ReOps community, and organizers and participants around the world

"RSF" is the result of a one and a half year project with the ResearchOps Community. A small team of volunteer leads and members, together with 76 facilitators, developed this project. See the full list of project contributors.
ResearchOps community