This chapter explores the essential initial phase of any construction project. research : the operational scope — identifying relevant scientific keywords and conducting comprehensive literature reviews. This process is crucial for positioning the research within the existing body of knowledge, ensuring innovation and relevance of the project's contributions.

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Analysis of the operational field

This strategy involves a detailed review of project documentation to extract key terms that are essential to understanding the project scope:

  • Extraction of key concepts : Identification and extraction of central themes, technologies and methods described in the project specifications. These form the basis of the initial set of keywords.
  • Breaking down complex terms : Breaking down complex concepts into simpler terms that could be used independently in the literature.
  • Synthesis of multidisciplinary terms : For projects spanning multiple disciplines, identifying keywords that connect these areas can reveal interdisciplinary research often rich in innovative solutions.

Systematic literature review

Conducting a systematic literature review requires skill in the use of scientific databases and the implementation of structured methodologies. This section covers the training aspects necessary to enable researchers to effectively find and evaluate relevant literature.

Choosing the right databases is crucial to access quality research relevant to the field of study. Provide an overview of available scientific databases, highlighting their areas of focus and strengths. For example, PubMed for biomedical sciences, IEEE Xplore for engineering, Scopus for multidisciplinary scientific content, and others specific to disciplines like economics or psychology.

Mindmapping sessions

Engaging with subject matter experts and project stakeholders through brainstorming sessions can produce a wider range of keywords, including those that might not be immediately obvious:

  • Expert input : Subject matter experts can provide insights into alternative terminologies and emerging trends related to project themes.
  • Stakeholder Perspectives : Different stakeholders may use varying terms for similar concepts, thereby enriching the keyword pool to cover a wider range of relevant literature.

To broaden keyword research and ensure comprehensive coverage of the literature, the use of subject-specific thesauri and dictionaries is recommended:

  • Using thesaurus : A thesaurus can help find synonyms, antonyms, and related terms, broadening search terms to include both broader and narrower terms.
  • Subject-specific dictionaries : These resources are invaluable for understanding the specific terminology used in a field, especially for technical or niche fields.

Expanding the search by including broader and narrower terms related to key concepts ensures in-depth exploration of related topics:

  • Hierarchical expansion : Identification of hierarchical relationships in terms (for example, “heart disease” is broader than “myocardial infarction”).
  • Related terms : Inclusion of terms that are not synonyms but are closely related in context (for example, “solar energy” and “photovoltaics”).

Implementing feedback loops during the keyword identification process improves the relevance and comprehensiveness of search terms:

  • Preliminary research : Carrying out preliminary research with the initial keywords to assess the relevance of the results. Adjustments are made based on the results to refine the keyword list.
  • Iterative refinement : Continuous refinement of keywords through repeated searches and expert consultations until the searches produce comprehensive and relevant results.

These strategies ensure that the identified keywords are closely aligned with the project specifications and comprehensive enough to capture all relevant literature, thus laying a solid foundation for a literature review systematic and thorough.

Most of the time, a project (depending on its maturity) may not use the same keywords as the scientific fields. Feedback loops aim to refine a mindmap by adding the right keywords and broadening the scope of solutions by proposing new ways of understanding the primal problem. Note that a problem can be broken down and solved in a variety of ways. Finding them improves the prism of methods that can be used, and therefore the choice of those to use in the project.

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