Research skills for Engineers: Starting a new project is a big headache even if the objectives are clear. After the initial goals and ideas are placed, questions like “What to do next?” and “Where do we go now?” start to arise, and often, these questions do not bring clear answers, adding more anxiety. Engineers and designers are not the exemption of this questioning process that does not have a clear outcome at first. Researching might be a good starting point right after the schemes are placed, sometimes, (depending on the project) it can be useful to define with broad support the goals intended to pursue. This allows for firmly claim that research skills are a must-have for an engineer.
Why is researching important?
Idea generation process
Research skills for Engineers: During the idea generation process, the mind tends to find answers to solve challenges with already-known information. Sometimes this can be tedious unless you have an eidetic memory or years of vast experience to know all the answers *If only*. Researching could improve the idea-generating process by showing the latest findings related to the project, consulting the solutions other people implemented to solve similar problems, and opening your mind a little more.
Creating Literature Background/documentation
Research skills for Engineers: Creating a Literature Background to support your decisions. There is a lot of information out there, to conduct researches to your design field will allow you to have a broader picture, and to find answers quickly when needed. Literature reviews are great tools not only for academic researchers but also for any project independently of the topic. Be aware, conducting a Literature review is not just only finding literature related to a topic, to know and to understand how to perform research has some difficulty on not to lose yourself in the vast ocean of information out there. Some recommendations can be found at the University of West Florida website.
Keep yourself updated.
Academic Researchers are constantly trying to develop new methodologies, mathematical models, physical models, manufacturing processes, and so on. Many things you learned five years ago, might have updated to a better version. Keeping yourself updated will help you remain competitive and understand the best practice related to your field. This particular aspect of research can be combined with assisting to congress and similar events. But when you are in a project, deadlines my not cope with events, so you’ll have to rely on existing and published documentation.
Do not invent the wheel again.
Sometimes, your specific problem or the specific part of your problem might be reported and solved by others. Researching avoids a lot of hours of work when there are solutions already proven. Well-Performed research might lead to existent solutions in other projects similar or analogs to yours. Although existent solutions might not fit the specific criteria of your challenge, it is a good background to support your further development.
Do not get confused by this idea, there are never two exact problems, but If you are working with shapes that need to be aerodynamics, do not reinvent the concept of an airfoil, there are complete NACA and non-NACA libraries with the estimates of the parameters you will need for your design. Unless your specific task is to design the shape of the aerodynamic foil, perhaps for the scope of your project, selecting one of the existent libraries might be enough.
“If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” Research allows you to determine the giants you should stand on to accomplish the goals of your project. As in the NACA example, if you are going to need aerodynamic shapes, rely on the existent libraries. This way, you will be able to develop a more detailed solution that would not have been able if you invested your time designing the foils when choosing an existing aerodynamic foil one was enough.
How Research skills could help 3D modeling?
We all know that software owners are always updating their features to improve the capacity, and new features require to adapt yourself. Having good research skills combined with great learning tools such as the Solidface one will keep you at the trace of the updates that might be implemented. Also, when facing a technological challenge related to any software features, like how to perform any task needed to finish your design successfully, your researcher skills will help you to find solutions more efficiently.
Learning new ways to perform the same 3D Model.
When you do research, you can see how other people have performed actions in doing similar to your 3D model. If you look at Youtube Iron Man Helmets Tutorial, you will find that different people have published their own way to do it. Perhaps if you take the time to see at least two or three of them, you might realize how they accomplished the same task in different ways. Although your project might not be an Iron Man Helmet, researching new 3D modeling techniques will surely improve your capacity and give you a wider vision that could be implemented when needed in your projects.
When facing challenges you don’t know how to solve, research can be a great ally for you and your teamwork. By performing great researches you’ll improve your chances of success in rising with a solution, and also the quality of the research will influence greatly. Now that you know this, it is clear that to train your researching skills is a must-do for you. Learning different research techniques will be needed to face your problem with a different approach, and one common way is performing a good literature review.
Even if you are involved in a project with big teams, every team member must learn this skill, because, at the end of the day, each team member works in different specific areas and have their own task to accomplish. In other words, you cannot wait for someone else to perform research to solve the task that is specifically assigned to you, and of course, it is not budget-friendly for any project to hire a research assistant for each team member.