Definition of Research - Department of Business

Below are five basic types of research valued by the department.  These definitions provide guidance, but are not distinct because overlap may exist across types of research.  Additionally, the definitions are not exhaustive of all possible types of significant research.  The intention of the definitions is to value and encourage research in all its diverse forms.

Applied Research includes activities that relate knowledge in academic disciplines to communities beyond academia (e.g., "hands on" applications of expertise to real-world situations).  Applications may include:

  • Hands-on research, planning, analysis, design or implementation to "real-world" problems of businesses, governments, agencies, non-profits or other appropriate entities.  This may take the form of consulting, advising, practicing in an area of expertise or other applicable manner.
  • Original investigations and/or analysis oriented to solving actual problems.
  • Planning, developing, implementing, or operating solutions to "real-world" problems through use of existing discipline-based knowledge, proven methodologies, best practices, or innovative approaches.
  • Making information and/or ideas accessible to the public or private sector.  The Department of Business acknowledges that in many cases the applied research and value generated will be highly confidential and cannot be communicated beyond the stakeholders for whom it was created.

Research of Teaching and Learning includes activities that are directly related to improving pedagogical practices.  This type of scholarship is oriented to discovery, evaluation, and communication of information about the teaching and learning process.  Applications may include:

  • Research projects associated with course development, curricula development, course revisions or conversions to formats, such as online delivery.
  • Participating in conferences which may include: presenter, reviewer, panel chair/organizer, session chair, attendee, discussant, or panel member at campus, local, regional, national or international events.
  • Sharing research findings during a work shop, training session, seminar, panel, or presentation.
  • Advising students in their research projects.  The faculty member's name should appear on the document as an advisor or investigator.

Discovery Research includes all activities that extend knowledge through the discovery or collection of new information.  The scholarship of discovery includes, but is not limited to, what is typically called basic or original research.  Applications may include:

  • Getting work published in journals, trade publications, newspapers, professional on-line publications, manuals, educational videos, reports used in presentations related to outreach, consulting, committees, or associations; as well as works under review and works in progress.
  • Grant writing activities, which include the levels of local, university, UW System, State agencies, foundations, Federal government, or non-university grants in support of outside agencies.  The faculty member's name must appear as one of the grant applicants or investigators.

Field Research includes scholarly and applied activities that add value to public, private, government, non-profit or other appropriate entities.  Dissemination of such research may include such things as analysis, reports, financial plans, strategic plans, process designs, organization designs. technology designs, implementation, operation or other deliverables.  Additional examples include meaningful information, economic impact, competitive advantage, strategic positioning, and resolution of disputed ideas, realized benefits, implementation plans, new capabilities and other valued deliverables to be determined with the entity.  Applications may include:

  • Disseminating research finding to scholarly audiences, professional audiences, or private business, non-profits, and governments.
  • Developing case studies based on research findings for publication and/or courses taught.
  • Reporting research findings of best practices or leading applications.

Integrative Research includes activities that are primarily interdisciplinary and interpretive, seeking better understanding of existing knowledge through integration across disciplines and original synthesis to bring new meanings and insights.
The above definitions will be used for at least the following purposes:

  • The Business Department shall use these definitions for clarification of departmental expectations regarding research and shall incorporate these definitions where appropriate in department bylaws.  Such inclusion shall be made by the time the bylaws are submitted for review.
  • The Business Department shall use the definitions for making departmental personnel policies and personnel decisions.

(Submitted: September 2006; Reviewed October 2014)