One of the most elegant refers to three broad phases of activity: access (focusing on the identifiability and usability of information), elucidation (extracting meaning and insight from it), and dissemination (distributing and circulating knowledge derived from it).*
As investigative researchers, we excel at access-enabling work: identifying and locating relevant information, understanding its provenance and implications, and making it available to clients through traditional and innovative means. The axiom that information is only useful and relevant if it is processed in a way that elucidates meaning from it and improves understanding - from basic indexing, cross-referencing and document digitisation through to advanced analytical processing - is as true today as it has always been. Knowledge transfer and dissemination - transforming accessible, processed information into products and formats fit for client use, and communicating them effectively - requires careful, deliberate calibration of report substance, format, style, speed, timing and method of delivery.
Research can mean many things. Ultimately it is about purposeful inquiry, systematic observation, meticulous attention to detail, and the spirit of discovery.
*Full bibliographic references available on request.