1) Identify the voices of influence on the issue. This means, who are the industry experts? Who are the organizations that have devoted significant time and resources to explore the topic at hand? What have they written? Over what length of time, and what have they discovered?
2) Identify the various perspectives. Knowing the vast points of view on a topic strengthens the credibility of the research because it reveals the complexities of the issue, and the challenges that need to be adequately addressed in order to solve the problem.
3) Pay attention to your own bias. Did you form an opinion early on? If so, what made you automatically choose a particular side of the argument? Are you now just conducting research to support your existing perspective or are you truly open to finding the best solution?
4) Interview industry experts. This is the only part of the research process where you get timely answers to original questions derived from all of your efforts. This unique part of the process allows you to seamlessly connect the evidence you've gathered, to discern how it measures up along side an expert's perspective.