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Quality Research

Quality research as defined by CII must satisfy the six key criteria listed below:

I. The Topic (and RTS) is well structured and addresses a valid industry concern.

  1. High-value, high-impact topic.
  2. Clear and concise statement of topic in the Research Topic Statement (RTS)
  3. Very precise statement of the Essential Question (or Essential Assignment)
  4. Documentation of the topic as a significant industry concern in respected publications
  5. Board of Advisor members are vocal advocates of the research topic
  6. Something new or something that needs to be updated due to industry changes Industry improvement or advancement
  7. Excites the industry and the academics

II. Team Dynamics: The research is competently done in the CII mold.

  1. The RT meets regularly, keeps minutes and maintains a forward momentum. It does not backtrack or lose its way
  2. The RT membership is relatively stable and committed to successfully undertaking a joint venture between industry and academia
  3. The industry chair (and vice-chair) and academics clearly establish their respective roles and responsibilities and closely collaborate each other to enhance team performance
  4. Participation is constant and active
  5. Team members have tapped the breadth of their collective experience and resources to think outside the box and—to the best of their ability—to produce breakthrough work. All believe they are pushing a frontier. Team participation is not a chore, it is an adventure
  6. Team members explore various and different perspectives yet focus on the agreed research direction through constructive alignment effort
  7. In the kick-off meeting, a high bar is set for the RT and a schedule-driven feedback loop is established with the RC
  8. Team meetings are effectively managed and operated to meet the research milestones as well as provide team members with a learning opportunity from each other

III. Research Methodology: Work is done in the classic research mode.

  1. Balance academic rigor and industry relevance.
    1. The academic team members possess and deliver the necessary quantitative and analytical research expertise (Process). The industry team members respect, understand, and appreciate this expertise and support the academics in achieving excellence.  
    2. The industry team members possess and deliver the necessary domain expertise, influence, and access to resources to support the research. (Domain) The academics respect, understand, and appreciate this domain expertise and does not try to unduly influence this with preconceptions.
  2. The team pursues clear and consistent objectives, not merely ill-defined preferences.
    1. Essential questions are translated into a researchable format, without loss of the essence or impact of the original statement.
    2. Objectives are cast in the hypothesize-and-test mode, with multiple explanations having been explored and the most effective explanation selected.
    3. Further research needs are clarified by the work–the answer to this question inspires new, clearly stated questions.
  3. The research team understands and is committed to the research methodology; all team members know where the team is going and how to get there.
    1. The methodology follows the “Problem/Question → Hypothesis → Data Collection and Analysis → Validation → Implementation Guidance” process defined in the RFQ.
    2. The methodology is solid, committed to paper, and has the support of the whole team before substantial time and energy are spent on the work.  The methodology supports the production of breakthrough work.
    3. The methodology is logically related to essential question and is doable within the time and cost constraints.
    4. The methodology will produce an innovative work product – it is not just a matter of cranking the handle and seeing what comes out. 
  4. Data used for the work are appropriate and defensible; its provenance is clear, and its statistical parameters and significance are demonstrated.
    1. Data collected in the validation phase must be objective and validated; it should not simply be the result of a strictly opinion-based survey.
    2. Creativity is key to collecting objective data that is appropriate to the research topic. Beyond using surveys, teams are encouraged to consider using data collection methods such as interviews, workshops, field samples/case studies, and theoretical models, or combinations of these methods.
    3. The required quantity and quality of data can be collected given the time and other resources available.
    4. If a survey approach is used for data collection, it should comply with CII guidance on using surveys.
    5. Data are collected from multiple data sources rather than a single source improving data reliability.
  5. The work clearly stands on the shoulders of others.
    1. Relevant background research is outlined. Key work by others may be presented in some detail—supported, refuted, or extended.
    2. Intellectual property drawn from past work is properly cited.
    3. CII work and archival sources are heavily used.
    4. Conclusions are repeatable. Data and analyses are presented clearly with enough of an analytical framework that other researchers could repeat the study and come to similar conclusions.
    5. The team resists the pressure to conclude too much or reach too far.
    6. Encourage “breakthrough thinking,” discourage mediocrity.

IV. Product Design and Development: The research product answers the essential question and is of value to the CII membership.

  1. The entire team participates in planning and outlining the research summary but the document is clearly the responsibility of the industry chairs and the industry team members who have full responsibility for the delivery and quality of the final product.
  2. The entire team participates in planning and outlining the research report, but the time, cost, and quality of the final product is the responsibility of the academic.
  3. The research products clearly answer the essential question provided in the RTS.
    1. The research objectives described in the research product are aligned with the essential question.
    2. The research product addresses the need conveyed in the RTS, and conveys how the team has responded to the essential question.
    3. The research product conveys the context and existing information on the topic and considers various perspectives relevant to the topic.
  4. The research product:
    1. Is based on fact-based data – not opinions.
    2. Is validated by objective research.
    3. Presents results in ways that highlight critical findings.
    4. Provides an answer that can be readily implemented.
  5. Data and analysis are presented in a format that can be replicated by other CII members.
  6. Critical assumptions, contrary findings, and alternative interpretations are all discussed.
  7. The research product makes cautious conclusions and carefully discusses their implications.
  8. The research product can be readily implemented.
    1. Tools produced by the team lead to the solution.
    2. The research product offers a timely solution to or amelioration of a lingering problem.
    3. The research team offers a solution or innovation that can improve the industry.
    4. Industry adopts and widely uses the research product.
  9. The research product provides support for breakthrough thinking.


V. Contributes to the storehouse of knowledge.

  1. Team completes required documents—producing at a minimum a research summary and a research report—with the understanding that an implementation resource or implementation tool may not be appropriate.
  2. Work results in a minimum of one journal article attributed to CII.
  3. Work results in a minimum of one conference paper attributed to CII.
  4. Work is taught in CII professional development courses.
  5. Work is recognized as valuable by other professional development providers or curricula.
  6. Graduate or undergraduate courses are modified to include the material.


Last modified and verified on 3-25-16 by CII Research Webmaster

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