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Section 6: Definitions

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Research is a systematic controlled inquiry, often involving analytical or experimental activities, which seeks to gain new knowledge and which may involve development of new or revised products. Research includes:

  • Basic Research: which is the study of phenomena to gain knowledge. Specific application may not have been identified.
  • Applied Research: which is a project directed at solving a specific current problem and which usually results in the development of products ready for implementation.
  • State-of-the-Art or Practice Surveys and Studies: which are studies used to gather existing information relative to an existing problem to assist in implementation or to better plan, direct, or focus research.
  • Development: which is the translation of new knowledge into a product, and which may include:
    • Research Field Testing: which is to develop or modify a product at a test facility, or in TxDOT’s operational environment.

Software program development which solely automates the use of existing technology, formulae, knowledge, and methods is excluded.

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Implementation is the adoption of a product for use, including Technology Transfer activities that promote adoption, such as:

  • Information dissemination: which includes the development and distribution of brochures, manuals, articles, reports, videos, and other materials which provide product descriptions and instructions to enable and promote use.
  • Training: which includes training course development and conduct necessary to enable and promote use.
  • Demonstration: which is the placing of a product into TxDOT’s operational environment to demonstrate its use, which includes:
    • Deployment: which is the initial procurement and dissemination of a product to users.
    • Implementation Field Testing: which is the demonstration or verification of product performance in TxDOT’s operational environment.
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A product of the research program may be a new or revised procedure, process, field guide, design, standard detail or drawing, device, material, standard test method, specification, video, computer hardware or software, data collections, training material, or training class.

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Field Testing

Field Testing is placing a product into a test facility or TxDOT’s operating environment for further development (research), or into TxDOT’s operating environment to demonstrate performance (implementation).

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FHWA Definitions (23 CFR 420.203)

Research is a systematic, controlled inquiry involving analytical and experimental activities which primarily seeks to increase the understanding of underlying phenomena. Research can be basic or applied.

Basic research is the study of phenomena, and of observable facts, without specific applications towards processes or products in mind; the primary purpose of this kind of research is to increase knowledge.

Applied research is the study of phenomena to gain knowledge or understanding necessary for determining the means by which a recognized need may be met; the primary purpose of this kind of research is to solve a problem.

Development is the systematic use of the knowledge or understanding gained from research, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

Technology transfer includes those activities which lead to the adoption of a new technique or product by users, and involves dissemination, demonstration, training, and other activities that lead to eventual innovation.

Research, Development, and Technology Transfer (RD&T) activity means a basic or applied research project or study, development, or technology transfer activity.

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