What is a systematic approach?

A systematic approach is an identifiable, structured plan with a testable outcome. 

You don’t need to have a formal scientific hypothesis or carry out a detailed scientific experiment. 

However, the approach must be sufficiently structured that it’s not just random trial and error. It should also be supported by appropriate recordkeeping that documents things such as:

  • what the scientific or technological uncertainty is - this should be stated in sufficient detail for a competent professional to make a judgement about whether a systematic approach was required to assess a possible solution
  • what the possible solution is that your systematic approach is testing
  • the actual activities undertaken to test the possible solution
  • the result of the tests or experimentation, if known.

The approach can be flexible

Your systematic approach needn’t be set in stone.

It can be flexible and adaptive, changing in response to results, as long as the approach remains logical and focused on resolving the uncertainty.

How much detail is needed?

You don’t need to provide very granular detail about your approach. For example, it’s not necessary to describe the particular project management methodology you’re using, such as "Agile".

What’s important is to describe how you have scoped, planned, executed and tested your approach to resolving your scientific or technological uncertainty.

The approach will likely differ depending on your sector

The type of systematic approach used to resolve scientific or technological uncertainty will typically vary from sector to sector.

For example:

  • an engineering workshop may build and test a prototype
  • a food manufacturer may experiment with a new production process in a test kitchen
  • a software developer may run a range of data sets through a new algorithm to test if it will work.