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Summary of existing knowledge and emerging trends. Highlights gaps for further research and design enquiry.


  • To understand the knowledge that already exists on a topic.
  • To understand the emerging trends and known opportunities on a topic.
  • To determine gaps in knowledge which may require deeper research and design enquiry.

What you get

  • A summary of existing knowledge with a reference list.


  • Provides an overview of existing understanding.
  • Identifies gaps in knowledge which can help plan further research.


  • Generally summative rather than analytical when conducted for human-centred design projects.
  • Quality is constrained by access to research databases and other sources, and time.


If possible, ask a subject matter expert to recommend information sources.

Tools and resources

Reviewed 29 April 2020

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