Skills: Research and Enquiry

This page provides the full explanation of Research and Enquiry and examples of skills that are related to the attribute.

Stack of Books- creative problem solvers researchers

University of Edinburgh graduates use their highly-developed skills in research and enquiry to identify and creatively tackle problems, and to seek out opportunities for learning.

Below are some examples of skills and abilities that contribute to a student's overall skills in Research and Enquiry.  Skills and abilities in this area vary from individual to individual, from discipline to discipline and from situation to situation.  It is important to recognise what skills are relevant and how these skills need to be adapted for the situation in which they will be used.

Staff should be helping, supporting and encouraging students to learn about and develop these skills. Students need to reflect on what skills they have, what skills they need and how these can be developed, and then seeking out relevant opportunities to strengthen and develop these skills.

Example skills Key aspects include:
Problem solving
  • create, identify and evaluate options in order to solve complex problems.
  • analyse facts and situations and apply creative thinking to develop the appropriate solutions
  • ask questions
Analytical thinking
  • analyse, synthesise, critically and methodically appraise thoughts to break down complex problems into manageable components.
Critical thinking
  • capability to evaluate information thoroughly; identifying assumptions, detecting false logic or reasoning and defining terms accurately in order to make an informed judgement.
Knowledge integration and application
  • use information and knowledge effectively in order to abstract meaning from information and to share knowledge across fields, including the use of quantitative skills
Independent research
  • conduct research and enquiry into relevant issues through research design, the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, synthesising and reporting
Handling complexity and ambiguity
  • have an understanding of contextually relevant ethics and values, self-awareness, mental flexibility and openness, resilience and a commitment to life-long learning
Digital literacy
  • have basic scientific, economic and technological literacies
  • able to interrogate visual and information
  • be familiar with ICT literacy/data and information management and analysis to support their research and enquiry
  • have IT skills, including familiarity with word processing, spreadsheets, file management and use of internet search engines
  • ability to manipulate numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae);
  • proficiency, confidence and competence with numbers and measures