Plan and Begin a Study

Before you begin your research study, establish your research approach.

Develop your plan

Answer the questions:

What are you trying to learn, and what is your approach? From those answers, you should sketch out a high-level plan. Your motivation for the research will help to identify the problem being addressed. At this point, exactly how you expect to solve the problem can remain general.

Scope your research appropriately:

Are you going to look at a specific road section or bridge in great detail? Would you like to develop regional knowledge of how transportation components will perform in the future? Do you want to compare the cost of various adaptation strategies? Are you going to examine a full suite of future environmental conditions or narrow your focus to a single stressor or emission scenario? Do you want to characterize the uncertainty of the system response? Do you have a specific target timeframe of interest?

Answering these questions will help you to specify the sites, time frame, climate model output, and analysis tools (engineering models, economic analyses, statistical methods) needed for your analysis.

With this information, expand your research plan to a full scope of work that includes research tools, milestones, and time lines. Revise your plan and modify your team to address challenge areas.

Putting together a team

The team you create will reflect the needs of your study. You may need to seek advice from experts in a specific field and/or add them to your team.

The ICNet members include climate scientists, statisticians, and civil engineers with expertise in bridges, pavements, transportation systems, hydrology/hydraulics, and adaptation planning. They are conducting research at the interface of climate science and transportation infrastructure and are interested in collaborative research. Contact information for available members can be found here.

Beginning your study

Similar to the guide on conducting a pilot study, the exact process will vary depending on your research. Once you have completed the planning stage, you will obtain climate model output and analyze it based on well-established approaches as appropriate for your specific research. See our guide to obtaining climate model output and using automated tools to transform model output to engineering input and to conduct your analyses here. These links provide you with detailed information on how to create and use model output for your study. If your study differs significantly from the typical approaches, you should consider working with a climate scientist or infrastructure researcher.

What models do I use?

You should use all of the models (and runs of models) that you can reasonably include. Using an ensemble of models will create a greater amount of accuracy on average in the larger scale, as inconsistencies and outliers will be smoothed out by the total trend of the data. For more information on climate models and uncertainty, we recommend you view the ICNet webinars.

I need help troubleshooting

Contact us or submit a request for research support services.