In any design effort, it is imperative that the designers not waste valuable time "reinventing the wheel." So, the first action a design team should take is to determine what designs related to the project already exist, and what new developments are currently underway that would facilitate the design task. This is called conducting a literature review and is often referred to as a “State-of-the-Art,” or SOTA review.
Working on teams means splitting up work to be more efficient as well as taking advantage of different individuals' unique strategies and approaches. You'll want to begin by meeting with your group to do some initial research on your topic. In this group session, you'll determine whether your topic needs to be divided into subtopics and how you'll divide the work of exploring these subtopics.
Everyone on your team has different strategies and strengths when it comes to finding information, so for the next part of this project, you'll use your individual search skills to collect information.
Then, you'll come back together as a group to discuss the information you found and the strategies you used to collect information. Learn from each other which search strategies worked best and which didn't, then make sure none of your individual sources overlap.
Last, you'll write your own State of the Art Review.
EXPLORE YOUR TOPIC WITH YOUR TEAM AND DETERMINE WHETHER IT NEEDS TO BE SPLIT INTO SMALLER CONCEPTS TO INVESTIGATE
Suppose your team's topic is a State of the Art Review on improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. If so, you may find that you need to split this into subtopics. One team member may decide to research advanced heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) systems while another team member might research improved building envelopes.
So, your first task is to determine, as a team, what different aspects of your topic will need to be investigated to create a thorough State of the Art Review. Then you'll need to decide out how to divide up the research-work among team members.
GATHER CURRENT, RELEVANT INFORMATION
Next, you'll work on your own to find at least 6 references to the most current, relevant information on your subtopic. To be thorough, you should look for information in different types of sources, including websites, books, articles/papers, patents, and standards.search databases (Quick Search, Google Books, Web of Science, Google, Google Scholar, etc.)
As you find your sources, fill out the synthesis matrix by documenting the source title and how that source relates to your main themes.