RQTF Research Process

Drafted for the Joint Meeting on Research Processes in W3CWai
Wednesday 25 January 2023

The Research Questions Task Force (RQTF) is a task force of the Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group. This document is a brief, initial summary of the process followed by RQTF when commencing work on a given topic requiring research in published literature. Some of this work (but by no means all of it) may eventually be published as an APA Note according to W3C Process. RQTF's process steps listed here will be informed by, and conformed to the emerging W3C/WAI publication process.

Please note two patterns in the itemized steps below:

  1. A literature search may be performed several times as we gain an understanding of the topic under consideration.
  2. We systematically seek to engage an ever widening compass of peer review when developing a document for publication.

RQTF's Research Steps

  1. A topic is raised in an RQTF meeting or on our archived list. As discussion progresses, a consensus may formed that the topic is important to explore further and more formally in accordance with the RQTF Work Statement and the APA Charter.
  2. RQTF participants commence a literature search on the topic. The search is initially broad and includes peer-reviewed publications such as conference papers, journal articles and credible news sources. The sources and databases may vary based on the academic institution but are cross-checked internally to ensure they are credible sources.
  3. The results of the broad search are then published to a publically viewable wiki in RQTF space.
  4. The broad literature is then reviewed. Literature that is not focused enough or off-topic is removed, while key words and published authors in the relevant area are identified.
  5. RQTF discussions determine if the research area has enough merit to continue its development.
  6. If the development is to continue, more targeted reiterative searches are then performed to develop a more focused literature review. As the papers are reviewed, literature summaries are added to the wiki and discussions occur on the RQTF mailing list to continue the refinement of the list of sources.
  7. Once the initial list of refences and summaries are exhausted by the group, invitations are provided to other working groups to review and provide an opportunity to also feed in research, key words and other information to assist in identifying more papers in the process. Additional papers are reviewed and reference notes made.
  8. Prominent authors of peer-reviewed papers and other relevant literature are contacted where possible to further support contributions. Interviews may be conducted and other leads are explored.
  9. Once the review process is exhausted and some time has been allowed for additional information to be provided by other groups, development begins on developing the work such as a Note.
  10. Once the RQTF participants have all worked on a collaborative wiki, the wiki is then moved to GitHub to provide editorial and version control oversight.
  11. W3C groups are invited to contribute to the early draft as the work develops.
  12. Once the draft has reached an appropriate level of maturity, a First Public Working Draft (FPWD) publication is proposed to APA in order to obtain review and comments from the wider community.
  13. Comments and issues are individually logged in GitHub and work recommended on addressing the feedback.
  14. Second, third, and possibly further public working drafts are developed, continuing to encourage feedback to improve the work.
  15. Once all issues are addressed, the final Call for Consensus is circulated by APA. If approved, the work is published as an APA Note together with appropriate publication announcements to standard channels.