Akin to research conducted in software development, this stage primarily involves reading the source documents such as the design document, the system specifications and the functional specifications. Subject matter experts, usually developers, system engineers, or members of the quality assurance team, also play a significant role during this stage and you must gather information from them using various modes of communication such as interviews and emails. Analyze the information received from different sources such as source documents and SMEs during this stage in the context of the audience analysis that you performed during the earlier preparation phase.
Gathering information from the subject matter experts is easier said than done. There are different kinds of experts with different complexities. This book suggests various methods to gather information from all the different kinds of subject matter experts.
Then, you can take advantage of various secondary research activities – brainstorming, mind mapping, and information mapping – to assimilate the information that you gathered using the source documents and from the subject matter experts. These techniques also help you to gather additional information and establish logical relationships between the various snippets of data that you gathered using primary research methods. Depending on the audience analysis and audience profiling conducted during the preparation stage, you must conduct these secondary research activities to collect additional information. However, you must be able to define an outline of the document after involving in primary and secondary research. Such an outline lays the foundation of a technically accurate user-friendly document.