Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities

Domain A

This domain relates to the knowledge and intellectual abilities needed to be able to carry out excellent research.

Sub-Domains Summary
A1. Knowledge Base

  1. Subject knowledge
  2. Research methods – theoretical knowledge
  3. Research methods – practical application
  4. Information seeking
  5. Information literacy and management
  6. Languages
  7. Academic literacy and numeracy
Knowledge of:

  • The area of research, the advances within it, and its relationships with other research areas
  • The methods and experimental techniques appropriate for research design
  • Sources of information, bibliographic software, and other information technologies
  • Literacy and numeracy skills and language abilities appropriate for research


  • Makes original contributions to knowledge
  • Identifies, applies, and develops methods and experimental techniques appropriate for research projects
  • Conducts effective and comprehensive information searches
  • Records, manages, and handles information/data using appropriate bibliographic software and other information technologies
A2. Cognitive Abilities

  1. Analysing
  2. Synthesising
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Evaluating
  5. Problem solving

  • Analyses and evaluates findings using appropriate methods
  • Thinks originally, independently, and critically; develops theoretical concepts
  • Critically synthesises information from diverse sources
  • Evaluates progress, impact, and outcomes of research
  • Recognises and validates problems; formulates and applies solutions to a range of research problems


  • Willing to give and receive constructive criticism
A3. Creativity

  1. Inquiring mind
  2. Intellectual insight
  3. Innovation
  4. Argument construction
  5. Intellectual risk

  • Develops new ways of working; has novel ideas and realises their potential
  • Identifies new trends; creates new opportunities
  • Develops convincing and persuasive arguments to defend research
  • Takes intellectual risks; challenges the status quo


  • Takes a creative, imaginative, and inquiring approach to research
  • Is open to new sources of ideas