In design higher education this is what I would label as rigorous research. I encourage students to become mini experts in the field they are trying to design a solution for, this expertise is different for every project but the skills of a researcher are methods and approaches that can be deployed again and again. This is hard, takes lot of time and effort even to instil in the most studious of students. Most recently some of my games students caught on an idea to use a terrarium as part of a game concept, after the pitch I was confident they could fake it as a gardener! Each decision hung on a concept that had been well researched and this is only one facet of building a product such as a game, again this takes time and experience, including a few failures.