A generic work-flow in applied palaeontology is shown in Fig. 1.1.
It will be seen that the key constituent elements are: project specification and management; sample acquisition, processing and analysis; and analytical data acquisition. Each of these elements is discussed in turn below (and interpretation and integration in Chapters 2–10).
PROJECT SPECIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT
Project specification involves, firstly, the identification of the technical and business objectives of the project; and secondly, the formulation of a plan and budget appropriate to the timely delivery of these objectives to the customer, taking into account such factors as timing, resourcing and third-party involvement. Project management involves assurance of adherence to the plan and budget. It also involves assurance of quality, and of compliance with Health, Safety and Environmental, or HSE, standards, as appropriate.
The sample acquisition strategy is determined by the technical or research objectives of the project, and by the available budget. In most cases, the principal factor to be considered is the number and spacing of samples, which will determine the ultimately achievable biostratigraphic resolution, and hence the value of the project, as well as the cost.