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As with any initiative you need a place to start, a solid foundation before you can proceed. This foundation is the first and most important step in a Knowledge Audit, it’s purpose is to gain a clear and precise understanding of what knowledge the organization and its people need to meet their goals and objectives.
You need to have a systematic approach defined when tackling something as complex as a knowledge audit. Break down the information gathering approach to ensure you capture as much detail as possible. This can be done using questionnaire based surveys, interviews, group discussions or a combination of these.
The biggest hurdle when composing questions is that knowledge is seen as a conceptual entity and therefore rather difficult to articulate. To overcome this you need to focus on issues like user goals, objectives, activities and decisions that are made on a day to day basis.
Keep in mind, the questionnaire that you use in interviews and group discussions is just a rough guideline to gain insight to the users day to day activities. The more flexibile you are with the questions the more information you are bound to receive. So don’t hesitate to ask deeper more probing questions when you feel there might be some information you could use.
The end goal of such an audit is for you to be able to get a clear picture of what information and knowledge a person uses in his day to day activities, thereby allowing you to tie it into a framework you create at the end of this excercise. The whole purpose of this exercise is to make the end users job easier. Compromising on the audit at this stage could have serious repercussions later on.