Guide to Research and Development
Research and development basically consists of a scientist shoving everything he can find into a destructive scanner, where it is disintegrated, its workings analyzed, and the connected computer tries to integrate the technology with other known workings at the highest efficiency it can. Essentially this means that a scientist in this modern world doesn't actually have to know any of the concepts he's working with; it's all about melting things down and playing with the resulting toys! Ain't life grand? Some machines can even be upgraded by replacing parts with newer parts from the protolathe to make them more efficient.
Deconstruction is easy. Simply stick items into the destructive analyzer and turn it on. Remember, you'll only advance one level at a time per item, and only if the tech level is equal or greater than your current research level. It is possible to eject items from the deconstructive analyzer if, say, security notices their missing laser guns. As always, experiment! Some technology on the station is just so basic that the analyzer won't even bother with it, but things like bruise packs, flashbangs, and some of the odds and ends in your very lab will all work.
See Destructive Analyzer for a more detailed guide.
This is how you create the advanced technologies you (read: the computers) have discovered by increasing tech trees. You will have nothing too exciting at first, but soon you will get increasingly more esoteric devices as you advance the various fields of research. Higher research levels produce items that malfunction once in a while, but putting your broken toys back in the analyzer will allow the computer to see what went wrong and fix the problem. With every broken device, a more efficient device is just around the corner.
This industrial printer requires glass, sulfuric acid, and occasionally gold and diamond. Each board requires different levels of data theory and materials research, and some require specific field advancement, such as biological or blue-space. With gold, you can make AI law modules, or AI related circuit boards. Machine boards can also be built in the Circuit Constructor, including mech suits and power generators.
Make sure to head into setting and sync with database periodically. This will update the server on the station, making a back-up. The Research Director can access the R&D server management computer and either transfer or delete research blueprints to other computers on station. If no one else has, you should probably allow robotics to access your research findings by that computer. It is usually applicable to their research, too!