As a software developer just starting out in research (working for a lab) I have this idea of a software application which is meant to target a specific need: specifically to help users query data using specific and novel methodologies (navigation languages and autocomplete methods).
Anyway, I know that ultimately I want to do science and not engineering. By that I mean that ultimately I don't want to build a tool (although it could help prove my idea) but that I want to investigate (that's really what research is about isn't it?) about how the navigational and autocomplete methodologies are important for querying data (for example)
So I'm a bit troubled wondering how I can transform this application idea into a more scientific research project. Should I look at the novel parts of the application (such as the autocomplete functionalities) and investigate how that might make querying better for users? Is that even research?
I guess overall I'm puzzled on how to make the idea of my software application stand on its own. How do I make my software idea contribute to the current body of human knowledge? Does software even count as knowledge? I guess I'm trying to convert the idea of my software application into a piece of knowledge. Any help/clarification?