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Advanced Research Methods in the Built Environment

Advanced Research Methods in the Built Environment

Andrew Knight (Editor), Les Ruddock (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-444-30951-5

Mar 2009, Wiley-Blackwell

256 pages



This book provides a bridge between the introductory research methods books and the discipline-specific, higher level texts.

Its unique feature is the coverage of the detailed process of research rather than the findings of research projects. Chapter authors have been carefully selected by their expertise, discipline and location to give an eclectic range of perspectives. Particular care has been taken to balance positivist with interpretivist approaches throughout. The authors focus is on the practical consequences of research philosophies, strategies and techniques by using their own research and by evaluating the work of others.

Advanced Research Methods in the Built Environment addresses common topics raised by postgraduate level researchers rather than dealing with all aspects of the research process. Issues covered range from the practicalities of producing a journal article to the role of theory in research.

The material brought together here provides a valuable resource for the training and development of doctoral and young researchers and will contribute to a new sense of shared methodological understanding across built environment research.

Foreword xi

Introduction xiii

Contributors xix

1 Methodological Pluralism in Construction Management Research 1
Andrew Dainty

Introduction 1

Research strategy and design 3

The dominant research paradigm within construction management 4

Discussion: The implications of methodological uniformity 6

The case for methodological pluralism in construction management research 8

Challenges in undertaking multi-paradigm research 9

Conclusions 10

Acknowledgements 11

Note 11

References 12

2 Architectural Research 14
Alan Penn

Introduction 14

A sketch of architectural design 15

The structure of architectural research 17

Space syntax and the social logic of space 18

Conclusion 25

Note 27

References 27

3 Legal Research 28
Paul Chynoweth

Introduction 28

The epistemology of legal scholarship 28

In search of a methodology 31

The cultural dimension 35

Conclusion 37

References 37

4 Feminist Research 39
Pat Morton and Sara Wilkinson

Introduction 39

What is feminist research? 39

Locating feminism in the social sciences 40

Locating the feminist researcher 42

Ethical considerations 43

Standpoint epistemologies 44

Participatory action research 45

Oral histories and diaries and women’s voices 45

Can anyone be a feminist researcher? 46

Conclusions 48

References 48

5 Approaches to Economic Modelling and Analysis 51
Les Ruddock

Introduction 51

General economic models 51

Relationships between economic variables – econometrics 52

Approaches and applications in the construction sector 56

Conclusions 61

References 62

6 Epistemology 64
Andrew Knight and Neil Turnbull

Introduction 64

Concepts 65

Classical epistemology 66

Modern epistemology 68

Postmodernism and the critique of epistemology 71

Conclusion 72

References 74

7 Scientific Theories 75
Göran Runeson and Martin Skitmore

Introduction 75

The philosophy behind theories 75

Scientific theories 76

Working as a scientist 77

The plot gets complex 78

Testing social science theories 79

A solution (or two) 83

Building new theories 83

Conclusions 84

References 84

8 Grounded Theory 86
Kirsty Hunter and John Kelly

Introduction 86

What is grounded theory? 86

Substantive to formal theory 87

Data collection and analysis 89

The theory building procedure 90

Data sorting 91

Coding and comparison groups 91

Theory development in case studies 93

Grounded theory challenges 93

Scope and limitations of theory 94

A good theory 95

The derived theory 96

Summary 96

References 97

9 Case Study Research 99
David Proverbs and Rod Gameson

Introduction 99

Case study research: An overview 99

Designing case studies 100

Identifying and selecting the case(s) 101

Collecting the information 101

Analysing the information 103

Writing up 104

Example 104

Conclusions 108

Acknowledgement 109

Notes 110

References 110

10 Interviews: A Negotiated Partnership 111
Richard Haigh

Introduction 111

The interview method 112

Interviews in the built environment disciplines 115

Planning, conducting and analysing interviews 116

Conclusion 120

References 120

Further reading 120

11 Questionnaire Design and Factor Analysis 122
Mike Hoxley

Introduction 122

Construction 123

Attitude scales 124

Piloting 125

Sampling 125

Administration 126

Coding 127

Software packages 127

Coding missing values 127

Data entry 128

Factor analysis 128

Summary 133

References 134

12 Using Software to Analyse Qualitative Data 135
Andrew King

Introduction 135

Why use software? 136

Comparison of software 136

Methodology and software 137

Analytic distance 139

Learning to use CAQDAS 139

The quality of qualitative research 140

Conclusion 141

References 141

13 Getting Started in Quantitative Analysis 144
Chris Leishman

Introduction 144

The essence of sampling theory 145

Other common forms of hypothesis test 147

Inference and causality – basic regression models 148

Multiple regression models 150

Concluding remarks 153

References 154

14 Artificial Neural Network Modelling Techniques for Applied Civil and Construction Engineering Research 155
Abdelhalim Boussabaine and Richard Kirkham

Introduction 155

First concepts 155

System dynamics 157

Network structure and nomenclature 158

System architecture design 160

Recent advances in construction and civil engineering research 166

Neuro-fuzzy modelling 167

Conclusion: Why neuro-fuzzy models? 167

References 169

15 Social Network Analysis 171
Stephen Pryke

Introduction 171

Why choose social network analysis? 172

Concepts and terminology 173

Finally on SNA theory and techniques 178

Software for the analysis of networks 178

Conclusion 180

References 181

16 Managing the Thesis 183
Alan Griffith and Paul Watson

Introduction 183

Defining the thesis 183

Having a clear research focus 184

Developing and managing the draft thesis 185

Producing the final version of the thesis 188

Knowing the thesis and preparing for the viva voce 189

Conclusions 192

References 192

Further reading 192

17 Getting Your Research Published in Refereed Journals 193
Will Hughes

Introduction 193

Writing good journal papers 193

Elements of a journal submission 198

Editorial processes 202

Publication and dissemination 205

Conclusion 205

Note 206

References 206

18 Researcher Attitudes and Motivation 207
David Boyd

Introduction 207

Inner self 207

Personal environment 211

The research project 212

Research environment 213

Conclusion: Keeping going and succeeding 214

References 215

19 Built Environment Futures Research: The Need for Foresight and Scenario Learning 216
John Ratcliffe

Introduction 216

Concept and context 216

Conclusion 226

References 227

Index 229

"[The book] will be of unquestionable interest, use and value to researchers undertaking al types and levels of research across the built environment spectrum … It will prove to be a valuable edition to the body of knowledge supporting research practice within the built environment ... Highly recommended." (Building Engineer, February 2009)

  • examples from the built environment demonstrate the application of each topic area

  • highlights potential problems and suggests practical methods to resolve them
  • avoids duplication of introductory material
  • provides a thorough, concise and current literature review of each issue