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Research Methods for Construction, 4th Edition

Richard F. Fellows, Anita M. M. Liu

ISBN: 978-1-118-91574-5 July 2015 316 Pages


Research Methods for Construction will help you instil rigour into your problem-solving, and into your reports and publications. It will be of value to construction, surveying, architecture and civil engineering students undertaking research, whether for bachelors and masters degree dissertations, or for masters and doctoral research degree theses. Now in its Fourth Edition, this remains one of the few books to provide guidance on research formulation, methodologies, and methods specifically for construction students.

Three main sections – Producing a Proposal, Executing the Research and Reporting the Results discuss the key issues in research and examine the primary approaches, both qualitative and quantitative. The methods adopted for scientific and engineering experiments, model building and simulations are discussed, as well as those employed for research into management, social and economic issues. The authors examine the requirements for data and analysis, including the important statistical considerations and a range of qualitative techniques that enable construction researchers to appreciate what needs to be evaluated in devising how research may be carried out effectively and efficiently.

This new edition has been updated to reflect current debates and concerns, including ethical issues, legislation and codes of practice concerning the collection, processing, storage, use and disposal of data. Pressures of time and funding to carry out the empirical work all too often lead to a lack of attention to how the study should be done and why. The authors address the importance of explaining the philosophical approach adopted (ontology, epistemology) and the consequent methodology. They advocate close scrutiny of the methods available for appropriateness, both academically and practically.

The fundamental theme of the book remains to facilitate a researcher’s informed and justified selection of a philosophical paradigm and of appropriate methods to execute the research.

Preface to Third Edition viii

Preface to Second Edition x

Part 1 Producing a Proposal 1

1 Introduction 3

The concept of research 3

Classifications of research 7

Theories and paradigms 12

Research styles 20

Quantitative and qualitative approaches 26

Where to begin 30

Summary 32

References 32

2 Topic for Study 35

Selection of a topic 35

Writing the proposal 42

Summary 50

References 50

Part 2 Executing the Research 51

3 Initial Research 53

The research process 53

Initial search 60

Assembling the theoretical framework 66

Philosophy and methodology 67

Theoretical models and constructs 73

Proper referencing 77

Summary 77

References 78

4 Approaches to Empirical Work 81

Role of experience 81

Research design 83

Qualitative approaches 91

Quantitative approaches 97

Experimental design (including experiments and quasi-experiments) 102

Case study research 110

Modelling 114

Simulation 118

Summary 121

References 121

5 Hypotheses 125

Essentials of a valid hypothesis 125

Roles of hypotheses 129

Objective testing of hypotheses 130

Role of sampling 131

Common statistical measures 133

Null hypotheses 141

Validities 143

Summary 145

References 146

6 Data Collection 147

Data requirements 147

Collecting data from respondents 150

Sampling 159

Sample size 163

Scales of measurement 167

Obtaining data 175

Summary 183

References 183

7 Data Analysis 186

Analysing data 186

Plotting data 191

Statistical methods 194

Non-parametric tests 194

Parametric tests 202

Other analytical techniques 225

Summary 242

References 242

8 Ethics in Research 246

The concepts of morals and ethics 246

Research ethics 249

Data analysis, intellectual property and data protection 256

Summary 259

References 259

Part 3 Reporting the Results 261

9 Results, Inferences and Conclusions 263

Requirements for valid results 263

Potential sources of error 264

Reliability 265

Results 266

Inferences 270

Conclusions 276

Summary 279

References 279

10 Reports and Presentations 281

Report production 281

Communication 282

Contents of the report 284

Oral presentation 293

Summary 294

Index 295