research construction

Topics: Scientific method, Construction, Qualitative research Pages: 23 (12227 words) Published: October 18, 2014
The Built & Human Environment Review, Volume 3, Special Issue 1, 2010

Evaluating Research Methodology in Construction
Productivity Studies
Panas, A. and Pantouvakis, J. P.
cvapanas@mail.ntua.gr and jpp@central.ntua.gr
Centre for Construction Innovation, Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece

Abstract
Despite the large number of published papers in the area of construction productivity, a critical review of contemporary thinking with a discussion of the implications to current researchers is rarely attempted. As such, this paper investigates the subject based upon published papers in major peer-reviewed journals during the last decade. Eighty-nine papers published in both construction journals and broader management science journals have been analysed. Three broad classifications were used for summarizing the methodologies adopted within the papers: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method research approaches. The research taxonomy further identified three major fields based on each study’s research focus: Archival studies, empirical research and simulation proposals. In terms of the methodological structure followed, three main categories have been recognised: Experimental frameworks, data collection techniques and modelling proposals. A methodological framework is developed upon the evaluation’s results and its implementation on an actual research project is illustrated. The main conclusion is that the selection of the research methodology in published journal papers has been an intuitive decision, mainly relating upon the researcher’s ontological and epistemological stance. However, general guidelines on the selection of the most appropriate methodology in relation to the research aims and objectives may also be proposed.

Keywords: Construction, Methodology, Productivity, Research

Introduction
The research methodology encompasses the rationale and the philosophical assumptions that underlie a particular study (Dainty, 2008). The choice of research strategy drastically influences the specification of the research methods that are deployed for investigating a problem and determines the research design, namely the framework for collecting, analysing and interpreting data (ibid.). The establishment of the most appropriate methodology for construction research is a current subject of concern. This is corroborated by the special issue of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management (Volume 1, Issue 1) on research methodologies for Construction which only appeared at the beginning of 2010. A previous somewhat organised approach to the subject can be traced back in the mid to late 1990’s with a series of papers appearing in Construction Management and Economics (Volumes 13-16). The review of those and some other supplementary sources (from relevant papers which did not appear in the above mentioned journals and periods) has led to a number of questions relating to construction management research methodological issues: What are the most suitable

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The Built & Human Environment Review, Volume 3, Special Issue 1, 2010

criteria for selecting the research methodology? How can the rigour and robustness of a research effort be evaluated? What are the current trends?

The above and similar questions have formed the motivation for the research described in this paper. More specifically, the objective of this paper is to provide answers to the above questions, with a particular focus on research related to construction productivity (CP). The field of CP is an expedient research area since the complex and versatile nature of the subject has led to the implementation of multiple method approaches. As such, this study explores the different perspectives for measuring or estimating construction productivity. The main purpose is to capitalise on the trend towards methodological rigour and comprehensiveness by...


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