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. and
Centre for Construction Innovation, Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece

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

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


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...

References: Abowitz, D. A. and Toole, T. M. (2010) Mixed method research: fundamental issues of design, validity, and
reliability in construction research
AbouRizk, S., Knowles, P. and Hermann, U. R. (2001) Estimating labor production rates for industrial
construction activities
Al-Hussein, M., Niaz, M. A., Yu, H. and Kim, H. (2006) Integrating 3D visualization and simulation for tower
crane operations on construction sites
Al-Sudairi, A. A. (2007) Evaluating the effect of construction process characteristics to the applicability of lean
Anson, M., Tang, S. L. and Ying, K. C. (2002) Measurement of the performance of ready mixed concreting
resources as data for system simulation
Bernold, L. E. (2007) Quantitative assessment of backhoe operator skill. Journal of Construction Engineering
and Management, 133(11), 889-899.
Bernold, L. E. and Lee, T. S. (2010) Experimental research in construction. Journal of Construction Engineering
and Management, 136(1), 26-35.
Chan, P. W. and Kaka, A. (2007) Productivity improvements: understand the workforce perceptions of
productivity first
Chao, L. C. (2001) Assessing earth-moving operation capacity by neural network-based simulation with physical
Cheng, T. M. and Feng, C. W. (2003) An effective simulation mechanism for construction operations.
Cottrell, D. S. (2006) Contractor process improvement for enhancing construction productivity. Journal of
Construction Engineering and Management, 132(2), 189-196.
Coutermarsch, B. (2007) Velocity effect of vehicle rolling resistance in sand. Journal of Terramechanics, 44,
Couto, J. P. and Teixeira, J. C. (2005) Using linear model for learning curve effect on highrise floor construction.
Crawford, P. and Vogl, B. (2006) Measuring productivity in the construction industry. Building Research &
Information, 34(3), 208-219.
Dai, J., Goodrum, P. M. and Maloney, W. F. (2009) Construction craft workers’ perceptions of the factors
affecting their productivity
Dainty, A. (2008) Methodological pluralism in construction management research. In: A. Knight and L.
Doloi, H. (2008) Application of AHP in improving construction productivity from a management perspective.
Dunlop, P. and Smith, S. D. (2004) Planning, estimation and productivity in the lean concrete pour. Engineering,
Construction and Architectural Management, 11(1), 55-64.
Dunston, P. S., Savage, B. M. and Mannering, F. L. (2000) Weekend closure for construction of asphalt overlay
on urban highway
Edwards, D. J. and Holt, G. D. (2000) ESTIVATE: a model for calculating excavator productivity and output
The Built & Human Environment Review, Volume 3, Special Issue 1, 2010
El-Rayes, K. and Mosehli, O. (2001) Impact of rainfall on the productivity of highway construction. Journal of
Construction Engineering and Management, 127(2), 125-131.
Enshassi, A., Mohamed, S., Mayer, P. and Abed, K. (2007) Benchmarking masonry labor productivity.
Ezeldin, A. S. and Sharara, L. M. (2006) Neural networks for estimating the productivity of concreting activities.
Fellows, R. and Liu, A. (2003) Research methods for construction. Blackwell, UK.
Flood, I. and Issa, R. R. A. (2010) Empirical modeling methodologies for construction. Journal of Construction
Engineering and Management, 136(1), 36-48.
Goodrum, P. M., Zhai, D. and Yasin, M., F. (2009) Relationship between changes in material technology and
construction productivity
Graham, D. and Smith, S. D. (2004) Estimating the productivity of cyclic construction operations using casebased reasoning. Advanced Engineering Informatics, 18, 17-28.
Graham, L. D., Smith, S. D. and Dunlop, P. (2005) Lognormal distribution provides an optimum representation
of the concrete delivery and placement process
Grau, D., Caldas, C. H., Haas, C. T., Goodrum, P. M. and Gong, J. (2009) Assessing the impact of materials
tracking technologies on construction craft productivity
Grix, J. (2001) Demystifying postgraduate research: From MA to PhD. University of Birmingham Press,
Hajjar, D. and AbouRizk, S. M. (2002) Unified modeling methodology for construction simulation. Journal of
Construction Engineering and Management, 128(2), 174-185.
Hanna, A. S., Chang, C. K., Lackney, J. A. and Sullivan, K. T. (2007) Impact of overmanning on mechanical and
sheet metal labor productivity
Hanna, A. S., Chang, C. K., Sullivan, K. T. and Lackney, J. A. (2008) Impact of shift work on labor productivity
for labor intensive contractor
Hanna, A. S., Lotfallah, W. B. and Lee, M. J. (2002) Statistical-fuzzy approach to quantify cumulative impact of
change orders
Hanna, A. S., Russell, J. S., Gotzion, T. W. and Nordheim, E. V. (1999a) Impact of change orders on labor
efficiency for mechanical construction
Hanna, A. S., Russell, J. S., Nordheim, E. V. and Brugginnk, M. J. (1999b) Impact of change orders on labor
efficiency for electrical construction
Hanna, A. S., Taylor, C. S. and Sullivan, K. T. (2005) Impact of extended overtime on construction labor
Harriss, C. (1998) Why research without theory is not research: A reply to Seymour, Crook and Rooke.
Hassan, M. M. and Gruber, S. (2008) Simulation of concrete paving operations on Interstate-74. Journal of
The Built & Human Environment Review, Volume 3, Special Issue 1, 2010
Construction Engineering and Management, 134(1), 2-9.
Hegab, M. Y. and Smith, G. R. (2007) Delay time analysis in microtunneling projects. Journal of Construction
Engineering and Management, 133(2), 191-195.
Hong, Z., Shi, J. J. and Tam, C. M. (2002) Visual modeling and simulation for construction operations.
Huang, R. Y. and Hsieh, B. C. (2005) A construction simulation system (COMSim) with object-oriented
modeling elements
Huang, R. Y., Chen, J. J. & Sun, K. S. (2004) Planning gang formwork operations for building construction
using simulations
Hughes, W. (1994) The PhD in construction management. In: Proceedings of the 10th Annual ARCOM
Conference, 14-16 September, Loughborough.
Kannan, G. and Vorster, M. (2000) Development of an experience database for truck loading operations. Journal
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Construction: Rethinking Operational Stages Essay
  • Construction and Foreign Worker Essay
  • Key Budget Factor for a Construction Company Essay
  • Essay about Construction
  • Risk Management in Construction Projects Research Paper
  • Construction Management Homework Essay
  • Essay about Falls in Construction
  • Construction Advertising Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free