Construction research: a field of application
Hughes, W. (1999) Construction research: a field of application. Australian Institute of Building Papers, 9. pp. 51-58. ISSN 0818-0571
Research in construction management is diverse in content and in quality. There is much to be learned from more fundamental disciplines. Construction is a sub-set of human experience rather than a completely separate phenomenon. Therefore, it is likely that there are few problems in construction requiring the invention of a completely new theory. If construction researchers base their work only on that of other construction researchers, our academic community will become less relevant to the world at large. The theories that we develop or test must be of wider applicability to be of any real interest. In undertaking research, researchers learn a lot about themselves. Perhaps the only difference between research and education is that if we are learning about something which no-one else knows, then it is research, otherwise it is education. Self-awareness of this will help to reduce the chances of publishing work which only reveals a researcher’s own learning curve. Scientific method is not as simplistic as non-scientists claim and is the only real way of overcoming methodological weaknesses in our work. The reporting of research may convey the false impression that it is undertaken in the sequence in which it is written. Construction is not so unique and special as to require a completely different set of methods from other fields of enquiry. Until our research is reported in mainstream journals and conferences, there is little chance that we will influence the wider academic community and a concomitant danger that it will become irrelevant. The most useful insights will come from research which challenges the current orthodoxy rather than research which merely reports it.
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