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Research Methods And Professional Development Commerce Essay

It is anticipated that this research proposal will supply the model for my concluding thesis undertaking. The subject country is sustainability in undertaking direction. The critical literature reappraisal focused on the cardinal characteristics of undertaking direction pattern, cardinal characteristics of sustainability and sustainability steps in undertaking direction. The assignment discusses the comparative advantages and disadvantages of assorted possible methods and methodological analysiss to measure which types would be best suited to help the research of the hypothesis. A anticipation and the principle associating to the most appropriate types of methods and methodological analysiss ; and an rating of the possible jobs that could originate in set abouting the undertaking conclude the assignment.

2.0 Introduction

Sustainability is fast going the major speaking point in many industries as people and companies are looking to cut down their C footmarks in order to run more environmentally friendly. This is partly due to an increased consciousness of the negative impacts of non runing sustainably and authorities statute law driving sustainability. Working with the Internal Sustainable Development director of the Audit Commission has increased my involvement in sustainability and how it relates to project direction. For these grounds, I have chosen to take this chance to research this subject further.

2.1 Purposes and Aims

This assignment aims to turn to the undermentioned expected larning results in relation to the capable country:

Critical rating of the strengths and failings of assorted quantitative and qualitative research methods

Use of bing cognition in identifying, turn uping and measuring secondary beginnings of information ;

Application of appropriate analytical tools and techniques to efficaciously back up research undertakings

The assignments taging strategy outlines a clear set of standards upon which the assignment will be assessed. In visible radiation of this fact, this assignment has been structured in conformity with these standards which are listed below:

A critical reappraisal of the relevant literature

Defining/developing hypotheses or research inquiries

Constructive treatments of possible methods/methodologies

Reasoning procedure in geting at decision

3.0 Critical Review of the relevant literature

The critical reappraisal if the relevant literature is arranged as follows:

Key characteristics of undertaking direction

Key characteristics of sustainability

Sustainability steps

3.1 Key Features of undertaking direction

Before placing what constitutes good undertaking direction, one needs to understand what a undertaking is. A undertaking can be defined in many ways but the definition that is required is one that is within the range of the subject undertaking direction. Woodward, J. ( 1997 ) states that the rule characteristics of a undertaking as the word relates to project direction can be summarised as follows:

Each undertaking has the specific aim of making some new entity which did non be before, i.e. undertakings are end orientated.

Undertakings have a defined beginning and finish, with a clear undertaking life rhythm.

Undertakings are made up of a big figure of separate but mutualist undertakings.

Undertakings are alone.

Undertaking undertakings make demands on a scope of resources, normally on an intermittent or changing footing.

Burke, R. ( 2003 ) concurs with this by saying that a undertaking will hold the followers:

A start and coating

A life rhythm

A budget

Be an activity of a non-repetitive nature

Utilise resources

The Association for Project Management ( APM ) , of which Woodward J is a member, is a worldwide administration which purpose is to advance the professional subjects of undertaking and direction for the populace. The Project Management Institute ( PMI ) is the universe ‘s prima administration for the undertaking direction profession. They produce a comprehensive usher which is used by a big figure of project direction practicians known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge ( PMBOK ) . The usher defines a undertaking as “ A impermanent enterprise undertaken to make a alone merchandise or service. Impermanent agencies that every undertaking will hold a definite day of the month. Unique means that the merchandise or service is different in some separating manner from all similar merchandises or services. ” This supports both the definitions of Woodward, J. ( 1997 ) and Burke, R. ( 2003 ) .

Woodward, J. ( 1997 ) states that it is non executable to convey the attack of Project Management in a individual sentence though the PMBOK defines the attack as “ … the application of cognition, accomplishments, tools and techniques to project activities in order to run into the stakeholder demands and outlooks from a undertaking.

British Standard 6079 – 1:2002 defines project direction as:

The planning, monitoring and control of all facets of a undertaking and the motive of all those involved in it to accomplish the undertaking objectives on clip and to a specified cost, quality and public presentation.

3.2 Key Features of sustainability

In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development Report was published after a four twelvemonth survey period. The Commission defined sustainability as “ Development which meets the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands ” . Walker, A. ( 2007 ) states that it is still the most often quoted definition. Wackernagel, M. ( 2000 ) defines it as “ Living good within the bounds of nature ” .

Blackburn, W. ( 2007, p.4 ) states that ‘ … the tonss of definitions [ of sustainability ] have reflected a common subject about its significance ‘ . He uses the subject to develop a significance for sustainability in his ‘Sustainability Handbook ‘ and ‘ … name [ s ] this intending the “ 2Rs, ” which stand for:

Resources: the wise usage and direction of economic and natural resources ; and

Respect: regard for people and other life things. ‘

Blackburn, W. ( 2007, p.4 & A ; 5 )

The general consensus is that we should make what we can to protect ourselves and the environment for the present and the hereafter. Some houses, companies and even persons see sustainability as a load instead than for the benefits that a sustainable attack can accomplish. This assignment will concentrate on the benefits for companies which encompasses undertaking directors, who are likely to be either working within a company or on behalf of another company holding being contracted to make so.

Some of the cardinal benefits of sustainability are a decrease in energy use, waste and costs.

3.3 Sustainability steps in undertaking direction

Fryer, B. ( 1997 ) says that “ Both the building and belongings industries must play a responsible function in pull offing the environmental impact of development… ” This is where undertaking directors can do a difference by implementing sustainability steps to accomplish that terminal.

Basiago, A. ( 1998 ) Identifies 3 chief aspects of sustainability which are:

Economic sustainability

Environmental sustainability

Social sustainability

Integrating economic, environmental and societal issues into sustainability is frequently referred to as a Triple Bottom Line attack. Griffiths, K. ( 2007 ) identifies this as a utile footing for a public presentation direction and measuring system.

It is believed that all issues associating to sustainability tantrum into one of those mentioned above.

The inquiry nevertheless is, what can be put in topographic point to run into sustainability purposes? Labuschagne, C and Brent, A. ( 2004 ) believe that a model needs to be established in order to efficaciously assess sustainability within a given range. They have assessed integrated models which are used to measure sustainability on a national and international degree and have proposed a sustainability appraisal model based on their reappraisal. It can be seen below:

The proposed model identifies countries which can measure degrees of sustainability of undertakings.

Griffiths, K. ( 2007 ) besides believes that a sustainability model is necessary to measure sustainability during the direction of a undertaking.

Blackburn, W. ( 2007 ) indicates that it is of import to develop a strategic program for sustainability and that cardinal public presentation indexs are an effectual step that can be adopted which will help the appraisal of sustainability.

Developing strategic programs and models are seasonably and dearly-won nevertheless. Some may be willing to put this clip and money whilst others may non.

4.0 Defining/developing hypothesis or research inquiry

The reappraisal of literature and research therefore far has explained that undertaking direction involves the integrating of cognition and accomplishments to finish a impermanent enterprise within the specific clip period allocated. It has besides been recognised that with respect to sustainability, this needs to be executed in a manner that provides for the demands as required, without compromising the demands of others including the environment, now and so in the hereafter. One step identified for making this is set uping a sustainability model when carry oning a undertaking to guarantee that issues associating to sustainability are addressed and sustainable public presentation can be assessed. This subject is of peculiar involvement to me because my current function within the Audit Commission, involves analyzing ways in which the committee can better on sustainability peculiarly with respect to the estate which they occupy and the undertakings that they are involved in. The Commission do non hold such a sustainability model in topographic point for their undertakings, merely an organizational purpose to accomplish an addition sustainability public presentation. Measures for this have so far been limited to cut downing company stat mis and energy ingestion which saves on cost. The focal point has been on cut downing cost to accomplish the sustainable marks and where costs are high, certain steps are overlooked. Sometimes sustainability is seen more as a cost than an chance which has resulted in many lost chances.

I would wish to research how sustainability can be integrated into the undertaking direction procedure, to present a successful sustainable undertaking and whether it is seen as a cost or an chance.

In carry oning the research, certain undertakings need to be realised.

Indentify what constitutes good undertaking direction

Establish what sustainability is

Identify if and how current administrations incorporate sustainability into undertaking direction

Evaluate find

Establish how sustainability can be efficaciously incorporated into undertaking direction


Bryman, A. ( 2008 ) emphasises the importance of planning in the research procedure and set uping the grounds behind the research so that one will be able to better find the best class in carry oning the research. Creswell, J. ( 2009 ) supports the elaborate planning attack as do Dawson, C. ( 2007 ) and Fellows, R. and Lui, A. ( 1997 ) who believe that the undermentioned considerations should do addressed as portion of a research program:

What? Why? Where? When? How? Whom? And How much?

Yin, K. ( 1994 ) besides believes that the considerations above should organize portion of the procedure for developing the research inquiry.

Jiang, L. ( 2009 ) Identified the necessary stairss in the research procedure which is shown below:

5.0 Constructive treatments of possible methods/Methodologies

The different types of research methods and methodological analysiss will now be examined so that the most suited one can be chosen for this peculiar survey. The common types are qualitative, quantitative and an merger of the two known as the assorted attack.

Creswell, J. ( 2009 ) identifies three different types of research design as qualitative, quantitative and assorted methods but adds that they “ … are non every bit distinct as they foremost appear ” .

Knight, A. and Ruddock, L. ( 2008 ) depict how

“ … in order to analyze the methodological places and research methods adopted by building direction research workers, an analysis was carried out of every paper published in Construction Management and Economics in Volume 24, 2006.. ”

Four wide footings were utilised to depict the methodological analysiss chosen within the documents which are as follows:

Quantitative – unequivocally following quantitative methods rooted in a positive research paradigm

Qualitative – unequivocally following qualitative methods rooted in a interpretive research paradigm

Assorted methods – consisting a combination of both inductive and deductive research methods.

Review – non using empirical research methods

The distribution of the methods amongst the documents can be seen below


Qualitative Methods

Quantitative Methods

Assorted Methods

Review/Other paper

No. Of documents





( % within parentheses

( 8.4 )

( 71.0 )

( 11.2 )

( 9.4 )

Table 1.1 Broad categorization of research methods reported in all documents ( excepting letters and book reappraisals ) in Vol 24 of Construction Management and Economics ( n = 107 ) – Beginning Knight, A. and Ruddock, L. ( 2008 )

The categorization of research methods reported utilizing qualitative research is located below.



Focus groups workshops and group interviews


Document or textual analysis

Visual Data

No. Documents






Table 1.2 Categorization of research methods reported in documents utilizing qualitative research methods in Vol 24 of Construction Management and Economics – Beginning Knight, A. and Ruddock, L. ( 2008 )

It would look from these consequences at least, that the building direction community are ground in a positive manner of thought. There besides seems to be big dependance on the usage of interviews for qualitative research. Knight, A. and Ruddock, L. ( 2008 ) province that those involved in building direction:

“ … present a position of a community reluctant to follow the sorts of extremist qualitative research methods which could supply richer penetrations into industry pattern. ”

This will be considered when taking which method to follow for this peculiar research undertaking.

Bryman, A. ( 2008 ) has detailed some of the chief differences between quantitative and qualitative research in table 16.1





Point of position of research worker

Points of position of participants

Researcher Distant

Researcher near

Theory proving

Theory emergent






Contextual Understanding

Hard, dependable informations

Rich, deep information





Artificial scene

Natural Puting

Table 16.1 Common contrasts between quantitative and qualitative research – Beginning Bryman, A. ( 2008 )

Creswell, J. ( 2009 ) assesses some of the characteristics of quantitative, assorted and qualitative methods which can be seen the tabular array below.

Quantitative a†’


a†? Qualitative

Pre – determined

Both pre – determined and emerging methods

Emerging methods

Instrument based inquiries

Both unfastened – and closed – ended inquiries

Open – ended inquiries

Performance informations, attitude informations, experimental informations, and nose count informations

Multiple signifiers of informations pulling on all possibilities

Interview informations, observation informations, papers informations and audio – ocular informations

Statistical analysis

Statistical and text analysis

Text and image analysis

Statistical reading

Across databases reading

Subjects, forms readings

Table 1.3 Quantitative, Mixed and Qualitative Methods – Beginning Creswell, J. ( 2009 )

5.1 Quantitative Research

There are many ways to specify qualitative research. Creswell, J. ( 2009 ) states that it is a agency for proving nonsubjective theories by analyzing the relationship among variables. Bryman, A. ( 2008 ) concurs and adds that it is a deductive attack which tests theory and that it is objectivist. He has besides produced “ … an ideal – typical history of the procedure… ” of quantitative research which is displayed in the diagram below:

Figure 6.1 The procedure of quantitative research – Beginning Bryman, A. ( 2008 )

Amaratunga et Al ( 2002 ) states that quantitative research is strong in mensurating variables but it ‘s failings lies chiefly in the failure to determine deeper significances and accounts.

5.2 Qualitative Research

Bryman, A. ( 2008 ) states that:

“ … qualitative research can be construed as a research scheme that normally emphasises words instead than quantification in the aggregation and analysis of informations… ”

Gubrium and Holstein ( 1997 ) have suggested four traditions of qualitative research which are as follows:

Naturalism: seeks to understand societal world in its ain footings ; ‘as it truly is ‘ ; provides rich descriptions of people and interaction in natural scenes

Ethnomethodology: seeks to understand how societal order is created through talk and interaction ; has a realistic orientation.

Emotionality: exhibits a concern with subjectiveness and deriving entree to ‘inside ‘ experience ; is concerned with the interior world of worlds.

Postmodernism: emphasizes ‘method speak ‘ ; is sensitive to the different ways societal world can be constructed.

Dawson, C. ( 2007 ) believes that qualitative research looks into attitudes, behavior and experience through methods such as interviews or concentrate groups. She besides lists the undermentioned methodological analysiss that autumn under the qualitative research method:

Action research


Feminist research

Grounded theory

Creswell, J. ( 2009 ) concurs with Dawson, C. ( 2007 ) besides naming descriptive anthropology and grounded theory surveies as qualitative research methodological analysiss. He adds to the list narrative research, phenomenology and instance surveies

5.3 Assorted Methods Approach

“ There is a strong suggestion within the research community that research, both quantitative and qualitative, is best idea of as complementary and should hence be mixed in research of many sorts. ” Amaratunga et Al ( 2002 )

Tashakkori, A. Teddlie, C. ( 2002 ) specify a assorted method research design as follows:

“ … the incorporation of assorted qualitative or quantitative schemes within a individual undertaking that may hold either a qualitative or a quantitative theoretical thrust. The “ imported ” schemes are auxiliary to the major or nucleus method and service and service to edify or supply hints that are followed up within the nucleus method ”

This is non to be confused with a multi-method attack to research which they define as follows:

“ the behavior of two or more research methods, each conducted strictly and finish in itself, in one undertaking. The consequences are so triangulated to organize a comprehensive whole ”

A assorted method attack to research combines both quantitative and qualitative methods into a survey. Benefits from both elements can so be realised.

Bryman, A. ( 2008 ) states that the two chief statements against the assorted methods attack are:

the thought that research methods carry epistemic committednesss, and

the thought that quantitative and qualitative research are separate paradigms.

The statement is that if each single research method carries its ain epistemic committednesss, so more than one can non be applied to an single subject for survey and if qualitative and quantitative research represent separate manners of idea ; they can non both be used for one person survey.

Hammersley, M. ( 1996 ) has proposed three agencies to assorted methods research.

Triangulation. This refers to the usage of quantitative research to confirm qualitative research findings or frailty versa

Facilitation. This attack arises when on research scheme is employed in order to help research utilizing the other research scheme

Complementary. This attack occurs when the two research schemes are employed in order that different facets of an probe can be dovetailed

6.0 Reasoning procedure geting at decision

The wide subject country was sustainability and I wanted to look at it in relation to project direction. The research above has enabled this subject country to be narrowed down to ; How sustainability can be integrated into the undertaking direction procedure to present a successful sustainable undertaking and whether it is seen as simply a cost or an chance.

The critical reappraisal of the literature revealed that although models have been developed to measure sustainability at that place seems to be no existent steps that can be implemented to integrate sustainability into the undertaking direction procedure and no indicant as to which stages it should be implemented at. The literature did non bespeak the likely costs associated with operating sustainably and therefore it was non possible to determine the chance cost of sustainable steps which besides needs to be understood.

In make up one’s minding on the most applicable method/s and methodological analysiss to utilize for the research, mention will be made to the recommended considerations by Fellows, R. and Lui, A. ( 1997 ) and Yin, K. ( 1994 ) as outlined in portion 4.0 of this proposal:

What? Why? Where? When? How? Whom? And How much?

What? – Behavior research utilizing the most appropriate method/methodologies

Why? – Sustainability and its characteristics is of involvement to me and the hope is that through this survey, the administration for whom I work might better understand how to implement it successfully.

Where? – The research itself will take topographic point at figure of different topographic points. Primary and secondary research will take topographic point at the university library, my topographic point of work and it is anticipated that a significant sum of the work that needs to be completed will take topographic point at my place. This is made possible by usage of the broad scope of resources available through the university via the cyberspace. Interviews are likely to take topographic point at the workplace of each interviewee but this will be decided on nearer the clip.

When? – The research will get down in the 2nd term of the academic twelvemonth 2009/2010 once the current and extroverted faculties have been completed.

How? – Creswell, J. ( 2009 ) and Amaratunga et Al ( 2002 ) both agree that a assorted research design attack will enable the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative research to be realised instead than utilizing merely one of the methodological analysiss and this is the type research design that I have chosen to follow.

Who? – This research will be completed by me as a demand for the successful completion of the MSc Award for Construction Project Management.

How much? – This relates to clip and cost. The clip allocated to finish this research is slightly limited in that a much more comprehensive degree of research could be completed given more clip. Cost is besides a factor. Many resources such as entree to databases are available through the university but there types of resources that are non available and as at that place so budget for the completion of the undertaking, these resources are non within the range of this undertaking.


Phase Detailss

Proposed Method/Methodology


Identify cardinal characteristics of undertaking direction and the necessities for its success

Literature reappraisal


Identify cardinal characteristics of sustainability


Establish how sustainability characteristics can be incorporated in to the undertaking direction procedure

Literature reappraisal, Interviews, questionnaires


Identify whether administrations see sustainability as a simply a cost or an chance

interviews, literature reappraisal


Identify how betterments can be made

literature reappraisal, interviews


Assess consequences and feedback



Report on findings


Detailss of other possible jobs or restrictions sing this undertaking are listed below:

Ability to happen appropriate interviewees willing to take part in the survey

It will non be possible to hold the figure of participants in the industry required for a greater survey for this research undertaking within the clip allotment

Response to questionnaires will necessitate to be considered to accomplish a return rate that allows for a worthwhile sample that is utile

Questionnaire cryptography will necessitate to be assessed to determine the best method as failure to make could hold a major inauspicious impact on undertaking completion within the allocated clip period

The method for measuring successful or failure of the research undertaking will necessitate to be developed from the beginning so there is an appropriate step on which to measure the result. This will necessitate it ‘s on survey.

Time direction

Ethical considerations must be made in regard of the privateness of the research participants

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