- Archival documents and government sources
- Laboratory experiments
- Quasi experiment
- Scales (measuring and weighing tapes)
QuestionnairesThe questionnaire is a tool designed for the collection of quantitative data, and is widely used in construction research as it is a good research instrument for collecting standardised data and making generalisations. Questionnaires can provide quick responses but adequate care must be taken when developing questionnaires, to ensure you don’t influence the response you receive. The design of your questionnaire should reflect your research aims and objectives.
InterviewsInterviews are a tool mainly for the collection of qualitative data and are popular as a data-collection tool because of their flexibility.According to Silverman (1997: 98), interviews are:
… active interactions between two or more people leading to a negotiated contextually based result.
There are different types of interview:In order to understand other persons’ constructions of reality, we would do well to ask them […] and to ask them in such a way that they can tell us in their terms […] and in a depth which addresses the rich context that is the substance of their meanings.
- Individual, face-to-face verbal interchange
- Face-to-face group interviews (focus groups)
- Telephone surveys
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- Conducted as a one-time occurrence
- Conducted as multiple, longer sessions
- Structured, semi-structured, unstructured
ObservationObservation is a systematic data-collecting technique that involves watching individuals in their natural environment or in a naturally occurring situation.The processes under observation are normal and not contrived. They can range from individual cases, through to groups and whole communities. They provide highly detailed information about natural processes. The data collection is laborious and time-consuming and may have to be repeated to ensure reliability. However, observation schedules based on a set of expectations can make data collection easier.The level of observer participation can vary from wholly participant to non-participant. The non-participant observer has limited interaction with the people being observed.Observers can collect data through field notes, video or audio recording, which can be analysed using qualitative analytical tools. If you code your observations to exact numerical data, it can be analysed using a quantitative approach.One of the main benefits of using a wholly or partial participant observation is that the level of immersion and prolonged involvement with participants can lead to a good rapport, thereby encouraging participants to speak up freely. This helps with the rich details of the collected data.
ReferencesJones, S. (1985) ‘Depth Interviewing’. Applied Qualitative Research. Aldershot, UK: GowerSilverman, D. (1997) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. London: Sage.
Research for Construction Management
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