Research methodology is the crucial part of research work that helps in identifying the tools and techniques that are applied to present research course. This chapter is significant to select suitable methods along with research techniques for conducting the research is an effective manner. According to the words of (Ellingsen, Størksen and Stephens, 2010) “it is essential for researchers to select the most appropriate methodologies to improve efficiency of research work”. The research methodologies should suit the nature of study. The section proposed herewith deals with identification of suitable techniques for the purpose of supporting research work. Research objectives that are identified at the beginning will be achieved by way of analysing information accumulated through appropriate means.
For conducting any research investigation, philosophy has a very crucial role to play, as it guides researcher on steps that should be taken to effectively complete the investigation and obtain desired results (Dey, 2002). It can essentially be defined as development of research background, research knowledge and its nature. It is a term which is related to development of and nature of knowledge. Philosophy is the way in which data about a phenomenon should be collected, analysed and put to use. For the purpose of effectively and efficiently conducting the research and to understand the pattern of investigation, investigator must employ the mist appropriate research philosophy. Majorly there are two kinds of philosophies that can be considered by scholar – interpretivisim and positivism. At one end there is interpretivisim perspective which states that it is not possible to get a complete understanding and knowledge of the world and observe general theories and patterns from it. Interpretivists trust that only through subjective interpretation of subject matter can it be fully understood. Those researchers who follow interpretivisim philosophy, believe that for effectively conducting a scholarly work, it is imperative that they evaluate the way humans react and interpret to different activities. Essentially, this philosophy takes into consideration aspects such as human interaction and intervention. On the other hand lies positive philosophy which is more of a traditional technique asserts that everything can be proved through evidences. Supports of positivism believe that reality is stable and can be observed and/or described from an objective viewpoint without the phenomena being interfered by the research.
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In this research investigation, positivism philosophy has been used, as it would allow scholar to gather viable evidence and determine the difference between Iranian and UK's construction industry with great ease and comfort. Through this philosophy, researcher would gain the ability to reach to desired results and draw effective conclusions. Herein data that would be collected through different sources would allow researcher to analyse the data in an effective manner. It is a “scientific” method through which the study can be conducted. To use this philosophy in a proper and effective manner, researcher had to thoroughly observe construction industry of both the countries, as it could provide a lot of useful information about the phenomenon and aid to successfully complete the study.
Research approaches also have a very important role to play in selection and implementation of a suitable methodology to research. It is through this part that the researcher can formulate an efficient research design and thus increase effectiveness of the study. It has a major effect on development of research question and the framework which has to be adopted. There are two types of research approaches which can be used so as to carry out the study in the best of manner - Inductive and Deductive (Fillis, 2007). The former approach opines that scholar must develop new theories by undertaking the process of observation and data analysis. By using this approach, researcher can focus on the research questions and keep scope of the study as narrow as possible. This can help in effectively fulfilling aim and objectives of the investigation. To use this approach in a proper and effective manner, researcher needs to keep an open mind and must not developed any pre-concieved notion about the topic. This essentially helps scholar in ensuring that a scholarly work can be carried out in an efficient and effective manner. On the other hand, deductive research approach is related to development of theories that are completely opposite of the ones prepared to use inductive approach. It states that an investigator must move from general concepts to specific ones associated with the topic. It is one of the commonly used research approaches, because of reason that it involves development of a hypothesis or assumption. This helps scholar to focus on the task at hand and also attain aim of the study with great ease and comfort.
In this research study, inductive approach has been used, as it has allowed the researcher to move from observation of various phenomenons related to the topic and formulate relevant theories and principles for it. By using 'bottom-up' approach, first researcher made certain observations; then developed different patterns; later a tentative hypothesis was prepared and then most appropriate theory was determined. This approach has proved to be very useful to the scholar in this study, as it resulted in development of effective conclusions and obtaining desired results.
They are the general plan which aids the researcher in answering research questions as effectively as possible and also in selecting the most appropriate research methodology. Developing a strategy through which a research can be carried out is very important, mainly because of reason that it provides a lot of useful information to the scholar about the most effective and appropriate way through which the study can be carried out (Munkejord, 2009). There are certain major components of a research strategy such as aim an objectives; research questions; data collection and analysis methods, etc. For developing a well suited strategy, scholar is required to conduct a thorough background check about the phenomenon and collect relevant information for it. There are varied kinds of research strategies such as exploratory, observatory; experimentation, etc.
Present study research strategy consists of using a questionnaire survey to collect primary data for the investigation. Herein, researcher would contact engineers working in Iran's construction industry and try to obtain their views on the BIM process. By using the questionnaire survey, scholar would gain substantial and extensive knowledge about the phenomena being studied and thus be able to effectively carry out the study and obtain desired results. Different questions related to the subject under purview will be asked to the respondents.
A research design is a systematic and scientific plan, through which problem/research question can be studied. It is a very important part of the research methodology as it helps a investigator in defining research study right from data collection techniques to data analysis (Weller and Gulick, 2014). Basically there are two types of research designs – qualitative and quantitative. Both of them are very different from one another, yet it is imperative that they be selected with utmost care and attention, as any mistake can lead to non-fulfilment of research aim and objectives.
Qualitative research is applied in those kinds of situations where the researcher looks to develop various theories which are based on the data collected. A study can be called as qualitative if its aim is to define a particular state of activity and problems. This can be a very good way to create a link between the theories which are being advocated and the ones which have to be investigated. But conversely, quantitative research is based on the availability and accessibility to various types on numerical data, facts and figures. In this research study, scholar has used qualitative research design, as it is one of the most effective methods through which the present study can be carried out and research aim can be attained easily. Furthermore, through this design, researcher has been able to stay focused and also obtain a large variety of data related to the topic. Use of this design has also enabled the researcher to gain an in depth understanding of the subject.
One of the critical aspects of conducting a research study is that of the sampling topic. It is very important part, because success of an investigation to a great extent is dependent on this facet. Sampling basically is a process through which people who can be included in the investigation can be identified and then involved in the thesis (Hansen, 2011). It is one of the most important activities that a researcher has to perform during research.
There are two types of sampling: random and non-random. Simple random sampling involves selection of individuals from population just at random without any pattern and system. In the same sense it is the unsystematic selection. It is the most basic type of sampling, because it can also be included with other techniques of sampling. Principle assumption in such technique is that every individual or objects have an equal probability or chance to be included in the sample size. But non-random sampling is that technique in which there is no equality and probability of selection of all components from universe. Some have more chances of being selected, while some do not have.
In the present research investigation, 15 engineers working in the Iranian construction industry would be considered. These would be selected through technique of stratified sampling, wherein only those engineers who have been working in country's construction industry. Data collected through them is of great significance for the present study, mainly because of reason that it would help scholar in effectively fulfilling aim and objectives of the investigation.
Research Validity and Reliability
A lot of attention has been paid to every part and section of the study and has been carried with utmost care and ensured that results derived are reliable and in relation to aims & objectives of the study. Validity is thought to be a very integral part of an efficient research, as through it the researcher aims to convey accuracy and correctness with which the final results reflect goals of the study (Garland and Garland, 2012). While reliability refers to making sure that there is no discrepancy or shortfalls in the study and irregularities in the final results obtained. The researcher has paid attention to make sure that the research is valid and reliable. Present study is valid, as focus has been on collecting primary data, with the help of which researcher has gained access to fresh and raw form of information. This way, system of processing and collating the data would become a lot effective and helpful to the whole study. In addition to this, it is reliable as well, because of reason that the results it will lead to generation of a better understanding of changes that must be brought about in Iranian construction industry so that BIM processes and technology can be implemented in it with ease and comfort.
One of the very crucial parts of the research methodology chapter is that of the data collection. Its importance can be understood through fact that it helps both reader as well as the researcher in identifying and understanding methods through which information for the study would be collected (Guercini, 2014). Step of data collection is important, mainly because of reason that effectiveness and success of the investigation depends on it. If wrong tools are used to collect data, then there are chances that study might not be helpful as desired results would not be obtained. There are two main sources of data – primary and secondary.
Primary data is also known as fresh or raw data. It is very crucial form of data for the study, as it provides in depth information about the topic and also ensure that the investigation is carried out in an efficient and effective manner. Primary data for this study has been collected by using technique of questionnaire survey among engineers working in country's construction industry. Here various kinds of questions have been presented to the selected respondents. On the other hand, to collect secondary data, researcher has paid attention to using tools such as reviews of different conferences, seminars, etc. organized in the country on various topics associated with the national construction industry.
Another very critical part of research methodology chapter is that of the data analysis section. It is a very important component, mainly because of reason that through it both researcher as well as reader can understand the method which would be used to collate the collected data through various tools and technique (Doná, 2006). There are a wide variety of ways in which gathered data can be assessed for the present study. They can be segregated into qualitative and quantitative. In this research investigation, researcher has used qualitative technique to evaluate the collected. Herein, attention has been paid to utilizing thematic analysis method, where different themes are formed on basis of information collected through primary and secondary sources. This way, the study can be made more effective and quality oriented. In addition to this, evaluated data through thematic analysis have been represented through different charts, diagrams, bar graphs, etc. Such a way of presenting the data will be very beneficial to the whole study as it would lead to effectively meeting aim and objectives of the investigation.
For any research study to be called successful and effective, it is imperative that the scholar pays attention to managing proper ethical aspects related to the research study. There are various kinds of ethical considerations that the scholar for current investigation will have to consider. It includes steps to ensure data about respondents is not leaked to any third party. Confidentiality about information about the selected engineers must be maintained. If such data is leaked to any third party, then there are chances that it might affect the investigation in a negative manner and also hamper the process of attainment of aim and objectives of the study. In addition to this, researcher will also have to ensure that before informed consent has been taken from relevant authorities, to interact with engineers and to ask them to fill out the questionnaire. Without taking consent, the research study cannot be termed to be effective and ethically correct.
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Limitations of the research
There are certain areas that the present study lacks in and it is important that these areas be identified and thoroughly evaluated, so that they may not become a hindering force in successful completion of the study. There was a presence of very few books or journals written in English language on Iranian construction industry. This made it difficult to collect secondary data. It was difficult to find the connection with the respondents so that they could have become ready to give the answers. Travelling to Iran for the purpose of data collection through questionnaire led to expenses. Moreover, it was also very difficult to find out appropriate respondents for the questionnaire survey.
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