Overview of chapters

This book comprises 16 chapters which are outlined below.

In Chapter 1, Introduction to Secondary Research Methods in the Built Environment, Emmanuel Manu and Julius Akotia present discussions on what constitutes secondary research before reflecting on the secondary research process, secondary research designs, and the potential for applying secondary research methods in built environment research. The benefits and drawbacks of applying secondary research methods also have been reflected upon. The purpose of this chapter was to provide the context for all the other chapters in the book.

In Chapter 2, Identifying and Sourcing Data for Secondary Research, Emmanuel Manu, Julius Akotia, and Saad Sarhan distinguish between secondary data and primary data, whilst acknowledging the sometimes blurred and confusing nature of this distinction. The sources of secondary data that are applicable to various built environment disciplines have also been identified and discussed. These include academic databases, government databases, intergovernmental databases, organisational databases, legal databases, and social media data. The opportunities for utilising data from these various sources have been interrogated. Manu et al. also reflect on some of the considerations that will need to be exer- cised to ensure that the pre-existing datasets are of the right quality for use in secondary research.

In Chapter 3, Ethical Considerations in the Use of Secondary Data for Built Environment Research, Abid Hasan evaluates the ethical considerations that must be exercised when using secondary data for research. In this chapter, the main ethical issues that must be considered as part of the research design - data collection and analysis, data storage and disposal, and dissemination of the findings - when using secondary datasets are addressed. Just as with primary research, Hasan makes it clear that the research protocol for secondary data research should address the questions regarding how the existing data will be collected, analysed, kept anonymous, published, stored, and secured. By drawing on the three Belmont principles of autonomy (respect for persons), beneficence, and justice, Hasan ends with advice that researchers using secondary data should ensure that sampling protocols and data collection procedures are established, the source and ownership of the original data is acknowledged, information about the original data (e.g. the response rate, sampling bias, missing data, and the time data came into existence) is reported, and that effective methods of securing the anonymity of the data are used to report the findings of the secondary research.

In Chapter 4, Qualitative Secondary Analysis as a Research Methodology, Victoria Sherif provides a historical overview of QSA as a research methodology. Epistemologically, Sherif highlights the systematic, subjective and yet highly reflexive process of QSA as the researcher explores pre-existing qualitative data for new meanings relating to human experiences within a social context. This reflexive process, which should account for the background context of the original data, has the potential to generate more meaningful empirical and/or methodological findings.

Methodologically, Sherif highlights the extensive preparatory and evaluative work that is required to address the research objectives adequately and meaningfully when applying QSA. It is also advised that QSA should be applied as a methodological approach for generating new knowledge or broadening understanding of a topic of interest, to enable a new research study or data collection or to use as a discrete method. Sherif also advises that the fit and relevance of the dataset, general quality of the dataset, trustworthiness of the dataset, and timeliness of the dataset are considerations that should be exercised before selecting existing data for QSA. Whilst this chapter is focused on the social and educational context, it offers insight into the application of QSA as a methodology in built environment research.

In Chapter 5, Evaluation of Systematic Literature Reviews in Built Environment Research: What are We Doing and How Can We Improve?, Vijayan Chelliah, Nicola Thounaojam, Ganesh Devkar, and Boeing Laishram introduce the SLR technique by reflecting on five primary steps of the SLR process comprising: formulate the research question, locate the literature, select and evaluate the literature, analyse and synthesise the studies, and report the review results. They offer important advice on how to formulate concise research questions for SLRs using different frameworks, how to locate the literature using appropriate search strings, the inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting and evaluating the literature, some standardised questions for analysing and synthesising the findings, and approaches and procedures for reporting the results. Chelliah et al. also evaluate how these five stages of SLR have been applied in built environment research, based on which they have identified areas of improvement. Based on this evaluation, they have provided a very useful checklist for improving the quality of SLR studies in the built environment.

In Chapter 6, When Does Published Literature Constitute Data for Secondary Research and How Should the Data be Analysed?, Saad Sarhan and Emmanuel Manu discuss the use of published academic literature for both traditional literature reviews in research as well as for secondary data when applying qualitative secondary research methods, such as SLRs, scoping reviews, state-of-the-art reviews, or quantitative secondary research methods such as bibliometric reviews and meta-analysis. Sarhan and Manu then focus on the details of SLR as a qualitative secondary research method, based on which they discuss thematic analysis and qualitative content analysis as the main methods for analysing qualitative secondary data, with a focus on using computer-assisted, qualitative data analysis software such as NVivo to support this process. Specific guidance on when and how to use NVivo for supporting qualitative SLRs is also presented. This chapter, therefore, contains methodical guidance on how to conduct SLRs of existing academic literature, using NVivo - an approach which can also be applied to other qualitative secondary research methods.

In Chapter 7, A Systematic Literature Review Evaluating Sustainable Energy Growth in Qatar Using the PICO Model, Redouane Sarrakh, Suresh Renukaappa, and Subashini Suresh illustrate the use of the PICO Model for SLRs with an example of a study that evaluates sustainable energy growth in Qatar. This chapter includes a case example of the application of SLRs following the PICO Model in built environment research, based on a case study about the efficiency of policies and tactics implemented by the Qatari Government in its energy sector, pertaining to sustainability strategies. Initial results using the PICO Model led to the identification of 1990 resources from five different databases, of which 82 met the pre-set inclusion and exclusion criteria, such as date, geographic location, language, type of publications, participants, and design studies. From the SLRs, Sarrakh et al. were able to map the Qatar Energy Sector to six sustainability initiatives, namely: health and safety, environment, climate change and energy, economic performance, society, and workforce. Sarrakh et al. concluded that Qatari sustainable development policies still needed great efforts to achieve more holistic policies and more integrated and comprehensive strategies.

In Chapter 8, Understanding Legal Research in the Built Environment, Joseph Mante discusses legal research as an approach that employs both primary and secondary sources of data to arrive at logically sound outcomes. Mante argues that within the built environment, legal research is often undervalued or even mis- characterised as a tool for preliminary enquiry. These misconceptions stem from lack of understanding of the province of legal research in the built environment and the procedures involved. This misunderstanding is dispelled in this chapter by explaining the scope and the procedures involved in legal research, with doctrinal legal research being a dominant aspect. In its basic form, legal research involves locating, describing, interpreting, and systematising legal principles and concepts, with the legal system as a conceptual framework. The resources for this exercise are primary data (legislations) and secondary data (e.g. law reports, legal commentaries, and other literature about the law), and the outcomes are supported and based on sound reasoning.

In Chapter 9, Applying Science Mapping in Built Environment Research, Amos Darko and Albert Ping-Chuen Chan discuss science mapping as an effective and useful methodology for studying and understanding the structural and dynamic features of a scientific domain through constructing, analysing, and visualising bibliometric networks. Darko and Chan discuss the application of science mapping in built environment research before providing a step-by-step tutorial on how three software packages, VOSviewer, CiteSpace, and Gephi, can be applied together to conduct robust science mapping-based research. This chapter will be helpful to researchers and other interested stakeholders that intend to undertake quality research using science mapping.

In Chapter 10, Bibliometric Analysis for Reviewing Published Studies in the Built Environment, Liyuan Wang, Ruoyn Jin, and Joseph Kangwa define biblio- metrics analysis before reflecting on the rationale for adopting this method when conducting literature reviews. The existing software tools for conducting the text mining-based analysis (e.g. VOSviewer, Gephi) also are introduced. Using two case examples from disciplines in the built environment, Wang et al. illustrate the science mapping workflow that is involved in bibliometric analysis, based on which Wang et al. showcase the network analysis with one of the bibliometric analysis tools (i.e. VOSviewer). Finally, general guidance that should be observed when conducting bibliometric analysis is provided, with some concluding recommendations on the common mistakes that should be avoided when conducting bibliometric analysis.

In Chapter 11, Scientometric Review and Analysis: A Case Example of Smart Buildings and Smart Cities, Timothy O. Olawumi, Abdullahi B. Saka, Daniel W.M. Chan, and Nimesha S. Jayasena present the scientometric analysis process as a quantitative study of the intellectual evolution of research themes based on large-scale datasets before presenting a case example of this method using a study on smart buildings and smart cities. Using this example, Olawumi et al. reflect on simplified steps that should be followed when conducting scientometric analysis, addressing issues such as sources of data for the “smart buildings and smart cities” research theme, software tools that can be utilised, and the analysis that can be performed to identify trends using the citation data such as analysis of co-author network, co-occurring keywords, author co-citation network, and document co-citation network. The case example serves as a useful guide for built environment researchers who are interested in applying scientometric analysis to other emerging research themes.

In Chapter 12, Analysis of BIM-FM Integration Using a Science Mapping Approach, Ecem Tezel and Heyecan Giritli present another case example on science mapping, using a study on building information modelling (B1M) and facility management (FM). Through this case example, they demonstrate the application of a three-step, science mapping approach to the B1M and FM knowledge domain. These three steps comprise a bibliometric search of the journal articles published in the Web of Science and Scopus databases, followed by scientometric analyses of the journals using VOSviewer software to identify the most influential journals, authors, and keywords in the B1M-FM domain, before finalising the third step, which is an in-depth qualitative discussion to summarise the present knowledge in BIM-FM integration and to propose future research directions. Through this case example, Tezel and Giritli demonstrate the application of three analytical domains for science mapping studies, namely journal analysis, scholar analysis, and keyword analysis.

In Chapter 13, Trends in Recycled Concrete Research: A Bibliometric Analysis, Olalikan Shamsideen Oshodi and Bankole Osita Awuzie present a case example of a bibliometric study. The aim is to detail the research trends and gaps associated with material circularity of concrete to identify knowledge gaps and future research directions. The topic of material circularity has been attracting attention from the construction industry stakeholders that are keen to overcome the industry’s negative impacts on sustainability and, since concrete is an intensively utilized resource in the construction industry, Oshodi and Awuzie chose a bibliometric analysis as a method for establishing the research trends on circularity of concrete as a construction material, whilst highlighting gaps necessitating further study using recycled concrete. This bibliometric method allowed for the identification of the growth in rate of publications within the review period, the most productive authors working within the knowledge domain area, degree of collaboration between them, author distribution, collaboration networks, institutions and countries producing such publications, and the journals where such articles were published. The example presented in this chapter can provide guidance for construction management researchers who are interested in applying bibliometric analysis.

In Chapter 14, Using Literature-Based Discovery in Built Environment Research, Nathan Kibuwami and Apollo Tutusigensi introduce a secondary research method called LBD, which involves the identification of novel relationships and/ or theories from two or more disparate contexts of literature. With origins in biomedical research, LBD is used to search for novel hypotheses in the literature, using either an open discovery or closed discovery approach. Kibuwami and Tutusigensi argue that there has been very limited application of LBD in built environment research despite the potential it offers, with some built environment researchers apparently confusing this method with other literature-related approaches such as SLRs. Kibuwami and Tutusigensi continue to advocate the development of a robust understanding of LBD among built environment researchers in order to increase its use. They achieve this by proposing a five-step approach to implementing LBD, which involves literature data retrieval; term extraction; category development; semantic similarity; and deduction of relationships. This five-step approach is applied using a case example to demonstrate how the core principles of LBD can be upheld.

In Chapter 15, Combining Study Findings by Using a Multiple Literature Review Technique and Meta-Analysis: A Mixed Method Approach, Samantha Low-Choy, Fernando Almeida, and Judy Rose discuss the meta-analysis research process before presenting two inter-disciplinary case examples of meta-analysis research. They adopt a mixed approach to meta-analysis research that commences with a structured literature review (scoping and then SLR) to select studies that are used to perform the meta-analysis research, clarifying eligibility via qualitative, narrative or model-centric review, and ending with a realist review. The AMSTAR2 appraisal tool is applied to a seven-staged process for conducting meta-analysis studies, which Low-Choy et al. then apply to two, non-randomised case studies. The guide they provide to performing meta-analysis research is based on AMSTAR2, which is a meta-analysis appraisal tool for appraising the quality of published systematic reviews for meta-analysis. Low-Choy et al. suggest that viewing meta-analysis as a mixed (quantitative and qualitative) method provides a wider array of options and is more suitable in many fields, especially multidisciplinary fields such as built environment. Through these two case examples, Low-Choy et al. provide a forward-looking guide for researchers who will be interested in conducting meta-analysis research using observational data, which is the type of data that is prevalent within built environment disciplines such as construction management.

In Chapter 16, Analysing Secondary Data to Understand the Socio-Technical Complexities of Design Decision Making, Payam Pirzadeh, Helen Lingard, and Nick Blismas present a secondary research study that involved the selection and re-analysis of six case studies from an existing comprehensive dataset. The existing dataset included 23 case studies, each of which was focused on the building-design process of a structural element. This existing dataset had come about from a study that had a different purpose of understanding in which characteristics of communication between participants in the design process were linked to positive health and safety (H&.S) outcomes. The aim of the new, secondary research study was to reveal the interdependence between social and technical aspects of construction-design decision-making and explain the impact on constructability and H&.S outcomes by building on and extending the findings of the previous research. To select six of the existing cases for re-analysis, Pirzadeh et al. developed and used a set of selection criteria to ensure the suitability of the secondary data for the new study. Pirzadeh et al. then applied a secondary, convergent, mixed methods design that was combined with a novel, multi-level network analysis framework to integrate and analyse the existing, quantitative, and qualitative data for each case simultaneously. Consequently, a more comprehensive and detailed investigation of the socio-technical complexities that characterise construction-design decision-making was achieved in the new study. To demonstrate this approach, the results of only one of the case studies have been reported in Chapter 16. Opportunities for employing new research designs and novel methods to re-analyse existing datasets, collected as part of previous research, to answer new research questions are indicated in the chapter. The importance also of ensuring the suitability of the existing data for new studies is highlighted.


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