"Are you going to put some statistics in there?" The challenges of a being qualitative researcher in a quantitative world, and how to politely say no!

Sherratt, Felicity Sarah (2012) "Are you going to put some statistics in there?" The challenges of a being qualitative researcher in a quantitative world, and how to politely say no! In: University of Bolton Research and Innovation Conference , 18-19 June, 2013. (Submitted)

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Abstract

Some disciplines remain firmly loyal to their historical roots, for example construction management research steadfastly remains a ‘science’. Grounded in realist ontology and positivist epistemology, the majority of construction management research is empirical and quantitative. For technical and scientific aspects of construction management this is not an issue, however concern is raised when this theoretical approach is applied to the social aspects of construction, specifically to people in construction. People are critical to construction; projects are carried out in social settings and through highly complex social interactions, yet to examine them as if they were a steel beam is highly limiting. It has been argued that alternative approaches, as found in the social sciences, must be employed to further the understanding of those who work and manage people in construction. Yet research forays from such interpretive, qualitative and constructionist perspectives are often met with criticism; that they are ’anti-scientific’ and, even worse, ‘bad research’. This paper presents an ethnographical tale; how the author negotiated these choppy waters, how she nearly capsized, and how she was eventually able to navigate safely home. This lived experience is supported by examination of the wider philosophical debates within the field, which are stripped back to their ontological roots and an enduring love for Sir Isaac Newton. Methodological critique as part of the research journey is also discussed, and arguments developed to help support researchers seeking to set out on a qualitative quest within a hostile and unfriendly quantitative world.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Paper presented at the University of Bolton Research and Innovation Conference 2013.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ab initio electronic theory, construction management, epistemology, methodology, quantitative, qualitative
Divisions: University of Bolton Conferences > Research and Innovation Conference > Research and Innovation Conference 2013
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:53
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2014 10:36
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/600

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