A typology of designs for social research in the built environment

Du Toit, Jacques Louis (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis (PhD (Sociology and Social Anthropology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this metamethodological study was to construct a typology of designs for social research in the built environment, i.e., architecture, urban design and planning. Currently there is no such typology, while the notion of “research design” is relatively unknown in methodological literature in the built environment field. An outline of the dimensions of social research provided a theoretical lens for methodological analysis, and identified six methodological considerations as classification criteria, including (1) research context, (2) research aim, (3) research purpose, (4) methodological paradigm, (5) methodological approach, and (6) source of data. Exploratory interviews and a survey and methodological content analysis of built environment theses provided a better understanding of methodological issues in conducting social research in the built environment and the potential relevance of a typology of designs. A review of methodological literature identified 25 research design subtypes that can be clustered into 10 prototypical designs for inclusion in the typology, namely: (1) surveys, (2) experiments, (3) modelling, simulation, mapping and visualization, (4) textual and narrative studies, (5) field studies, (6) case studies, (7) intervention research, (8) evaluation research, (9) participatory action research, and (10) metaresearch. A survey and methodological content analysis of journal articles determined the extent to which these designs feature in social research in the built environment. Although all the designs and subtypes feature, metaresearch, case studies, evaluation research and surveys predominate. An initial typology classified the 10 prototypical designs in terms of the six methodological considerations. The typology was tested to see how well it classified the designs of actual studies and revised accordingly. Possible benefits of the typology include greater clarification, improved teaching and decision-making, and methodological reflection. Thus, the typology may support lecturers, students, supervisors, researchers, peer-reviewers and practitioners to have a more articulate, reflexive, and critical orientation with regard to research design to maximize the validity of findings and advance theory, methodology and practice in built environment disciplines. The study concludes that the typology may also mitigate post-modern criticisms against social research in the built environment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie metametodologiese studie was om `n tipologie van ontwerpe vir sosiale navorsing in die bou-omgewing (d.w.s. argitektuur, stadsontwerp en beplanning) te konstrueer. Tans is daar geen so tipologie nie, terwyl die nosie van “navorsingsontwerp” relatief onbekend is in metodologiese literatuur in die bou-omgewing veld. `n Uiteensetting van die dimensies van sosiale navorsing het `n teoretiese lens vir metodologiese analises verskaf en ses metodologiese konsiderasies as klassifikasie kriteria geïdentifiseer, insluitend (1) navorsingskonteks, (2) navorsingsoogmerk, (3) navorsingsdoelwit, (4) metodologiese paradigma, (5) metodologiese benadering, en (6) data bron. Verkennende onderhoude en `n opname en metodologiese inhoudsanalise van bou-omgewing tesisse het `n beter begrip van metodologiese kwessies in sosiale navorsing in die bou-omgewing en die moontlike relevansie van `n tipologie van ontwerpe verskaf. `n Oorsig van metodologiese literatuur het 25 navorsingsontwerp subtipes geïdentifiseer wat in 10 prototipe ontwerpe gegroepeer kan word vir insluiting in die tipologie, naamlik (1) opnames, (2) eksperimente, (3) modellering, simulasie, kartering en visualisering, (4) tekstuele en narratiewe studies, (5) veldstudies, (6) gevallestudies, (7) intervensie navorsing, (8) evaluasie navorsing, (9) deelnemende aksie navorsing, en (10) metanavorsing. `n Opname en metodologiese inhoudsanalise van joernaal artikels het die mate waartoe hierdie ontwerpe in sosiale navorsing in die bou-omgewing voorkom bepaal. Alhoewel al die ontwerpe en subtipes voorkom, is metanavorsing, gevallestudies, evaluasie navorsing en opnames predominant. `n Aanvanklike tipologie het die 10 prototipe ontwerpe in terme van die ses metodologiese konsiderasies geklassifiseer. Die tipologie is getoets om te sien hoe goed dit die ontwerpe van werklike studies klassifiseer en dienooreenkomstig gewysig. Moontlike voordele van die tipologie sluit in verbeterde klarifikasie, onderrig, besluitneming en metodologiese refleksie. Die tipologie kan dus dosente, studente, studieleiers, navorsers, beoordelaars en praktisyns ondersteun om `n meer geartikuleerde, refleksiewe en kritiese oriëntasie ten opsigte van navorsingsontwerp te hê om die geldigheid van bevindinge te maksimeer en teorie, metodologie en praktyk in bou-omgewing dissiplines te bevorder. Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die tipologie ook postmoderne kritiek teen sosiale navorsing in die bou-omgewing kan mitigeer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5142
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