- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 29 Oct 2018
Research in the construction industry
In general, research is the systematic and investigative means of undertaking work to expand and build upon knowledge in a particular field. Research can be carried out to establish, confirm or challenge facts and theories, to solve problems, support ideas, develop new theories, and so on.
Very broadly, there are two types of research strategies available: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative research can be used deductively to test a theory that can be presented in one of two ways:
- A hypothetical statement such as ‘if X then Y’.
- An educated ‘guess’.
Qualitative research is the more subjective analysis of descriptions, views, opinions, and alternative theories. Depending on the approach taken,qualitative research may use a smaller sample size than quantitative research, but the data obtained can be more personal and in-depth.
Broadly, the two categories of qualitative research are exploratory and attitudinal:
- Exploratory research is used primarily to gain a greater understanding of a particular subject. It is useful for diagnosing a situation, considering alternative ideas and discovering new ones. The most common method of exploratory research is interviewing. Another common method is a questionnaire (usually with open-ended questions).
- Attitudinal research is used to evaluate the opinions or views of individuals in a way that is subjective. Examples are questions that ask the individual to express their level of agreement with a statement, or to rank preferences.
Research generally follows a specific structural process (although it may vary according to the subject matter and researcher):
- Formation of the topic.
- Hypothesis (a testable prediction).
- Conceptual definition.
- Operational definition (how the variables will be measured and assessed).
- Data gathering.
- Data analysis.
- Data interpretation.
- Test and revision of hypothesis.
- Conclusion (and reiteration if necessary).
In terms of the construction industry, there are a wide range of different organisations and bodies which specialise in conducting research; including the Building Research Establishment (BRE), Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), National House Building Council (NHBC), the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), i3P, higher education institutes, the government and private companies.
Research and development tax relief is a specialist tax relief made available by teh government. It is designed to provide support to companies who invest in research and development (R&D), to help bring new products to market, to develop new processes, or to improve existing products or processes.
For more information, see Research and development tax relief.
You can see a range of articles on Designing Buildings Wiki about research and innovation at: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Category:Research_/_Innovation
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
BSRIA calls on government to reach deeper into the causes of pollution.
George Demetri brings a whole new level of technical knowledge to Designing Buildings Wiki.
Quality professionals need to take an active role in driving the completion process forwards.
The innovations needed to move from rhetoric to realisation.
Creating a sense of place, with radically-low running costs and the highest comfort levels.
A conversation between David Mitchell and Caitlin DeSilvey.
A quick guide to brick sizes.
The Union Street development in Southwark was a passion, as well as a business endeavour.
Do our water quality standards demonstrate to the public that their supply is clean?
A third of practitioners do not have easy access to the knowledge they need.
Sustainable approaches to relief, recovery and reconstruction after a natural disaster.
An introduction to a complex issue, the legal status of which remains unclear.