Themed papers: use and misuse of research methods

We are seeking to develop a series of themed papers around research methods and methodological approaches. They will be recognizable by the title beginning with the phrase “Use and misuse of …”.

Such a paper should offer a discussion regarding the strengths and weaknesses, use and misuse, of a particular method and/or technique of research, or methodological approach. These papers should be focused on areas in which a particular method or theory is commonly used inappropriately. Essentially, a U&M paper should:

  • Provide a description of a particular research method, with reference to its antecedents.
  • Engage in a critique of the pros and cons of the method, with reference to supporters and critics; we want to know who speaks for it and who speaks against it.
  • The main focus of these papers will be to explain the kind of question for which this method is most appropriate, and the kind for which it has been inappropriately used in the past. The aim is to enable readers to understand the reasons why the method is appropriate or not.
  • In detailing examples of its successful use, explain what the method yielded relative to other approaches that could have been applied to these problems.
  • The most useful aspect of this kind of paper is where there are common misunderstandings across a series of previously published papers. The author should summarize these issues and characterize the main pitfalls associated with this method.
  • The secondary focus is in explaining how the method can be deployed effectively, especially for the researcher who knows nothing about the method and wants to decide whether to use it or not.
  • As well as understanding what the method is, we would like to put readers in the position of being confident that they understand how to get the best from it.

These papers will typically be Invited Papers, from authors who are known to be well-versed in the particular methodological approach. If you are considering producing such a paper, please get in touch to discuss your ideas with us and to ensure that have not already invited someone else to write on the same topic. A U&M paper will need to meet all of the usual requirements or papers in this journal, as well as the particular requirements for the theme. Such papers may cover more than the requirements outlined here, but if the paper does not cover the way that methods or concepts are used and misused, then it will be categorized and treated as a Research Paper or a Review Paper, as appropriate.

With these papers, we hope to develop a series that can contribute to the development of robust research methods in our field.


About Will

Professor of Construction Management and Economics, University of Reading, UK. Editor-in-Chief, Construction Management and Economics (1992-2016). Programme Director, MSc Construction Management. School Director of Postgraduate Teaching Programmes.
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