The report is, focused on the consideration of aims and objectives for MSc research topics. There are three topics selected in this report such as Post Disaster Waste Management in Construction Industry, Risks or factors affecting success in Design and Build Projects and Risk Management Practices of Road Projects. For each selected topic has an aim which represents something may wish to achieve and then a number of tasks (objectives) to be carried out which relates to that aim.
The report explains about research methodologies and research methods might use to carry out the research and achieve the identified aims and objectives of each topic. And also describe about data collection, analysis and interpretation in relation to the aims and objectives of each topic.
RESEARCH AREA - 1
A disaster is a natural or man-made event that negatively affects life, property, livelihood and industries. Sri Lanka is prone to natural disasters such as floods, landslides and droughts. In December 2004 Sri Lanka was impacted by tsunami of unprecedented magnitude which affected the country very significantly. The generation of solid waste as a result of disasters is a significant problem and management of these wastes is very critical.
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Aim of this study is to identify the post disaster building waste management strategies and issues at regional levels in Sri Lanka.
To review the "Building Waste Management Systems"
Evaluation of disasters occurs during last ten (10) years to identify their behaviours at regional levels.
Explore the building waste management strategies adopted at selected regional levels.
Critically evaluate and identify the issues that arose when implement the post disaster building waste management strategies at regional levels.
To draw conclusion regarding the post disaster building waste management strategies and issues at regional levels in Sri Lanka.
Research design outlines the plan from the research question to conclusion. It deals with the logic scientific inquiry, strategy for testing the hypothesis or in interpretive work to understanding the phenomenon (Tan, 2002).
For this research, a comprehensive literature survey will be carried out on natural disasters, disaster management and post-disaster waste management both in global and Sri Lankan context, through books, journals, reports, newspapers and World Wide Web.
After establish the research problem through literature review, the next step is the case study design. According to Yin (1994), a carefully design case study can increase the generalisability of the study, which is one of the main criticisms over the case study approach. Thus, a special care will be taken to enhance the generalisability when designing the case study. The procedure which will be adopted in designing the case study including the identification of analysis method, defining the number of cases and selection of cases.
The purpose of the case study is to gain in depth understanding about the meaning of the subject being studied, focusing on process rather than outcome, on discovery rather than confirmation. Case selection is an important aspect especially in case study method and it has to be based on the theoretical case selection (Yin, 1994).
Case study on post disaster building waste management in Sri Lanka at regional levels during last ten years will be consider for this research to gain in depth understanding of waste management strategies used and issues aroused at regional levels. Three types of disasters such as flood, landslide and Tsunami will be selected for this research which will be more frequent and critical disasters during last ten years and two regions will be selected from each type of disaster which will be vastly affected among other regions.
Yin (1994) has identified six sources of data collection under case study approaches, namely; documents, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation and physical artefacts. Out of these techniques, interviews will be used as the main data collection tool as, it is the most accessible and affordable method when considering the circumstances which the research has to be carried out.
Generally interviews are three types as structured, semi-structured and unstructured. Structured interviews allow researchers great control over the sample of the respondents while semi-structured interview provides much more scope for the discussion and recording of the respondent's opinion and views (Shajahan, 2004).
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Furthermore the information needed to be collected from organization/individual in this research is mostly qualitative and lengthy; thus it would have been difficult to collect it using standard questionnaire. Therefore, semi-structured interviews will to be the most suitable method of primary data collection for this study.
This mean that the researches has the choices of omitting some question in particular interviews, given the specific organizational context that is encountered in relation to the research topic. Furthermore, additional question may be required to explore the research questions and objectives given the nature of the event within particular organizations (Remenyi and Williams, 2003). Semi-structured interviews have the flexibility to allow the researchers to so such modifications. For this research semi-structured interview will be held with stakeholders who involve in the post disaster building waste management in Sri Lankan regional levels.
Interviewees were selected from the top or middle management as well as field officers in both government and non-government organizations who involved the post disaster building waste management process.
There are several methods to analyse qualitative data such as textual or content analysis, mapping techniques and combine textual & mapping techniques.
Content analysis is a method of analysing written, verbal or visual communication messages (Cole, 1988). It is used to determine the presence of the certain words or concept within text or set of texts. There are basically two approaches to content analysis. One approach is called as word based analysis or quantitative content analysis. It considers the frequency of word usage.
The second approach is analyzing content by coding (qualitative content analysis), which was adopted in this particular research. This approach overcomes, losing the context, which is major drawback in word base method and by finding similar cognitions under same concept.
For this study, code-base content analysis will be very much suited, since the interviews were semi-structured, which had open ended questions also. It breaks sown data into segments with the purpose of organizing data to make them easier to interpret and to identify concept (Catterall and Maclaran, 1996).
RESEARCH AREA - 2
Title of Research: Risks or factors affecting success in D& B Projects
The Design and Build procurement system is one of the systems that advocated overcoming the inadequacy with the traditional procurement method. It is now, regarded by majority of clients because it is offering greater confidence to clients. But nowadays it is going to reduce because there are several factors affecting to the design and build project.
Examine and assess the factors or risks affecting success in Design and Build Projects in the United Arab Emirates and thereby determine to best way to manage to risks.
To review the "Design and Build Procurement System"
Explore the fundamental and Practice of design and build procurement system.
To identify the advantages and disadvantages of Design and Build.
Identify the factors or risks in success of design and build construction contract.
To review the risk management system
Examine factors or risks affect in design and build contract of client's, contractor's and end-user's point of view.
Collect current data from the United Arab Emirates construction industry and analyse the data and conclusion about risk and their management.
Best methodology is an important to do the dissertation research because it gives smooth function to do the clear analyze. The discussion begins with a reason for the choice of overall methodology, followed by the choice of more specific methods.
Research design is the plan for getting from the research question to the conclusion. It deals with the logic if scientific inquiry, a strategy for testing hypothesis or in interpretive work, for the research in order to achieve a successful completion. According to Zhang (2004) Questionnaire survey is an effective, convenient, and economical investigative tool for obtaining data and sampling the opinions of individuals in spatially diverse locations in a relatively short time. Therefore, questionnaire survey and few unstructured interviews will be selected as appropriate techniques to achieve the aims and objectives for the research study.
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The literature review will be carried out mainly using books, journal articles, research papers, dissertations, World Wide Web, newspapers etc. The literature search will be made more specific and more focused on, design and build procurement system and risk & risk management system in the design and build system.
Whilst carrying out the literature review much care will be given to inculcate appropriate breadth and depth; rigor and consistency; clarity and brevity and effective analysis and synthesis. The literature has been evaluated, analysed and interpreted in a manner to protect the above mentioned properties. The synthesis of literature review will give rise to research questions.
The modes of data collection for this research will be through questionnaire survey. There are two types of questionnaire survey available these are;
Multiple choice Questions
Open-ended questions are questions to which there is not one definite answer. Open-ended questions may be a good way to break the ice with a survey, giving respondents an opportunity to answer in their own words. The drawback to open-ended questions is that the responses are more difficult to catalogue and interpret. (Fink, 2003)
Closed-ended questions have a finite set of answers from which the respondent chooses. One of the choices may be "Other." It is a good idea to allow respondents to write in an optional response if they choose "Other." The drawback of closed-ended questions is that they are more difficult to write than open-ended questions. This is because the evaluator must design choices to include all the possible answers a respondent could give for each question. (Fink, 2003)
Multiple Choice Questions
Multiple choice questions allow the respondent to select one answer from possible choices. This type of questions find out more details than closed-ended questions and the results can be compiled more easily than open-ended questions.
In general, the questionnaire design for this research consist open-ended, closed-ended and multiple choice questions. For this research study is trying to acquire a fair and balance response from a variety of professionals with wide ranging experience of the construction industry, and for this reason, questionnaires were considered a more suitable tool for this analyse due to the nature of information.
RESEARCH AREA - 3
Title of Research: Risk Management Practices of Road Projects
Risk Management in construction projects has been recognized as a very important management process in order to achieve the project objectives in terms of time, cost, quality, safety and environmental sustainability. This study explores risk management practices in road projects in UAE with the perspective of a project life cycle.
The aim of this study is to identify and assess the Risk Management practices of road projects in United Arab Emirates with the consideration of project life cycle.
Identify the types of risk variables in road projects conjunction with the different phases of a project life cycle.
Identify and analyse the critical risk factors in each phases of a project life cycle.
Identify the risk response measures used for each risk factor in each stage by contracting parties.
Identify the barriers to risk management practice and the solutions to improve the ability to manage risks.
Develop a risk management framework for managing risk in different phases of a road project.
A comprehensive literature survey will be carried out by referring a range of books, journals, articles, dissertations and World Wide Web to identify and evaluate the various risk factors that associate with construction projects, risk response measures to each risk factor and barriers to risk management. The literature review will be used to identify the definitions related to risk and risk management, types of risks and practical mitigation measures.
Delphi survey will be carried out in order to identify the types of risk variables in conjunction with the different phases of a project, as well as to estimate the levels of significance of each risk factor in the respective project phases, identify the response measures for each risk factor and identify the barriers to risk management. It will be carried out by giving a series of questionnaire with a feedback of previous rounds. The questionnaire will be designed based on the knowledge obtained from literature review, interviews and discussions. In order to analyze the data Relative Importance Index (RII) was adopted for this study.
Kerzner (2001) has stated that Delphi method as expert judgment technique, giving one of the comprehensive surveying techniques used in identifying risk factors. Further Dey (2002) has stated that Delphi method is one of the effective techniques in identification of various risk factors and analysis tool, being used by researchers and practitioners.
"The Delphi technique is a method for the systematic collection and collection of judgments from isolated anonymous respondents on a particular topic, through a set of carefully designed sequential questionnaires interspersed with summarized information and feedback of opinions, derived from earlier responses" (Chapman, 1998).
The Delphi method is a mature and a very adaptable research method used in many research arenas by researchers across the globe. The Delphi method is well suited as a research instrument when there is incomplete knowledge about a problem or phenomenon (Skulmoski et al., 2007).
The Delphi method can be characterized as a method for structuring a group communication process so that the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals as a whole to deal with complex problems. Panel members remain unknown to one another and respond to a series of questionnaires. The iterative nature of the procedure generates new information for panelists in each round, enabling them to modify their assessments and project them beyond their own subjective opinions (Chan et al., 2001).
Fowles (1978) describes the following ten steps for the Delphi method:
Formation of a team to undertake and monitor a Delphi on a given subject.
Selection of one or more panels to participate in the exercise. Customarily, the panelists are experts in the area to be investigated.
Development of the first round Delphi questionnaire
Testing the questionnaire for proper wording (e.g., ambiguities, vagueness)
Transmission of the first questionnaires to the panelists
Analysis of the first round responses
Preparation of the second round questionnaires (and possible testing)
Transmission of the second round questionnaires to the panelists
Analysis of the second round responses (Steps 7 to 9 are reiterated as long as desired or necessary to achieve stability in the results.)
Preparation of a report by the analysis team to present the conclusions of the exercise
Delphi Method Design Considerations
While the Delphi method is flexible and superficially simple, many design considerations needs to take into account in order to successfully use the method. Poorly applied like any other research method, the Delphi can yield suspect results.
The number of rounds again is variable and dependent upon the purpose of the research. Delbecq et al. (1975, in Skulmoski et al. 2007) suggests that a two or three iteration Delphi is sufficient for most research. In this research it was limited to three rounds of Questionnaire Survey. The questionnaires are designed to focus on problems, opportunities, solutions, or forecasts (Skulmoski et al. 2007).
There are three research topics selected in this report and each topic contains aim, objectives, research methodologies, data collection, analysis and interpretation in relation to the aims and objectives of each topic. The first research topic is post disaster waste management in construction industry based on Srilanka. Literature review, case study, semi structured interview and code-base content analysis etc. will be used for achieve this research. The second research topics is risks or factors affecting success in design and build projects based on UAE region. Literature review, questionnaire survey etc. will be used for achieve this research aim. The third and final research topic is risk management practices of road projects base on UAE region. Literature review, Delphi survey (three rounds) etc. will be used for achieve this research aim.
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Chapman, R.J. (1998) The effectiveness of working group risk identification and assessment techniques. International Journal of Project Management, 16 (6), 333-343.
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