Challenges to and opportunities for establishing a qualitative approach to Built Environment research in higher education institutions

Nnedinma Umeokafor, Abimbola Windapo
2018 Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology  
Purpose -There are serious implications for adopting inappropriate research strategies and methods, and this is evident in the Built Environment (BE) given the under adoption of qualitative strategies in some countries. Therefore, based on empirical evidence from Nigeria, the purpose of this study is to examine the challenges to and opportunities for establishing qualitative approach (QA) to BE research in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and develop an improvement framework for QA.
more » ... ethodology/approach -Academics and research students in the BE research of Nigerian HEIs were interviewed and the data analysed thematically. Based on the findings including recommendations from the respondents, a framework for improving the use of QA in BE research was developed and academics evaluated it for workability. Findings - The study reveals that the challenges to QA in BE research include information constraints, socio-cultural issues and the negative attitudes of senior academics to QA. The opportunities include the realisation for a paradigm shift, the characteristics of the socio-cultural context and features of BE and the general potentials of QA. The proposed framework encompasses encouraging and providing a platform for international collaboration between academics in developing and developed countries, and preferential treatment for QA. It also enables regulatory and incentive mechanisms which will act as drivers. Practical implications -This study provides stakeholders in academia with knowledge and a detailed guideline for establishing QA to research in the BE. Originality/value -The study provides a country context-based detailed guide for establishing QA in HEIs BE research towards ensuring that research strategies adopted in research in BE research are fit for purpose, in turn aligned to addressing problems in the society. There is little or no study of this nature in BE.
doi:10.1108/jedt-06-2017-0057 fatcat:huswb35tkffgvpswdcnmzjh4jm