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Azhar, S, Ahmad, I and Sein, M K (2010) Action Research as a Proactive Research Method for Construction Engineering and Management. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 136(01), 87–98.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: Research; Information management; Organizations; Decision support systems; Databases; Construction management; Information management; Organizations; Decision support systems; Databases; Classification description; Organizational issues; Information techn
- ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000081
Academic research in applied disciplines such as construction engineering and management (CEM) has the dual mission of simultaneously contributing to the solution of practical problems and creating theoretical and conceptual knowledge. To do so, appropriate research approaches are needed. However, extant literature in the field has paid little attention to this issue and research methods used have been almost entirely either quantitative surveys or case studies. In this paper, action research (AR) is proposed as an answer to this knowledge gap. AR aims at building and testing theory within the context of solving an immediate practical problem in a real setting. The paper describes the underlying philosophy and application procedure of AR and highlights its strengths and weaknesses. Then, the applicability of the method to CEM is illustrated through a case study of improving access to information to support planning and decision making in a construction owner organization through designing and implementing a data warehouse. The findings indicate that AR is a reliable, structured, and rigorous research approach that is very useful for conducting applied research in construction and enabling academia to influence and improve construction industry practices. It can also effectively help to improve collaboration between academic researchers and industry practitioners in research and development projects.