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Browne, M (2007) Towards a thematic approach to research within a taught postgraduate programme in construction and project management: a Northern Ireland context. In: Boyd, D (Ed.), Proceedings 23rd Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September 2007, Belfast, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 1, 285–92.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Northern Ireland; organisational performance improvement; research theme
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-0-7
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2007-0285-0292_Browne.pdf
  • Abstract:
    The recent changes within Northern Ireland, the improved political climate, the drivers on the public sector and the response from the construction industry, have led to the need to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of postgraduate research in Northern Ireland. Our response to these pressures is detailed including a discussion on the introduction of an overarching research theme coupled with the use of an international best practice framework. The taught postgraduate programme in Construction & Project Management at the University of Ulster, a full and part time programme, has been at the forefront of local work-based construction management research since 1988. The research and dissertation component of the course represents one third of the credits required for successful attainment of the Master’s qualification. Whilst the MSc course committee is prepared to accommodate student choice in terms of topic selection, increasingly urgent and important topics are emerging from the dynamic of political stability, unprecedented economic growth and the need for the construction industry to play its part in the prosperity of Northern Ireland ‘PLC’. A theme that pervades a significant amount of research work has been the need to improve organisational performance to deliver both ‘efficiency gains’ and project based ‘whole life value’ for Northern Ireland’s society. The organisations themselves are both in the public and private sectors, either in the role of construction client and /or as providers within the supply chain. Using the ‘Excellence’ concept as a best practice framework, a number of studies have been conducted into the delivery of high levels of performance across the following research areas: public sector departments or private firms as a whole, programmes, procurement and, of course, projects in particular. Some examples of research projects are given and the benefits of taking a thematic approach are discussed.