A constructivist approach for teaching research methodology in construction management

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Construction Management (CM) is an acknowledged field of expertise and profession that requires students to research real world problems. To prepare the students for this task, many CM programs contain a Research Methodology (RM) course. However, after taking part in these courses, many students still lack the ability to define the scope of their research problem and find an appropriate research design. In order to counteract this situation, a constructivist approach to teach RM was developed. A role-play is the central element of this approach in which the students take on the role of “problem-owners” and “researchers.” The teaching approach was embedded in RM courses at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (South Africa). In both cases the lecturers noticed that the students became more aware of the complexity and vagueness of construction management problems. They were better able to define the research problems and communicate the relevance of the problem at hand. The approach further helps to put RM in a more realistic and pragmatic perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of construction education and research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-74780
  • Education
  • Research Methodology
  • METIS-265136
  • role-play
  • Constructivism


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