Chapter 1 identified theprimary research questions to be answered in the study.
The first objective isto identify the factors that contribute to the sources of complexity foundwithin each dimension and discuss the issues associated with the management ofthose factors. As noted in Chapter 2, the literature review is conducted inorder to answer this question and serves as the basis for the beginning of theresearch methodology. The subsequent research questions adhere to the followingprotocol.The first step in definingthe type of methodology used to conduct the research is to identify the overallstructure of the research needs and objectives. The second part of the researchquestions is to determine how to score complex projects based on each dimensionand provide a process for allocating resources for effective managementpractices.
Based on this objective, a three step approach is used as outlinedby Creswell’s Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and MixedMethod’s Approaches. This reference displays multiple research options foreach step of defining the overall research process and the applicableapproaches and methods are shown in Figure. Figure 3.1 – ResearchApproach and Methodology (interpreted from Creswell 2003) Out of the four optionsavailable for the first step in the research process, the pragmatic approach isthe best alternative for this research. The purpose of the research is to applythe results to determine multiple solutions that are based on current issueswith the management of complex projects. In order to satisfy this objective,the research is conducted using real-world practice orienteddata from construction and academic professionals leading to the implementationof pragmatic knowledge claims as shown in Figure 3.1.
The second step in designingthe overall research approach is to determine the most suitable strategy forthe research. Since the point of the study is to encompass complexitythroughout all phases of a project, qualitative case studies are needed tocomprehensively determine all aspects contributing to the management ofcomplexity in transportation projects. Based on the case studies providingbackground information, questionnaires involving both qualitative andquantitative data are used that gather information during the same interviewsession leading to the use of a concurrent mixed method strategy for this stepof the research as illustrated in Figure 3.
1.The last step in identifyingthe research approach is to combine the previous steps into a comprehensiveapproach. Using the pragmatic approach, background case studies that compileboth textual and numerical information, the mixed method approach is theappropriate methodology for conducting this type of research as displayed inFigure 3.1.Based on the overall researchprocess, a protocol has been developed for conducting the research on complextransportation projects as shown in Figure 3.2.
As mentioned earlier, the firststep in the research methodology is to conduct a literature review in order toestablish the factors and issues within each dimension that contribute to themanagement of complexity. This portion of the research is presented in theprevious sections, but is discussed here as a starting point for the process ofthe research.In order to compare andevaluate the dimensions against each other, numerical scoring is deemed themost appropriate strategy.
Figure 3.2 – Research Protocol The understanding of thecomplexity for the dimension and can ultimately assign a numerical score forthe specific dimension. The numerical scoring found at the end of eachdimension uses a numerical scale with seven number options with equal incrementationbased on the premise of no more than seven number choices, plus or minus two,for capacity of processing information. The scale is set on a line so that theparticipant is allowed to select a number that is in between the defined scale.
The scale does differ from traditional scales in that zero is not an option dueto the assumption that no project would have zero complexity for any of thefive dimensions. The case study informationrepresents the other part of the mixed-method strategy as displayed in theoverall research progression shown in Figure 3.1.
Once the case studies areselected and background research has been found, the interview process becomesthe next step as shown in Figure 3.2. The bulk of the information is gatheredduring this stage, making it crucial that the interview is structured andcomprehensive. Interviews are used for this research because of the geographicdistances from the participants. They are also used in lieu of merely sendingthe questionnaire to the interviewee and asking for the participant to fill inthe applicable information. The last step in the researchprotocol is data verification. All of the information gathered needs to beaccurate.
As mentioned during the creation of the questionnaire, this is conductedusing two different methods. The first is the use of the summary section. Thissection allows the researcher to transfer the scores from each dimension andassists in examining all of the dimensions together. It also assists inverifying that the provided scoring accurately reflects the intent of theparticipant.