Trending topics and themes in offsite construction(OSC) research: The application of topic modelling

Guiwen Liu (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)
Juma Hamisi Nzige (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)
Kaijian Li (Department of Construction Management and Real Estate, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Publication date: 7 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to discover the distribution and trends of existing Offsite construction (OSC) literature with an intention to highlight research niches and propose the future outline.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopted literature reviews methodology involving 1,057 relevant documents published in 2008-2017 from 15 journals. The selected documents were empirically analyzed through a topic-modeling technique. A latent Dirichlet allocation model was applied to each document to infer 50 key topics. A machine learning for language toolkit was used to get topic posterior word distribution and word composition.

Findings

This is an exploratory study, which identifies the distribution of topics and themes; the trend of topics and themes; journal distribution trends; and comparative topic, themes and journal distribution trend. The distribution and trends show an increase in researcher’s interest and the journal’s priority on OSC research. Nevertheless, OSC existing literature is faced with; under-researched topics such as building information modeling, smart construction and marketing. The under-researched themes include organizational management, supply chain and context. The authors also found an overload of similar information in prefabrication and concrete topics. Furthermore, the innovative methods and constraints themes were found to be overloaded with similar information.

Research limitations/implications

The naming of the themes was based on our own interpretation; hence, the research results may lack generalizability. Therefore, a comparative study using different data processing is proposed. The study also provides future research outline as follows: studying OSC topics from dynamic evolution perspective and identifying the new emerging topics; searching for effective strategies to enhance OSC research; identifying the contribution of countries, affiliation and funding agency; and studying the impact of these themes to the adoption of OSC.

Practical implications

This study is of values to the scholars, as it could stimulate research to under-researched areas.

Originality/value

This paper justifies a need to have a broad understanding of the nature and structure of existing OSC literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2017M620416) and the National Key Research and Development Program (Grant No. 2016YFC0701807).

Citation

Liu, G., Nzige, J.H. and Li, K. (2019), "Trending topics and themes in offsite construction(OSC) research: The application of topic modelling", Construction Innovation, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 343-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/CI-03-2018-0013

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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