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The “ological-triad”: considerations for construction management research

Gary D. Holt (Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, Saveetha University, Chennai, India)
Jack S. Goulding (School of Engineering, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




This paper aims to consider an “-ological” (ontological, epistemological and methodological) triad in the context of construction management (CM) research, and to explore the triad in terms of ontological/epistemological viewpoints, paradigmatic approaches to CM research and, ultimately, CM methodological decisions.


Derivation of critical narrative and graphical models using literature synthesis combined with experiential, methodological views of the authors.


Conceptions of ontology, epistemology and methodology (the “ological-triad”) demonstrate high variability – resultantly, their use in CM research is equally inconsistent, sometimes questionable and, in the extreme, sometimes overlooked. Accordingly, this study concludes that greater recognition of the “ological-triad” is called for in CM research, especially at the design stage. A framework for doing this is proffered.


Combined study of the “ologies” within CM research uniquely consolidates previous disparate knowledge into a single, cogent, subject-specific discourse that, inter-alia, both informs and illuminates CM research challenges. It also encourages critical debate on the issues highlighted.



Holt, G.D. and Goulding, J.S. (2017), "The “ological-triad”: considerations for construction management research", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 15 No. 03, pp. 286-304.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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