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

Gary D. Holt*, Jack S. Goulding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: 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. Design/methodology/approach: Derivation of critical narrative and graphical models using literature synthesis combined with experiential, methodological views of the authors. Findings: 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. Originality/value: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-304
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date20 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2017


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