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Positioning cost overrun research in the philosophical debate: a case for critical realism.

Amadi, A.; Omotayo, T.


A. Amadi

T. Omotayo


C. Pathirage

U. Kulatunga

Y. Ji

R.N. Gameson

C.E. Udeaja

C. Trillo

M. Takhtravanchi

B. Allali


Construction management research, as a form of social research is confronted with the fundamental paradigmic dilemma of determining a core philosophical orientation, to be considered adequate and best suited to enquiry about construction phenomena. The underpinning argument being that, the differences in world views, will yield marked differences in the type of knowledge generated. An empirical profiling of cost overrun research reveals the predominance of mono-method studies based on questionnaire survey methods, correlative analysis and archival data modelling techniques, all of which are underlain by positivism. Such positivist philosophies, although methodologically valid, cannot adequately explain and provide in-depth understanding of the contextual drivers in construction organisations that trigger the more tangible technical constructs leading to the phenomena of cost growth in projects. Joining in the chorus call for methodological pluralism in construction industry research, this study makes a case for critical realism specifically in the context of cost overrun research.


AMADI, A. and OMOTAYO, T. 2017. Positioning cost overrun research in the philosophical debate: a case for critical realism. In Pathirage, C., Kulatunga, U., Ji, Y., Gameson, R.N., Udeaja, C.E., Trillo, C., Takhtravanchi, M. and Allali, B. (eds.) Proceedings of the 13th International postgraduate research conference, 14-15 September 2017, Salford, UK. Salford: University of Salford [online], paper number ID 005, pages 308-316. Available from:

Conference Name 13th International postgraduate research conference
Conference Location Salford, UK
Start Date Sep 14, 2017
End Date Sep 15, 2017
Acceptance Date Mar 17, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 14, 2017
Publication Date Sep 15, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 9, 2017
Publisher University of Salford
Article Number ID 005
Pages 308-316
Keywords Cost overrun; Critical realism; Methods; Research philosophy
Public URL
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