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Construction Research Fundamentals Course to Support Graduate Student Built Environment Thesis and Dissertation Research and Writing

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Construction 4: Construction Education Curriculum and Assessment

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Mark Shaurette Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Mark Shaurette has a MS in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in Technology from Purdue University. He is currently an associate professor at Purdue University, was a 2012 Fulbright Scholar in Ireland, and has work experience that includes 30+ years of senior construction management practice as well as work as a research engineer for the National Association of Home Builders Research Foundation. He is active in research, education, and community outreach in the areas of building retrofit for energy conservation, sustainable construction practices, management of the demolition process, material reuse and recycling, as well as instructional design in technology education.

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Construction Management (CM) programs are increasingly awarding graduate degrees. Many of these university programs require some combination of standardized classroom teaching and independent research as part of the graduate level plan of study. Unlike traditional engineering degrees which test theory from a quantitative or positivist position, CM programs often relate to issues that are more difficult to measure using strictly quantifiable metrics. Because the managerial issues faced by CM graduates deal with human interaction and behavior, research in the built environment often resembles social science research to a greater degree than traditional scientific research. As graduate programs in CM expand, students need opportunities to gain experience with a range of research methodologies that are available to complete valid research on construction management issues. Previous research indicated that educators active in graduate education for the built environment support the idea that student should experience and learn about the general overarching fundamentals of research applicable to a diversity of challenges in the built environment (Scott and Shaurette, 2012). Small programs can rely on the individual mentorship of students or opportunities to serve as research assistants, but as student populations grow, a more formalized approach is needed to support education in a variety of research methodologies as graduate students complete their thesis or dissertation obligations. This paper describes the experience of a CM program at a large Midwest research university during the first four years of a course in ‘Construction Research Fundamentals’ created to support student thesis and dissertation research and writing across such a variety technical, managerial, and social research on the creation or operation of the built environment. This case material will be useful for others wishing to increase the understanding of fundamentals of research appropriate for graduate research in construction related programs.

Scott, L. and Shaurette, M. (2012). Toward an Understanding of Research Fundamentals to Support Graduate Education in the Built Environment. "CIB International Conference on Management of Construction: Research to Practice:. Montreal, Canada. 12 pages, 294-306.

Shaurette, M. (2017, June), Construction Research Fundamentals Course to Support Graduate Student Built Environment Thesis and Dissertation Research and Writing Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28071

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