“This excellent book fills a significant gap in the literature supporting planning education by providing clear, succinct advice on the design and implementation of small-scale student research projects.” – Chris Couch, Professor of Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool “A perfect text for supervisors to give students so that they plan their research projects carefully rather than leap headlong into data collection.” – Jean Hillier, Emeritus Professor of Sustainability and Urban Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne “Highly recommended... Ranging across topics such as planning a research programme and data management and the handling of ethical issues, the book will be very helpful to those embarking on a thesis or dissertation in the field.” – Peter Fidler, President of the University of Sunderland Research Design in Urban Planning is a short, accessible, and clearly written text on how to design research for a dissertation planning project. Aimed at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, this text will:  • discuss research design, looking in detail at how researchers make their choices of methods  • examine these in reference to case studies/examples from the planning research literature  • explain to students how to interpret policy to define researchable questions  • review the issues comparatively  • situate the methodological questions in terms of research ethics. Packed with case studies, exercises, illustrations and summaries, Research Design in Urban Planning is an invaluable resource for students undertaking their first substantial, individual investigations.

The Design of Planning Research

The Design of Planning Research

Key questions

What is research design?

Why is there an interest in research design? And why bother with it?

How many types of research designs are there? How does research design differ from questions about research strategies and methodologies?

What is well-designed research?

Key concepts

Research design, strategy, methodology


The starting point for this book, as explained in the Preface, is that when undertaking research for a dissertation it is essential to spend time planning how the research will be conducted – that is, working on a research design – in advance of implementing those decisions. Time spent on research design will have a significant potential payoff in terms of the quality of your final written dissertation or thesis. This chapter addresses ...

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