“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.

Explanatory Questions: Starting Points, Claims and Sampling

Explanatory Questions: Starting Points, Claims and Sampling

Explanatory Questions: Starting Points, Claims and Sampling

Key questions

What are the starting points for answering a ‘why’ question?

What are the different ways that you can explain why something happened? What criticisms are made of causal analysis in planning?

How can you establish the existence of a causal relationship? What wider claims can you make about this on the basis on your research?

How can you select the cases for study?

What are case studies?

Key concepts

Causal explanation, Understanding, Meanings, Theoretical generalisation, Principle of induction, Falsification, Association, Internal validity, External validity, Judgement or purposive sampling, Critical case sampling, Maximum variation sampling, Theoretical sampling, Thick description, Case studies


The previous chapter examined the scoping of research questions, and the issues involved in sampling cases to ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles