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Research Design in Urban Planning


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Design of Planning Research Chapter 2: Post-Positivism and Planning Research Chapter 3: Policy Issues and Research Questions Chapter 4: A Justification For Your Research Question Chapter 5: Descriptive Questions: scope, claims, and sampling Chapter 6: Explanatory Questions: starting points, claims and sampling Chapter 7: Methods of Data Generation in Research Chapter 8: Data Analysis Chapter 9: Ethics of Research Chapter 10: Cross-National Comparative Research in Urban Planning Chapter 11: Conclusion

About the Author

Stuart Farthing was Principal Lecturer in the Department of Planning & Architecture, at UWE, Bristol and spent most of his working life in Bristol though he had an international reputation, having been a Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Melbourne, Curtin and Murdoch in Australia, the University of Tours in France and University of Hannover in Germany. He was also a member of the Conseil Scientifique of the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme 'Villes et Territoires' at the University of Tours. His research interests in recent years have included understanding how planning affects the nature of housing development but also how national housing policies shape changes in planning policy; investigating the changing role of small towns in rural regeneration; and analysing policy-oriented learning in the context of European spatial planning. Stuart has supervised hundreds of dissertations in planning over the years, supervised many PhD students and he played a leading role in the training and supervision of social science doctoral students at UWE Bristol, developing and running the cross-disciplinary Masters in Applied Social Research.


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.

Although aimed primarily at planning students, the text is equally relevant to those undertaking similar tasks on other social science and built environment programmes. -- Chris Couch

This book should rapidly find its way onto lists of essential readings for research methods and dissertation modules in undergraduate and postgraduate planning coursework programs. Pitched perfectly at its target audience, logically structured and clearly written, this is 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

Stuart Farthing's new book 'Research Design in Urban Planning' can be highly recommended. It explores key questions and issues in research and design, and probes applicable approaches in the field of urban planning in particular.

A key strength is that it combines thoughtful, insightful treatment of theoretical perspectives, with a very practical approach to supporting students or early career researchers in the area of research and project design.

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

Because planning researchers work in the knotty spaces between practice, policy, and the academy, their research needs to meet several different standards of quality simultaneously. Farthing has produced a comprehensive handbook that will teach students to do just that -- to identify questions of intellectual and policy significance, generate original data, and establish the evidentiary basis for the factual claims they make. Farthing addresses head-on the issue of ethics, which arises often when scholars are as close to the topics and constituencies they study as planners are.

-- Rachel Weber

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