- A critical reflection on the experimental method for planning research: Testing the added value of PSS in a controlled environment
- Planning Practice + Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 30 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
For planning research to successfully generate usable mechanisms for planning practitioners more hypothesis-testing research designs are needed. Currently, the academic field seems more geared toward generating hypotheses, either by observing practice or from theoretical studies. This approach is especially common in research that generates knowledge of planning. In this paper, I map several relevant research designs that allow for such hypothesis testing and discuss their usability in planning research. Then, I particularly focus on the experimental method as a promising design for generating contextualized mechanisms for planning practice. I describe and analyze a study that aimed to develop mechanisms about the added value of knowledge technologies for the quality of planning. Two consecutive experiments are described in detail, after which the usability of the experimental method for planning research is discussed. Reflecting on these experiments indicate that the main strength of this research design is that it allows to create ideal circumstances for falsification (which is virtually impossible in planning practices. The main weakness is the ecological validity of findings, especially when the research is executed with students.
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