Understanding the user in low energy housing: a comparison of positivist and phenomenological approaches

AMBROSE, Aimee, GOODCHILD, Barry and O'FLAHERTY, Fin (2017). Understanding the user in low energy housing: a comparison of positivist and phenomenological approaches. Energy Research & Social Science, 34, 163-171.

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Link to published version:: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.06.035

Abstract

This paper, based on UK practice, sets out a series of examples of previous studies of low energy housing and housing modernisation which illustrate the main approaches to studying housing and energy issues. The four approaches exemplified are technical assessments, building oriented research, people oriented research and in-depth qualitative studies, each of which sit at different points along a spectrum running from positivism to phenomenology, with the former two examples sitting further towards the positivist end and the latter two further towards phenomenology. Through an assessment of examples of each approach, we explore the argument that qualitative and discursive research methodologies have a useful role to play, complementing more quantitative approaches in the field of domestic energy. The paper supports this view, underlines the importance of triangulation and recognises the continuing relevance of studies of building performance. It goes further, however, by questioning which of these approaches should take priority. It is concluded that open-ended qualitative research, exemplified by phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions, are better equipped to investigate the home, as experienced and, in doing so, to identify the range of factors that influence domestic energy consumption.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.06.035
Depositing User: Sarah Ward
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 12:38
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 19:08
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15996

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