• Quantitative vs. qualitative methodologies to investigate environmental control in the workplace: neutral thermal sensation and thermal environmental intention

      Shahzad, Sally; Brennan, John; Theodossopoulos, Dimitris; University of Edinburgh (2013)
      This study compares the application of qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate user comfort and environmental control in the workplace. This is examined by environmental measurement and user satisfaction in two workplaces with respectively low and high levels of individual environmental control. An open plan office in Scotland is selected with automatic displacement ventilation, where users have access to limited windows. In contrast, a cellular plan office in Norway is chosen that provides every user with control over a window, in addition to the ability to adjust heating and cooling. Complimentary quantitative and qualitative methodologies are applied with particular emphasis on Grounded Theory methods. Questionnaire, environmental measurements and semi-structured interviews are used. A new visual recording method is applied to analyse the subject in its context qualitatively. Information regarding all users and their environment is applied as colour codes to floor plate layouts. The results are compared with the quantitative analysis. The study examines the significance of applying a qualitative method to question the ‘Neutral Thermal Sensation’ and expand on the importance of the ‘Thermal Environmental Intention’. This paper suggests that the quantitative appraisal could be associated with a risk of misjudgement.