Identifying the gaps in project success research: A mixed bibliographic and bibliometric analysis

Qinghua He, Ting Wang, Albert P.C. Chan, Hanzhang Li, Yangxue Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature on project success in academic journals, specifically within the context of construction engineering and management (CEM). It also aims to provide a holistic picture of existing research and to identify research implications in this specific area. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is an extensive literature review of a total of 164 peer-reviewed journal papers between 2007 and 2017, using a mixed bibliographic and bibliometric method that considers annual circulation, institutional and regional contributions, author contributions, citations, categories of research methods and keywords networking. Findings: There has been an increasing research interest in CEM project success. The largest number of published studies targets the developed regions, especially in Hong Kong, whereas the papers related to the developing economies remain weak. Questionnaire, interview and case study have comprised the main data collection methods, and descriptive data analysis was performed in most of the case/field studies. The subtopic related to the critical success factors (CSFs) is considered as the most popular in the keywords network in the targeted research area. Four implications, namely, megaproject success, project success in developing countries, relationships between CSFs and success outcomes, and the influence of human factors are highlighted in future research. Originality/value: This paper departs from earlier research by using a mixed bibliographic and bibliometric method, especially facilitating to analyze and illustrate the interlinkages between keywords effectively. Additionally, it provides a clear picture of the existing literature on CEM project success, which contributes to insights for successful construction project management. Finally, the holistic analysis identifies gaps in the body of knowledge, revealing avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1573
Number of pages21
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2019


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Construction
  • Construction projects
  • Management
  • Project management
  • Project success

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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