During the past decades, construction and demolition (C&D) waste issues have received increasing attention from both practitioners and researchers around the world. A plethora of research relating to C&D waste management (WM) has been published in scholarly journals. However, a comprehensive understanding of the C&D WM research is somehow absent in spite of its proliferation. The aim of this paper is to develop a framework that helps readers understand the C&D WM research as archived in selected journals. Papers under the topic of C&D WM are retrieved based on a set of rigorous procedures. The information of these papers is then analyzed with the assistance of the Qualitative Social Research (QSR) software package NVivo. A framework for understanding C&D WM research is created based on the analytic results. By following the framework, a bibliometric analysis of research in C&D WM is presented, followed by an in-depth literature analysis. It is found that C&D generation, reduction, and recycling are the three major topics in the discipline of C&D WM. Future research is recommended to (a) investigate C&D waste issues in wider scopes including design, maintenance and demolition, (b) develop a unified measurement for waste generation so that WM performance can be compared across various economies, and (c) enhance effectiveness of WM approaches (e.g. waste charging scheme) based on new WM concepts (e.g. Extended Producer Responsibility). In addition to the above research findings, the approach for producing the research framework can be useful references for other studies which attempt to understand the research of a given discipline.