The methodology is the foundation of any good research project. It gives the reader a comprehensive overview of the approaches and techniques you chose while conducting your research. Let’s see how to write a methodology as part of your dissertation.
By reading your methodology, anyone should be able to examine the accuracy and credibility of your research.
In the structure of your dissertation, the methodology section generally follows the literature review. You should clearly connect your methodology to the research you are undertaking and the issues you hope to address through your research and evaluation.
Which type of methodology should you choose?
The field you are researching, and your research question will play a big role in determining your methodology. In most cases, you will use either qualitative or quantitative research methods, but some research projects will involve a combination of these two approaches.
Quantitative research methodologies are used when numerical data is being collected as part of the study. This research method is especially effective for categorizing, measuring, and identifying trends in data. Surveys, experiments, and tests can all be used to gather quantitative data.
Qualitative research methodology is concerned with the collection of non-statistical data. It doesn’t involve the use of numerical data to create graphical representations; rather, it requires the classification of information using identifiers. If you’re trying to develop a hypothesis, you will find this qualitative research methodology an appropriate one. Interviews, observations, or focus groups can all be used to gather qualitative data.
Contents of research methodology
The methodology, which many students are required to document as part of their dissertation, acts as a basic outline or blueprint for how you want to conduct your research.
Your approach should reference your literature review and explain why you chose particular data-gathering and evaluation methods for your research. There’s a growing number of platforms and technologies that can help you at this stage, including user-friendly text-mining and research summarisation tools as well as a range of software to help you analyse your results.
If you’re submitting your dissertation as a single document, your methodology should also include any changes you had to make as your research process evolved.
Tips for Writing Your Methodology
A methodology shouldn’t, however, be restricted to explaining the strategies you employed to conduct your research. You’ll also need to explain why you chose to use these approaches and how you put them to use.
The most important thing is to clearly demonstrate that you have conducted your research thoroughly.
Here are five suggestions to keep in mind while you write your dissertation methodology:
- Check Past Dissertations
Request samples of recently published dissertations from your supervisor. Reading through previous students’ methodologies will provide you with a good idea of what your methodology chapter should look like, as well as providing ideas for length and structure.
- Outline Your Structure
Regardless of whether you are taking a quantitative or qualitative approach, the methodology section of your dissertation should be a well-structured, clearly written chapter that makes a compelling, well-supported case for your chosen research methods.
You might want to use headings including: ‘Aims’, ‘Reasons for selected research methods’ and ‘Data analysis techniques’.
After you’ve written your plan, consult with your supervisor to see if there’s anything you’ve omitted from your outline and whether your approach is credible.
Consider Your Audience
Consider your audience or reader when you’re drafting your research methodology. There’s no need to provide a detailed explanation or background knowledge if you have adopted research methods frequently used within your field of study or specialism. When describing new or less common methods, you can provide more context.
Concentrate your efforts on your research questions and goals.
The methodology section of your dissertation should explain why the approach you’ve chosen is appropriate for the objectives of your study.
Be careful to connect your research methods and findings to the goals and overall purpose of your dissertation. Beginning your methodology section with a clear statement about the problem you are attempting to solve can help you stay focused when writing this part of your dissertation.
Don’t forget to include any challenges or problems you faced.
If you ran across any problems or difficulties during the data collection or evaluation stages, use the methodology section to discuss how you dealt with these.