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What is Dissertation Methodology?

04 Jul 2017

The methodology is distinguished as a main and crucial chapter of academic thesis or dissertation. It is often confused with methods, but they are not the same. The methodology deals with the profound philosophical background of your dissertation or thesis is based on usage of quantitative and qualitative methods or a combination of both.

This section should provide information about data collection or gathering and its analysis on the scientific level. 

Purpose of methodology chapter

The main aim of this section in your academic paper is to set out exactly what you’re planning to undertake to research. The methodology should be directly related to selected literature to describe and explain methods you’re using. The academic basis of your research is also a necessary constituent in this section. 

Research methods

Social sciences distinguish two main groups of research methods. Those are:

  • Empirical and analytical group
  • Interpretative group

Let’s consider them in detail.

The empirical and analytical methods address basic knowledge and so-called closed questions (can be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’). Based on deductive reasoning, this group of methods approaches theory questions early formulated hypotheses. Here, explanation takes its place describing operational definitions.

The interpretative group of methods deal with the decomposing phenomenon and considering it as a whole. That interpretative way of data presentation focuses on subjective knowledge involving human subjects, concerning reasons and purposes why individuals do what they do.

Methodology structure

A skillfully composed methodology includes different sub-sections. They deal with particular issues and address certain problems. 

  • Introduction part where overall approach chosen to investigate research questions is stated. Here you denote methods used in your study (qualitative, quantitative).
  • Next step will be indicating a connection between methods used and the problem of your research. It is necessary for methods to address issues directly. 
  • Certain ways of data gathering should be described next. Those can be interviews, questionnaires, surveys or any forms of research. While taking existing data to analysis, it is essential to note its origin or source of information. 
  • Received during research results should be analyzed. Here you have to explain what strategies you’ve used and describe your way of informational patterns dissection.
  • You should keep in mind that there can be readers, who are unfamiliar with given by your information. In that case, you have to note scientific underpinning and a rationale for methodologies. Sometimes research issues and problems for investigating need more rationale to be apprehensible to objective knowledge mind. 
  • Rationalization of sampling process should also be included in your methodology section. Whether you intend to conduct questionnaire or interview, you should explain your way of selecting sample size of respondents. When there are statistics used, reasons of its usage have to be denoted. The same with all the other data sources: purpose of addressing them should be clear and concise for readers.
  • Validity is one the important criterion in your methodological chapter, which shows the effectivity of the employing methods to approach the research question. It can be of an internal and external type. While internal validity uses pilot testing of instruments to make changes to obtained results, external – deals with results of the research deciding if they can form and reflect similar consequences in other fields of study. 
  • Variables can’t be prevented or avoided in every methodology part. As every dissertation has problems that a writer can anticipate, they have to be faced openly. The risk of variables usage should be justified.

Further revisions

After all the constituents of your methodology are being written, revision of all the parts and sections is another step to take. Elements and components should be stated and noted easily. Don’t forget about system and structure.

The preparation before gathering data, detailed description of research procedures, a protocol for information analyzing – all those processes are to be systematized chronologically. Information should also be divided into sections to take it clear. Lists and diagrams can also be helpful devices to separate data and make it easier to apprehend. 

Conclusions 

Though good methodology section research contains a terrific part of work, it can’t be imagined without logical conclusions ending it. This section will steal lots of your time, but it is worth it. Conclusions prove the significance of your study and obtained results usefulness.

They can be designed in the form of a catalog or any other desired form, which will make them look clearly and neatly for the readers. It is also important to choose the most crucial results of your research and present them in the list starting with the most significant and moving down to the least. 

Summary

The summary is frequently being confused with conclusions. But they aren’t exchangeable parts of your dissertation paper. Summary doesn't conclude data and obtained results. On the contrary, summary reviews all the information and literature used, not touching the results.

Summary is a brief retelling of your methodology. It should be short but informative: your scientific research goal and the importance of chosen problems have to be stated; the purpose of using different methods are to be noted; the main idea of your master's dissertation or thesis have to be mentioned. 

Those were advice which is going to help you to write a profound and successful methodology chapter. But remember the main rule: choose a problem that is interesting to you. That way, writing a methodology will be an amazing experience, not a tedious one. 

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