Developing a methodology is perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming part of conducting research. A methodology provides insight into the broad philosophical perspectives behind the methods you choose to employ in your study. It is important to state clearly whether you will collect data qualitatively, quantitatively, or using both.
In order to justify your preferred method, you will be required to provide justifications. A dissertation methodology article can help you figure out how to write or structure it. The methods section of your paper is an opportunity for you to explain how and why you conducted your research. Your research must also be replicateable and rigorously conducted.
Research methodologies provide the following benefits:
It is important to know the typical contents of methodology chapters when learning how to write one. In most cases, it provides a guideline for how to approach your research and should explain why this approach was chosen to collect data and analyze it.
Dissertations must explain the choices made during the research process, regardless of the topic or subject area. Among the contents of methodology are the research design, the philosophical approach, the techniques for data collection, the limitations, ethical issues, and the methods to analyze the data.
Most university libraries have books describing the most common analysis methods, which you can find in their collections. When you read them, you can determine which philosophy or technique is appropriate for your research. Your study's limitations will be clarified, and how to overcome them will be explained.
To put it simply, the following sections should be included in your methodology:
Method of conducting your research
Data collection and analysis
Materials or tools you used during your research
The reasons behind your choice of methods
In the methodology chapter, it is important to note that it will differ according to the field of research (for example, engineering vs. chemistry) and the university. If possible, review past dissertations and theses from your institution for clarity and, if necessary, check the guidelines provided by your institution. Our objective here is to provide a generic framework for a methodology chapter commonly seen in the sciences, especially in social sciences (e.g., psychology).
A rough outline is always a good idea before you start writing, so you know where you are going. Make sure you know where your writing will go before you begin. A disjointed, poorly flowing narrative is likely to result if you do so. Therefore, you will have to spend a lot of time rewriting.
The methodology chapter should have a brief introduction, just like all other chapters in your dissertation or thesis. In this introduction, you should remind your readers what your study aims to achieve, especially its focus. The research aims, objectives, and questions should inform your research design, as we have discussed numerous times on this blog. In this way, your design and methodology will be more clearly understood by the reader (and you! ).
This section also discusses the chapter's structure. Readers can follow along with this and get a sense of what is to come.
You should share full details about your data collection methods once you have introduced your methodological approach.
The quantitative research methods described in your study must be sufficiently detailed for another researcher to replicate them.
Your operationalization and measurement methods should be outlined here. In addition to your sampling method or inclusion/exclusion criteria, describe how you gathered your data and what tools, procedures, and materials you used.
Qualitative research involves more subjective and flexible methods. Because of this, it's essential to explain your methodology choices clearly.
You will need to describe the research process (e.g., were you an active participant or a passive observer? ), the criteria you used to select your data, and the context in which the research took place.
The qualitative and quantitative approaches are combined in mixed methods research. Mixed methods are an excellent option if a standalone quantitative or qualitative study does not address your research question adequately.
Keep in mind that data collection is only one part of mixed-methods research. Instead, it involves carefully considering and integrating both types of data into robust and solid conclusions.
Due to the difficulty of executing mixed methods successfully, they are less common than standalone analyses. It is especially important to robustly justify your methods if you decide to pursue mixed methods.
The last major design choice is how you will analyze the data. What will you do with the data once you have collected it? Leave no room for interpretation in your analysis methods and/or techniques. Each choice you make in this chapter must also be justified.
It will depend on what kind of study you are conducting (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) and exactly what you discuss here. Thematic, content, and discourse analysis are common qualitative study methods. Descriptive statistics are the most commonly used statistical techniques for quantitative studies, and inferential statistics (like correlations and regressions) are often used as well.
This section should also discuss how your data was prepared for analysis and what software you used. In the case of quantitative data, removing duplicates or incomplete responses will often be necessary as part of the initial preparation process. Make sure you explain both your actions and your reasoning.
You must clearly explain why you chose the methods you did in your methodology section. If you did not approach your topic in a standard manner, describe how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding to your objectives and why other methods were inappropriate.
No matter what, your reader should be easily convinced that you designed your methodology to be successful. Leave a discussion section after your methods to explain the results' meaning, significance, and relevance to your research.
These are the common research methodology types:
A scientific study's methodology section must emphasize rigor and reproducibility. The reader must be able to see that your methods are robust, without obvious flaws in their design or execution. A successful study requires not only the details of your equipment, lab setup, and procedure so that another researcher can replicate it but also the ability to factor in potential distorted variables (such as false positives) and make plans for how to handle them.
The statistical models you will use to analyze your data should also be described and justified in your methodology. Any section of your methodology may be used as a starting point for another scholar's work; they may follow your experiments but choose a different analysis methodology or vice versa!
Methodologies used in social and behavioral sciences must demonstrate rigor and reproducibility so that another researcher may reproduce your study in part or whole. There are, however, several additional questions to address when working with human subjects.
You should first decide what kind of analysis you will conduct: Is it qualitative, quantitative, or a mix that uses qualitative data to complement quantitative data (or vice versa)? Are you going to record interviews, ask your subjects to fill out written questionnaires, or observe them as they perform some activity? Do you rely on documentary evidence or pre-existing data instead of conducting research with human subjects? What are the results and conclusions of your research? Can you generalize it to other cultures or locations, or is it highly specific to your research location?
Your reader must also be satisfied that you have considered all ethical issues associated with your research and answered all these questions. In addition to getting the appropriate ethical approvals, it is important to recognize that some readers may find certain aspects of your study problematic or contentious. For example, you may ask subjects to recall episodes of grief and trauma. Whenever possible, address concerns head-on and emphasize the potential value of your conclusions by justifying your methods.
Art and humanities are just as valuable as sciences and social sciences regarding methodological rigor. A humanities or art dissertation somewhat differs in how it conveys rigor - and makes the audience believe it. Literature reviews are much more closely related to methodology sections in arts or humanities dissertations than in scientific or social sciences dissertations; even the most outstanding arts or humanities dissertations often combine X's and Y's theories to produce new theoretical frameworks.
A literature review and analysis can move more or less seamlessly from one another in an arts or humanities dissertation, so it can be tempting to skip over the methodology section. A critical reader may only take your entire approach into consideration if you justify your selected frameworks and their relationship to the research question you are analyzing here.
Particularly where there is a fundamental disagreement between theorists, it is crucial that the methodology of your dissertation demonstrates an appreciation of cultural and historical contexts. You should justify why you have decided to incorporate aspects of each school of thought into your work if you intend to use the work of theorists from opposite schools of thought to support your readings.
Many arts programs allow students to complete a creative rather than critical dissertation; rather than submitting an extended critical project, a portfolio of artwork can be submitted. Creative projects generally accompany critical essays (introductions or commentary) that theorize the practice.
Developing a rigorous methodology is particularly important in this context because critically engaging with your work is notoriously difficult. In addition to demonstrating an ability to detach yourself from your work and view it objectively, you must also demonstrate that you can look at your creative practice as a methodology - to create work grounded in theory and research and measured against clear outcomes.
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