Methodology for Dissertation
Ten Great Tips for Writing a Methodology Chapter for a Dissertation
- Recap on the research question or problem: Typically, a methodology chapter follows on from the literature review chapter. Therefore, in order to clarify everything and regain focus, it helps to briefly recall, redefine and explain your dissertation’s main question or problem.
- Describe your approach: Outline the approach you adopted when undertaking any primary research. This will put your methodologies into context and provide guidance for your readers. If you describe all the methods you used – e.g., sampling, justification, rationale, and so on – you will be signaling clearly to your readers that you completely understand the value of using the most appropriate and thorough methods.
- Can your research or results be reproduced? Being able to reproduce experimentation results is the sign of a good scientific research methodology. Additionally, reproducibility is indicative of usefulness and credibility in humanities subjects. Describe your methods in detail so that anyone who opposes your stance would be able to recreate the same tests, experiments and results if they so wished.
Does your work have any precedence? Think about whether your method or methods are typical of any projects, you could compare them with in your specific field of study. Literature reviews will undoubtedly uncover a certain number of comparable efforts. Adopting some of these methods can make your approach seem more authoritative.
- Reasons and justifications. It is very important that you are able to give good reasons for choosing the methods used in your research work. Justification is especially important if you have used non-standard or novel methodologies. Any approach that differs significantly from accepted methods needs to be vigorously justified.
- Your rationale for choosing a particular method: Regardless of what research type you have embarked on, there is nearly always several available approaches or methodologies. You should critically assess any other possible approaches in your rationale to defend the methods you eventually chose. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives, and include your choice in this evaluation.
- How valid and reliable are your method(s): That the research methods used are valid and reliable needs to be discussed in detail because this is a very important consideration. This covers a lot of issues such as precision, accuracy, error sources, and the significance of statistical data.
- What sampling techniques were used? The question of the techniques used in sampling and the size of samples could be discussed along with the issue of how valid and reliable the methods used are, but these are often sufficiently important to merit special consideration. How sample size impacts the significance of statistical analysis and results is an area of such magnitude that you should keep this in mind when planning and writing your methodology section.
- Inclusion of appendices: You methodology section should remain focused and should be written in a lucid manner, which can be achieved by appending any material that is not directly relevant to the end of your paper. Questionnaires and similar methodology-related materials should be included in appendices.
- Accounting for generalization: Add a section to your methodology chapter to address how much of the data you obtained can be classed as “general.” Keep this in mind as well when discussing your methods since any findings of a general nature over and above directly relevant data can have a bearing on your final results.