Best research methods dissertation

To evaluate which type of methodology will be most appropriate, you will work closely with your Dissertation Chair. However, as you are reading the literature, take a look at past studies that focus on your topic, or a similar topic. What kind of research methodology do you see being used most often? Once you have an idea about the general methodology type that would suit your research, consult with your Dissertation Chair on the possibility of using that methodology.

The following techniques outline how to locate information about research methodology from reference books, scholarly articles and dissertations.

It includes over , pages of content from the following sources: encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, journal articles, videos, and major works--resources that bring together the seminal articles about that particular methodology. Make sure to select Method from the drop-down field. Your search results page includes a brief definition of the method searched, followed by the rest of your search results. After you have located background information about your research design, you may want to locate scholarly journal articles on your research topic that use a particular type of methodology.

How to Write a Methodology for a Dissertation?

By looking at research articles that use a particular methodology you can learn a lot about your field. The methodology or methods section explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of the research. It should include:. The methodology section should generally be written in the past tense. Table of contents Explain your methodological approach Describe your methods of data collection Describe your methods of analysis Evaluate and justify your methodological choices Tips for writing a strong methodology.

Begin by introducing your overall approach to the research. What research problem or question did you investigate, and what kind of data did you need to answer it? Depending on your discipline and approach, you might also begin with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In a quantitative experimental study, you might aim to produce generalizable knowledge about the causes of a phenomenon. Valid research requires a carefully designed study with a representative sample and controlled variables that can be replicated by other researchers.

As this methodology is less controlled and more interpretive, you will need to reflect on your position as researcher, taking into account how your participation and perception might have influenced the results. Once you have introduced your overall methodological approach, you should give full details of the methods you used to conduct the research.

Outline the tools, procedures and materials you used to gather data, and the criteria you used to select participants or sources. Surveys Describe where, when and how the survey was conducted. You might want to include the full questionnaire as an appendix so that your reader can see exactly what data was collected. Experiments Give full details of the tools, techniques and procedures you used to conduct the experiment. In experimental research, it is especially important to give enough detail for another researcher to reproduce your results. Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected material such as publications or archival data for inclusion in your analysis.

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions that the respondents had to answer with a 7-point Likert scale. The aim was to conduct the survey with customers of Company X on the company premises in The Hague from July between and A customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from Company X on the day of questioning.

Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously, and customers responded. Because not all surveys were fully completed, survey results were included in the analysis. Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when and how the interviews were conducted. Participant observation Describe where, when and how you conducted the observation. Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials such as texts or images for the focus of your analysis.

Choosing appropriate research methodologies

In order to gain a better insight into the possibilities for improvement of the product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers from the main target group of Company X. A returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from Company X. The surveys were used to select participants who belonged to the target group years old.


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Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register, and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed. See an example. Next, you should indicate how you processed and analyzed the data. In quantitative research, your analysis will be based on numbers. In the methods section you might include:. Before analysis the gathered data was prepared. The dataset was checked for missing data and outliers. The data was then analyzed using statistical software SPSS.

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images and observations.

Why is it so hard to write the methodology section of a PhD thesis? | DoctoralWriting SIG

Methods might include:. The interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis was conducted. This involved coding all the data before identifying and reviewing six key themes. Your methodology should make the case for why you chose these particular methods, especially if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. Discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

What is dissertation chapter 3 about?

The best postgraduate dissertations are those that convince at every level — that are based on a rigorous engagement with the field, that develop reproducible frameworks for engaging with that field, and that supply high-quality and convincing results and conclusions. But the methodology is the central point around which the dissertation — and its potential impact to the field — pivots. When developing and presenting your dissertation methodology, you should therefore think not just about how well it can answer your particular question, but also about how transferable it is — whether it can be used by other scholars to answer related questions, or whether it can be made more adaptable with just a few tweaks without compromising your own use of it, of course.

And when presenting your dissertation, don't forget to emphasise the value of the methodological framework you develop, if it is indeed adaptable to other related contexts.


  1. Example Dissertation Methodologies.
  2. Why is it so hard to write the methodology section of a PhD thesis?.
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  5. You're underselling your research if you suggest its only value lies in its conclusions, when the approach it takes to your data or source material in arriving at those conclusions is potentially of equal if not greater value. Your dissertation methodology, as we've now discussed in some detail, is the engine that drives your dissertation, and as such it needs to be grounded, theoretically rigorous, and, where possible, sufficiently adaptable to be used in other contexts to answer different research questions within your field.

    However, in focusing on all this it's easy to forget that all dissertations — even the seemingly driest, most scientific of them — are fundamentally pieces of persuasive writing: their primary purpose is to convince readers of the quality of your research, the validity of your methods, and the merit of your conclusions.

    A crucial but often neglected component of this persuasive function is the role of rhetoric in persuading your audience of the merits of your work. This kind of commentary allows you to control the agenda for discussion of your work, and to head off potential objections to your arguments and methods at the pass.

    Definition

    Sound rhetorical presentation of your methodology is not just "decoration" — it forms an integral part of its overall rigour and structural soundness, and can make the difference between a and a First, or between a merit and a Distinction. Here are some of the ways in which you can use metacommentary to shape your audience's response to your methodology. The roads not taken It's very likely that the approach you've taken to your research question is one of many approaches you could have taken — and in your literature review you probably engaged with or read about lots of approaches that, for one reason or another, you decided not to take.

    Your methodology chapter is not the place to go into detail about these methodologies hopefully your literature review does this , but you should remind your reader that you actively considered these other methodologies before deciding on your own. Even if you decided on your methodology early on in your research process, it should appear rhetorically as the result of a careful weighing of competing factors, before you decided on the most logical choice.

    A little reassurance goes a long way Judicious use of metacommentary can also help to make up for any shortcomings in your methodology section, or simply create a sense of balance between scholarly groundedness and innovation if your methodology might seem to veer a little too much in one direction or another.

    If your methodology takes a bold new step that some may find off-putting, you can acknowledge this whilst taking extra care to emphasise its grounded relationship to established work in the field. You might, for instance, ensure that you refer back to your literature review frequently and use phrases like, "This approach may seem like a significant departure from established approaches to this field, but it combines the proven data-gathering techniques of X with the statistical analysis model of Y, along with the following innovations". Signposting Flagging what each section of an argument is doing is vital throughout the dissertation, but nowhere more so than in the methodology section.

    You can significantly strengthen the justification you provide for your dissertation methodology by referring back to your literature review and reminding your reader of conclusions you've drawn — and if you're feeling really confident you can gently hint to your readers that they agreed with you, using a formulation like, "As we have seen, method X is extremely useful for approaching questions related to Y, but less applicable to problem Z". You should be careful with this approach, of course — claiming you've proved something when this transparently isn't the case isn't going to bring your readers onside — but if your argumentation is already strong, rhetorical techniques like this can help underline the structural coherence of your work.

    Defining your own terms If you don't define your own measures for success and failure, readers can infer from the overall structure of your argument the terms on which it was trying to succeed, and judge it accordingly. On the other hand, defining your own set of success criteria and help within reason helps to ensure that your readers evaluate your work on these terms.

    Again, your dissertation methodology is a critical space in which to establish these criteria: "This research does not make any claims about human social behaviour while consuming alcohol beyond the current context of X. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation. Writing your dissertation methodology. What is a methodology? What should my methodology look like? A recap of your research question s. A description of your design or method. The background and rationale for your design choice. An evaluation of your choice of method, and a statement of its limitations.

    An extensive review of methodologies. Very long, detailed lists of equipment or excessive procedural detail. Could you use a little help with your dissertation methodology? You've come to the right place. We can match you with an academic who's an expert in your field of study, and who can work with you every step of the way. They can even help you with your whole dissertation — you decide how little or how much assistance you need.

    Find out more. How to write a dissertation proposal. Top 10 tips for writing your dissertation literature review.