How to Correctly Write a Dissertation Methodology

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Updated Oct 06, 2021
How to Correctly Write a Dissertation Methodology

The methodology is an essential part of the research, but let's define what a dissertation is. It is a qualifying scientific work written and defended by an author for an academic or scientific degree. In a young scientist's career, the dissertation is the leading work determining the beginning of his scientific path.

Usually, a section describing the research methodology in a dissertation is included in introducing the work and the abstract. The student's work is enough to designate the research methods' names, briefly justifying each approach's application.

To correctly formulate research methods, it is necessary to determine the purpose and objectives of scientific work. Typically, the following phrase patterns are used when writing a methodology section:

  • Let's list the research methods ...
  • The methods used in our study ...
  • The following methods were used for the research ...

We also recommend that you consult with your supervisor if you are unsure that you have described all the necessary methods.

What Does Dissertation Methodology Mean?

Above, we gave the dissertation definition; now, let's find out what the methodology section is. Officially, the dissertation research methodology is a general system of scientific knowledge methods that the author uses to achieve the goal set at the beginning of the work.

We can say that this is an instrumental basis, based on which the student develops the research problem and provides the solution to the main issues. The selection of suitable methods is carried out at the stage of preparing the dissertation plan. In subsequent work, the methodological basis introduces the author's abstract and the dissertation project itself.

The dissertation methodology arises as a result of the comprehension of scientific and cognitive activity. It is designed to answer the question of the correct methods of scientific research to prove the truth. It is of interest primarily to science itself. This is perhaps the most challenging part of scientific work.

Common Types of Methodology For Dissertation

In any science, a particular set of techniques and research methods can distinguish. Along with this, you can indicate research methods that are common for a whole group of scientific disciplines. Finally, there are universal methods of cognition.

For the correct classification of methods, it is necessary to accurately determine the basis of their division, i.e., the attribute they compare. The methods used in scientific research depend not only on the subject but also on the research level. There are types of dissertation methodology are relieved:

  • methodology for scientific study;
  • methodology for behavioral or social sciences dissertation;
  • methodology for humanities project;
  • methodology for a dissertation in creative arts.

Methodology For Scientific Study

The dissertation methodology you use for a scientific study must be written accurately, without mistakes, and applied in real life. If you make inaccuracies in this section's description, and the reader does not understand what needs to be done in work, your document will not be taken seriously. Accordingly, you must ensure that the described research methodology is effective.

When writing information about the research methodology, it is necessary to describe the equipment, substances, and techniques accurately. In the future, a scientist, when working with a scientific or lab-based study, can repeat your actions. Data that can sometimes go beyond the methodology's scope should be described in additional information so that the reader does not perceive the text ambiguously. Choose a strategy that the researcher needs to understand, distinguish between which variables are worth working with and which may not match yours.

If you use statistical models, they must be grounded, that is, write in detail what you wanted to convey with them. The methodology you described will be a starting point for another researcher; try to choose better-known methods and not raise questions. Also, do not forget to point out that if you used one method and connected it with statistical data, the results may differ; you should not dwell on them, so the main thing is the process itself.

Methodology For Behavioral And Social Sciences

The dissertation methodology for a behavioral or social sciences dissertation is based on the same principles described above. The method you choose to carry out this work must show the reader the reproducibility, stability, and accuracy. Other scientists can apply it in practice, if not even all, then at least partially. The researcher determined which parts of the method should be used, so they should be described in as much detail as possible, without missing details.

But some questions will undoubtedly arise during work. Therefore, before starting work, you need to determine whether your method will be based on qualitative data, quantitative data, and mixed data.

Methodology For Humanities Dissertation Paper

For humanities and art dissertations, the law that the dissertation methodology section must be detailed and clearly described is unchangeable. However, convincing the reader that you have done adequate research is more challenging in these sciences.

No matter how interesting you describe the research method, it must be backed up by authoritative sources. What does it mean? The document's methodology for humanities and art dissertation should include a literature review.

It may show you that writing such a section is not difficult for the humanities and art sciences and is not worth describing in detail. And then you make a big mistake - you forget about the structure, that is, you go from the literature review directly to the analysis.

We want to tell you that you need to describe everything. Why? Because the reader should not doubt the validity of your assumptions. Your all assumptions have to back up with facts since science's data causes many controversies, and all research is carefully studied.

Therefore, ensure that all the information you provide is accurate, consistent with the results, and there is no discrepancy. This is necessary so that a reader with opposing views on the topic could not object to your judgments.

Methodology For Creative Arts Dissertation

Sometimes an art researcher is allowed to create creative projects or portfolios. That is, the structure, as in the dissertation, is different.

In practice, this means that there is no such section called methodology, but you still need to describe which method was used to develop the project. The data will be placed in background information, where there is evidence for your innovative ideas.

If you think it is easy to evaluate your work and describe how you did it, you are wrong because you need to analyze the work and describe it in scientific words thoroughly. Therefore, when using the method, try to write down the proсess works into a small thesis; it will be easier for you to transfer it to paper.

The reader expects to see a detailed description of the method of carrying out the work and the ability to evaluate your work. This is necessary so that there is no claim that you have not theoretically substantiated the course of work.

Methodology Section Structuring Rules

The methodology is a system of principles and methods of organizing and constructing theoretical and practical activities. The methodology also includes an analysis of the explanatory principles used in science, links with other sciences, a critical assessment of the results obtained, a general assessment of the level and prospects for the development of this science, and several other issues. Therefore, this section has its structure:

  • Structure, design, the strategy used in the document;
  • Which approach to the topic was used, it can be both philosophical and practical. That is, you were based on someone else's data made before you or conducted the experiment yourself;
  • The methods that were used to calculate the received data, as well as how the information was collected;
  • Ethical truthfulness, reliability, practical application.

How To Justify The Choice Of The Method In The Dissertation

The dissertation methodology section should be written in the form of an answer to a question. Since the document is often read-only if there is information that has not yet been studied by anyone. Therefore, before starting work, it is necessary to find out the problems and questions that will be studied by you so that you can contribute to science. For example, you got the opportunity to study a little-known topic, describe the characteristics of something or the relationship between sciences, which at first glance may be different. There are many ideas; it is only essential to correctly draw up the thesis proposal and prove or disprove it during the work.

When you decide on the purpose of work, you need to answer the following questions:

  1. What methods and strategies are required to get the desired result?
  2. When analyzing data, which method should be used - qualitative or quantitative?
  3. When experimenting, did you get the data from reputable scientists, or were you basing yourself on your own?
  4. Was the research used a method of observation, experiment, interview, questionnaire, or some other method (describe it)?

Let's look at an example dissertation methodology:

"The research methods are aimed at a narrow subject area, but sufficient to fulfill the article's stated purpose. The report provides a comparative analysis of specialized schools' work for gifted children in the United States. This analysis is a formulated study concentration. "

How To Describe Data Collection Ways

To collect scientific data for research, students apply the following methods: written survey, personal interview, observation, experiment. Please note that each of them has its purpose, and it is worth carefully studying the method before making a choice. Therefore, it is worth considering the type of research, the topic, and the science you are writing the document. Check out the list of methods and their characteristics in more detail:

Questionnaires

  • Small costs exclude the influence of the interviewer.
  • Low response rate, the influence of outsiders, misinterpretation of questions.

Personal interview

  • Interviewing the participants in the experiment.
  • Telephone, standardized.
  • Investigation of unperceivable circumstances, information complexity.
  • Interviewer influence, high costs.

Observation

  • Perception of the behavior of an object without affecting the object of observation itself.
  • Laboratory, with the participation of the observer and without him.
  • Objectivity, accuracy.
  • Many facts are unobservable, and costs are high.

Experiments

  • Studies of the influence of factors on variables while simultaneously controlling extraneous factors.
  • Laboratory.
  • Possibility of separate observation of the influence of factors.
  • Ambiguity in interpreting the experimental results, inconsistency with the real situation, and significant time and money.

Secondary research

  • Processing available data.
  • Printed and electronic information.
  • Low costs, speed of implementation.
  • Incomplete and outdated data.

We examined quantitative research methods, but there are also qualitative ones, let's find out their characteristics:

  • a focus group is a method used in conducting qualitative research, which is based on a particular form of an in-depth interview conducted in a group. During the focus group, participants freely exchange views;
  • in-depth interviews help to get to the bottom of confidential information that is unlikely to be obtained by asking direct questions. An in-depth interview will help to find out not only how the user feels about something but also help to understand his motivation, why he is interested in it;
  • observation is a purposeful, organized, and perception of the object. An object or phenomena are observed in the conditions under which they exist or function in real life.

Quantitative Methods

This type of research is characterized by the fact that the collected data are usually expressed in numbers and graphs to confirm theories and assumptions. The data collected is factual information on the topic. Let's take a look at an example of quantitative research methods:

"The study used the method of statistical analysis. This analysis of the data obtained showed a difference between the French and American respondents in the perception of intercultural competence and the distribution's specifics. The analysis confirmed a close relationship between the level of intercultural competence and work efficiency multicultural team. The quantitative research method made it possible to obtain numerical data, which brought us closer to the conclusions' objectivity, a high level of reliability, and accuracy. "

Qualitative Methods

Using a qualitative method, researchers strive for an accurate description and interpretation of the phenomena occurring in a particular experiment. Qualitative research methods are mainly used to identify problems and generate hypotheses. They can also be used as a preliminary to quantitative research to determine the leading indicators.

Due to the small size of the surveyed respondents, qualitative research results can not be generalized to the expert. However, they can be beneficial for studying a particular issue, evaluating various programs. Also, in contrast to quantitative ones, qualitative methods allow identifying people's internal motives and impulses. Let's study an example:

"When studying the deep motives of a smoker's behavior, pictures depict different situations: waiting in a hospital, at a bus stop, meetings. By classifying pictures, the interviewee tells in what situation the main character wants to smoke and why. Such a study allows you to identify such motives as a concern, impatience, and restrain ability. The smoker himself does not always recognize such motives; he will probably refer to other reasons. The qualitative analysis allowed us to describe in more detail the role of smoking in human life."

How To Describe Methods Of Analysis

Data are human perceived facts, events, messages, measured characteristics, recorded signals. The data is obtained from measurements.These symbols can be alphabetic or numeric.

Data analysis is a collection of methods and extraction tools from organized data information for decision making. Data analysis aims to extract information that is not easy to interpret, but it will help research if understood. Such studies, in turn, will provide an opportunity to understand the systems responsible for creating data and, in the future, make predictions about the operation of systems and their development.

Many people in different professions use data analysis. In this regard, quantitative and qualitative data analysis can be divided. Let's take a closer look at how these methods work and how they should be applied in research.

Quantitative Methods

Everything is pretty simple here because quantitative data analysis is also based on numbers, and this rule remains unchanged. So when you see the word "quantitative," it means that you need to do numerical calculations. In this section, you can describe the following information:

  • How did you prepare the received data for verification? For example, we checked the sequence of the received information, removed unnecessary elements, re-transformed variables.
  • What software did you work with during data analysis? It could be SPSS, Stata, R.
  • What tests did you work with when analyzing the data? For example, you used a t-test, linear regression, etc. depending on the study.

Let's look at an example of a quantitative method:

"Before the analysis, all the data were prepared. The resulting dataset checks for the absence of data and outliers. During the check, the method of marking out emissions use. Numbers that were outside the calculated range were considered outliers. After the check, the data was sent for analysis, and software Stata uses it."

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative data analysis, in turn, is based on the description of something. Information that you can describe in qualitative data analysis:

  • Content analysis, that is, you represent and study the words, phrases used in the text.
  • Thematic analysis is a method for studying data, comparing and revealing general laws, theorems, factors, patterns, themes.
  • Discourse analysis that is you need to learn communication.

Let's consider an example of qualitative methods:

"An interview method was conducted to collect the data, and a thematic analysis compiles. In analyzing the information, the data were encoded before the comparison was made on key topics. The data were categorized to understand the participants' perception of the information in the experiment."

How To Correctly Evaluate And Describe Methodological Choice

The thesis's main task is to make a reasonable choice of the method and determine the main directions of further experiments. Choosing the wrong method can lead to the need to re-do the work. Critical criteria for selecting a research method are the effectiveness, reliability of the method, simplicity, clarity, and availability. An excellent example of the justification for choosing a method:

"When conducting marketing research, a research method, such as a personal survey, will be used. According to the research objectives, this research method was chosen to determine the demand for cosmetics, supply, and identify existing preferences when choosing cosmetic products. This method will help quickly, and it is easy to collect a large amount of descriptive information.

This method also provides anonymity, significantly increasing the answers' truthfulness and, accordingly, the results' quality. The method gives the level of cooperation with the respondent - up to 80% and higher. The implementation of this method is relatively cheap. Therefore, it provides savings in financial resources. The time required for performance takes several days.

Data analysis and comparison is easy enough, which means there is no need to involve specialists. This method covers many people and can provide a lot of data, which will provide more accurate and useful research. "

Design Materials and Equipment For Research

The materials help to make practical calculations and determine the necessary substances for the provision of experiments. Thus, in the presence of the "Materials" section, the investigator's credibility will increase and guarantee the experiment's reliability. For research in various laboratories, special equipment and reagents are used:

  • microscopes and other optical instruments;
  • measuring equipment for multiple purposes (mass spectrometers, devices for electrochemical measurements);
  • chromatographs (used to separate mixtures of substances and study their physical and chemical properties).

Please describe in detail what equipment you used, what stages of work, and what results they gave you.

Recommendations For Writing a Dissertation Methodology From Top Experts

Remember one crucial detail. When describing the "Methodology" section, your goal is to show why you applied the methods you have guided, demonstrate them in practice, and only then tell them. This will prove that you took the research seriously and that the findings are scientifically accurate. Below are some tips; keep them in mind as you write this section.

Look Examples of Methodology In The Dissertation

We advise you to contact your teacher before starting work and ask for examples of dissertations, and there you will find answers to questions that concern you. Namely, if you do not know what the dissertation methodology section consists of, then in the example, it has already been drawn up by all the requirements. Based on the information, you can follow the same writing principle; if you want to add other details, refine the teacher to avoid trouble.

Formulate The Structure

Whichever method you choose to work with, it must be properly structured. It is forbidden to write in a continuous paragraph; you need to divide the text into sections and give arguments in favor of the chosen method. Use the following paragraph titles:

  • goals and objectives of the study;
  • method of work;
  • explanation of the chosen method;
  • analysis of the data obtained.

Yet, do not rush. After the plan has been drawn, approve it with the teacher to check which sections are missing or whether the structure has been created correctly.

Rate Your Audience Of Readers

Make sure the chosen methodology is in the interests of the reader. Suppose you are writing a dissertation for a specific society. In that case, you should not go into details and describe in detail background information, since most likely it is already known to readers. Provided that you have chosen a little-known method, it is worth telling all the details.

Describe The Objectives Of The Study

Indeed you formulated the goals of the document before work. Accordingly, the methods must meet the objectives. Therefore, make sure that you have chosen the correct method, which describes the experiment's tasks. To understand whether the chosen method meets the goals, ask a question; if you can answer it using the chosen method, then you have made the right choice.

An Example Of What Methodology Looks Like

The study has its purpose, and it is for the student to justify the choice of research method. It is also necessary to describe how the chosen method functions when applied in the experiment and how it affects the results. Then you need to indicate the systematic information, qualitatively, quantitative characteristics. We will give an example of how it is worth providing a selection of research method:

"Information theory studies quantitative patterns associated with the receipt, processing, transmission, storage of information. These patterns also apply to an information product as an object containing information. The estimate of the amount of data is based on probability theory laws. This means that information has value only when the user learns from it about a random nature; that is, the event's result is unknown in advance. "

Factors That Make a Great Methodology

Whatever you write in a dissertation, you can create an excellent dissertation methodology only if you have an object, subject, goal, task, hypothesis, means, and method. To make a good impression with readers, you can take the hierarchy of methods and place a listing of the text's methods. We move from the general to the particular, going through all the stages of research.

Those who find it challenging to choose methods can be advised the same simple scheme - to find a useful classification of methods, choose suitable methods for themselves and describe them in the required sequence. In this sense, the same method will not be repeatedly used about different things; there will be no mistake in the method; there will be plenty to choose from.

Use well-known scientific methods, applying which other authors can repeat your scientific result. Be critical in your wording so you don't accidentally come up with a new way.

Common Mistakes

We will point out a few mistakes that you do not need to make in your work:

  • An overview of methods that have already been described by someone. When writing work, you probably think it is essential to indicate the method's details, what it consists of, or to give a definition; this is considered a mistake. Scientists have already defined different methods, so it is better to indicate them using a link or quote; it will be appropriate not to repeat the data.
  • Unnecessary details in the text that distract the reader's attention. You don't have to describe every little detail when running an experiment. You have described the work stages before this part, so there is no need to repeat yourself, only essential information that you have not yet written.
  • Avoid describing raw data. If you decide to specify the data collection process, you should not emphasize that you still could not explain some of them. Just indicate this detail in the reference.
Angelina Grin
Creative Writer and Blog Editor

Despite my relatively young age, I am a professional writer with more than 14 years of experience. I studied journalism at the university, worked for media and digital agencies, and organized several events for ed-tech companies. Yet for the last 6 years, I've worked mainly in marketing. Here, at Studybay, my objective is to make sure all our texts are clear, informative, and engaging.