- What Does Dissertation Methodology Mean?
- Why Do Students Have Difficulty Writing a Methodology Section of Their Thesis?
- Key Elements of Thesis Methodology
- Expert Advice on Creating a Methodology Section
Before we get down to exploring the methodology, let's examine what a thesis is. It is advisable to remember this term. A thesis is a voluminous multicomponent work that serves to achieve the cherished goal of people who have devoted themselves to science and research. The status of a doctor of sciences is not easy to give. This is preceded by years of preparation, large-scale development of theory, effective practice, and a Ph.D. degree award. In such work, special attention should be paid to the thesis methodology.
As the foundation of scientific research, cognition is complex and requires a conceptual approach based on a specific methodology. The concept of the methodology section is complex and is explained in different ways in numerous literature sources. However, the following types of methodology are distinguished:
- Philosophical or fundamental - a system of dialectical methods that are the most general and operate throughout scientific knowledge.
- General scientific research is based on available scientific research principles: historical, logical, systemic, modeling, etc.
- Partially scientific - a set of specific methods of each particular science, which are the basis for solving a research problem.
Now that you are familiar with the thesis definition and general information about the thesis methodology, we can move on to the next stages.
What Does Dissertation Methodology Mean?
A dissertation methodology is the science of thinking rules when creating a document, conducting scientific research. The methodology is a system of principles and techniques, operations, and forms of building scientific knowledge. The development of a research problem arises in connection with the need for science to understand its nature, principles, and methods underlying the understanding of reality and its reproduction in thinking.
The methodology performs the following functions:
- determines the methods of obtaining scientific knowledge reflecting the dynamics of processes and phenomena;
- provides a specific way through which the research goal can be achieved;
- provides comprehensiveness of getting information about the process or the studied phenomenon;
- helps to introduce new information;
- provides clarification, enrichment, systematization of terms and concepts in science;
- creates a scientific data system, which is based on objective phenomena, and a logical-analytical tool of scientific knowledge.
Why Do Students Have Difficulty Writing a Methodology Section of Their Thesis?
It would seem that all students understand what methodology is, and they know how to write a thesis. That is, in their works, they talk about the methodological foundations of their research. But in many areas of science, the student is quite often shown surprisingly little or ignorance of science in general and methodology in particular. And there are reasons for this:
- Firstly, methodology in general for a long time was considered only as teaching about methods of activity. This understanding had its historical basis: in the conditions of class society, division of labor into mental and physical labor, a relatively small group of people set the goals of the activity, and the rest of the working people had to fulfill these goals, realize them. This is how the psychological scheme of action, classical for that time, developed: goal - motive - method - result. Hence the narrow understanding of the methodology.
- Secondly, there is traditionally the idea that methodology is almost entirely related to science. Up to the point that until recently, when this word sounded, it was understood that we are talking about the methodology of science - mathematics, chemistry, etc. But scientific activity is only one of the specific types of human activity, along with art, religion, and philosophy.
This makes it easy for a student to get confused. Teachers give few instructions, and students cannot find a useful guide for writing the given section. But thanks to our instructions, you will succeed.
Main Types of Thesis Methodology
Above we wrote about the types of methodology, but we would like you to know more about them:
- The philosophical or fundamental methodology is a system of dialectical methods that are the most general and operate throughout scientific knowledge.
- General science is used in the overwhelming majority of sciences and is based on scientific research principles: historical, logical, systemic, modeling, etc. Modern researchers in scientific research prefer the system-activity approach, that is, the study of the complex interaction of essential components: need, subject; an object; processes; conditions; result. This ensures that integrity, complexity, structure, relationship with the external environment, purposefulness, create conditions for a comprehensive study of any sphere of human activity.
- Partially scientific - a set of specific methods, which are the basis for solving a research problem. This methodology determines the general strategy of the principles of cognition of phenomena, processes, and spheres of activity. It reveals the essence of scientific activity and its relationship with other spheres. That is, it examines science about practice, society, and human culture. It also solves the problems of improving, optimizing scientific activities, and relying on her worldview and general methodological guidelines.
Key Elements of Thesis Methodology
To create a given section, you must follow the structure. We have described all the essential elements below. Please follow the simple instructions, and you won't have any difficulties with the methodology.
Table of Contents
Many students think this section is not so important and that the main thing is to master the central part or conclusion. But if you correctly write and arrange the table of contents, it will be easier for the supervisor and the reviewer to navigate it, which will play a vital role in the assessment. How does this relate to methodology? Quite simply, when the reader looks at the content, they see the methodology section. It plays an essential role in the thesis, and if there is such a section, it will be read first. After all, everyone is interested in what methods you used to get results.
All the requirements for the content of the thesis have a strict sequence:
- the content should contain questions that fully reveal the topic and reflect the work plan in a concentrated way;
- the content should provide for a consistent, logical, interrelated disclosure of the results of the study;
- questions are not allowed, the answers to which to some extent or entirely contain in the past or subsequent paragraphs of the work;
- you cannot introduce questions detailing a more general problem without first entering into the content of the provided general question;
- the content should be written in continuous sentences, not in the form of interrogative ones.
Describe the Selected Methodological Approach
Start the methodology section with an overview of the research approach. Your task is to tell about what problem or question you studied. For example, you can characterize theorems or research by other scientists. You can also raise questions that have been little studied, establish the causes and consequences of their appearance. Then answer what data you used to achieve your goals.
To give answers to these questions, it is necessary first of all to deal with the following points:
- In your work, did you use quantitative data based on numbers or qualitative data expressed in words?
- In your work, did you use primary data that you collected during the experiment or secondary data that are publicly available since another scientist wrote about them?
- In your work, did you use experimental data that you obtained through your actions or descriptive data that you obtained through interviewing other people?
Only when you know what data and information were applied can you answer the following questions. That is, you can tell about the approach that you used in your work. Sample questions look like this:
- Why is the chosen method best suited to achieve the goals and results?
- Is the chosen methodology standard or invented for you and requires an explanation?
- Did you use philosophical, historical, ethical convictions when writing the paper?
- Are your results reliable? Can they be applied in practice?
Tell Us About Methods of Analysis
Now you can describe how you analyzed the data. There are two methods, qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative method is focus groups, in-depth interviews, home visits, accompanied shopping. The quantitative method is a personal interview, telephone survey, street polls, hall tests.
The main difference between quantitative and qualitative methods is that many respondents are studied in the first case. In contrast, in qualitative studies, the sample size does not matter. In the quantitative method, collecting information is strictly formalized, and no deviations are allowed. Interviewers have a pre-developed questionnaire in which all questions should be asked in a precisely defined sequence. During the survey, it is not allowed to reformulate the questions in your own words or add any explanations from yourself if given in the instructions.
In qualitative methods, everything is entirely different: as a rule, the researcher has an individual guide/script of the conversation, adjusted depending on the information received. The sequence of questions may also vary according to the situation.
As for the analysis and presentation of data, here, too, everything is significantly different. A quantitative research report presents graphs, charts, tables, and statistical methods to analyze the data. You will see not percentages and numerical values in a quality report but a semantic analysis of people's opinions.
Prove That Methodological Choices Will Produce Excellent Results
Your methodology section should provide evidence that the chosen methods are excellent for the investigation. Evidence is especially needed for those topics that are little studied. You can use citations from reputable sources, proving that only the methodology you choose is suitable for your research. Thanks to it, you will get excellent results and gain new knowledge.
Of course, there may be weaknesses in the chosen methodology. A researcher with experience will notice this. Therefore, your task is to beat the critics. Try to find compelling rationales and strengths for your chosen methodology. Thus, you will reduce the method's disadvantages, and the reader's eyes will be riveted only on the positive sides. Let's consider an example:
Lab-based experiments cannot provide accurate data or optimize real situations, but this method can determine the causal relationships between variables. Therefore, no other method can provide this information.
Expert Advice on Creating a Methodology Section
The methodology section aims to tell about the selected research methods and reveal all the advantages. There is a difficult task to demonstrate that you use the right methods, understand them well, and practice. The main thing is that you must prove that you have done thorough research, only thanks to the methods chosen. Although the chosen method can be challenging to understand, try to describe it in simple terms, as an inexperienced researcher can get confused in your actions. Thanks to this approach, it will be easy for the reader to understand and assimilate the information.
It is also important to note that different methods may or may not be used in particular disciplines. For example, observation and experiment can be applied in chemistry, biology, medicine, psychology, and sociology, but they are unlikely to demand mathematics. The axiomatic method or idealization method will apply to the latter discipline, but they will be entirely unsuitable for the same medicine, biology. Idealization, formalization, the axiomatic method, and several other less popular methods find application only at the theoretical knowledge level. As for observation, comparison, measurement, and experiment, these methods are used most often. Also, please pay attention to the tips that we have described below.
Explore Other Methodology Sections
To complete this section of the thesis, ask your teacher for some examples of other students' work. With examples, you can see what this section should look like and reduce possible mistakes. Why should you use an example teacher? Because the requirements for the terms of reference in educational institutions are different. By looking at an example of a university paper, you will draft a document that meets the requirements. Do not take samples from unverified Internet sources, as there is a high probability that the documents contain mistakes. We also advise you to seek help from StudyBay experts. Writers will compose any paper according to your educational institutions' rules if you have difficulty doing it yourself.
Consider Your Structure
Whichever method you use for research, you need to structure everything. Your methodology section should be well written, with clear consistency and logical transitions. Thanks to the structure, you will be able to correctly reason the chosen method and prove that all your actions are rational.
You can apply this plan:
- Research methods
- Description of research methods chosen
- Data analysis
But don't rush to write the paper. After the plan is drawn up, please take it to the teacher for review. If your plan satisfies the teacher, he likes the structure and logic of paragraphs, then feels free to start writing the paper. If you, without the teacher's encouragement, go directly to the article's drafting, then there is a possibility that the text will be sent for revision. Thus you will spend additional time redoing the material and may not meet the deadline.
Define Your Audience
When creating your methodology, you need to consider the audience's interest since your paper will only be read if people are interested in the topic. If you use traditional methods in your research, there is no need to explain its course. Suppose you use methods that are not well known to your audience, a lot of effort into making your material understandable. With this condition, you can describe the pros and cons of the method and explain its course. In other cases, this is unnecessary information that is boring for the reader.
Focus On Problems And Research Objectives
When choosing a topic, problems, and questions for research, you must consider the chosen methodology's goals. Therefore, clearly describe that the purpose of the methodology is great for the topic. Keep in mind the logic, as sometimes the chosen method may differ from the article's general purpose. In this case, you need to redo everything since your paper will be mistaken for an incomprehensible and unreasonable text. To understand what methodology is needed, you need to look at the prepared thesis plan in advance and appreciate its similarity to existing methods. Once you find common ground between the article's topic and the method, you can achieve the desired goal.
Describe The Challenges And Obstacles Encountered
If during the research you have any problems, then write about it. Problems can arise during the stages of data collection or analysis. It is the methodology section that was created for this. Since you can write about how the chosen methodology contributed to problem-solving, this concludes your stages, and we wish you success. Remember that we are always ready to help you in any student situation.