Writing a dissertation may seem like a never-ending task. Weeks or even months could pass by and you may not even finish one chapter. This could be due to a lack of guidance or writing a dissertation might not be your thing. If it’s the latter in your case, you should just start looking for cheap dissertation writing services online and let some experts handle your problems.
If you are looking forward to writing a dissertation by yourself and have finished the first two chapters, but having trouble with the third chapter then don’t worry! You are at the right place because we have a very simple yet effective step-by-step guide for you.
This is a complete guide to help you understand everything about the Methodology chapter. First, we will help you understand the importance, weightage and role of Methodology chapter in a dissertation. Then we will move forward to a detailed guide to writing an excellent Methodology chapter.
A Brief Introduction to Methodology
If you consider the word count of every chapter, the Methodology chapter is the shortest and weighs only 10%. The weightage of each chapter is defined by their word count.
You have to explain what were your approaches and the methods you applied for your research. For instance, it should include all of the following things:
- • Significance of your study
- • Scope(s) of your study
- • Limitations in your study
And the methods that you have you employed during your research is a must to include. After all, the Methodology chapter is all about addressing your research methods.
On a side note, you should know that you have to write a concise version of the methodology in the dissertation proposal as well. In that, you don’t have to be very elaborate about your methods, just address the tip of the iceberg!
The Importance of Methodology
You surely wouldn’t want to directly address the data and findings of your dissertation. It will do nothing but confuse the reader. So to walk the reader through your dissertation with ease, the methodology chapter plays a very important role.
The Perfect Recipe for a Flawless Methodology
Now you have an overview of what is a methodology chapter, it is time we give you an in-depth guide for an eye-catching Methodology chapter. Always remember that everything has a recipe, you need to master the recipe with the help of the best ingredients to brew the perfection.
For an impressive dissertation methodology chapter, you need to include everything stated below:
- • Explanation of the type of your research i.e. qualitative, quantitative, or combined.
- • Discussion on the method(s) you used for collecting data.
- • Addressing the data collection tools used by you during research.
- • Stating the different types of materials and tools you used in your research.
- • Justifying, explaining, and rationalizing the methods, tools, material, and equipment you used during your research.
Types of Research Methods
Commonly there are three types of dissertation methods, if :
- • Qualitative Method
- • Quantitative Method
- • Combined Method
Quantitative methods are simply statistical tests based on certain fixed questions. For example, a group of people will be given a questionnaire to fill out. It will be analyzed to get an average percentage or a definite number in the form of an answer.
Quantitative methods are applied to groups collectively instead of individuals. The most common quantitative methods are
- • polls
- • questionnaires
- • survey
Or by manipulating existing statistical data using different techniques as well.
Qualitative methods are different than quantitative methods. There is a free-hand on questions which means that there is no definite set of questions to ask the participants or the individuals in the focus group.
Qualitative methods are commonly used when you’re interviewing people individually using different methods. For instance,
- • face to face interviews
- • on-call interviews
- • email interviews
And other similar methods. As you’d have guessed, qualitative methods are used when interviewing individuals instead of groups at one time. Although the individuals have to belong to a certain focus group.
Let’s Cook a Compelling Dissertation Methodology Together!
If you have been with us through the whole time then you have sufficient information about a dissertation methodology. It is time we move forward to the structuring the methodology chapter. So here is the blueprint for a well-structured Methodology chapter.
- Introducing and describing your methodological approach
- Describing the data collection methods
- Addressing the analysis methods
- Evaluating and justifying your methodological choices
1. Introduction and Describing Your Methodological Approach
The first impression is the final impression, everyone knows that. In the case of a dissertation, each chapter should have a straight-to-point introduction without any unnecessary details. You have to state the methodological approaches in the beginning. By doing so, the reader will stick to your dissertation as it won’t be wasting their time or stalling them.
Never stall the reader just so you can have a little bit of extra word count added here and there.
Once you have addressed your methodological approaches, you have to move forward to evaluate your discussion. You can evaluate your methodology discussion by explaining the question or problem that you investigated during your research.
You have to explain other aspects of the methods that you used. For instance, you can first ask such questions:
- • What kind of approaches and data did you need to get to your goal?
- • What was your aim during the research process?
- • Did you establish a cause and effect relationship?
- • Did you explore an untouched or under-researched topic?
Once you have asked yourself these questions, you have start explaining each of the questions.
For example, you can explain whether you used quantitative methods or qualitative methods for your research. Make sure to state if the data used collected was yourself or did you use previously present data collected by someone else. You can also state if the data gathered by you was experimental as an outcome of manipulating and controlling variables or was it descriptive data collected by observations without intervening.
Moving forward to the end of the introduction part, you have to concisely state a few things and make sure of a few things such as:
- • Do you have a standard methodology or do you need to justify it for the reader?
- • Were or are there any ethical or philosophical considerations during your research?
- • Why the applied method was the approach you considered to get the answer to your research question(s)?
- • How do you justify the reliability and validation of your research and method(s)?
Although, it is not very hard to write the introduction methodology chapter as it is you’re explaining your methods. If you still feel like taking some help, don’t hesitate. You can reach out to some expert online or maybe just consult your professors.
2. Describing the Data Collection Methods
The question might have popped in your head that why is there a need to explain the data collection method if you have already explained the research methods.
You don’t have to stress about it, we are going to answer every question in your head.
In the introductory part, you just mentioned what methods you have used for the research. Now you have to describe the methods in depth. There are multiple ways to research both qualitative and quantitative methods. So you have to be very elaborate on the methods that you used.
There are multiple ways to conduct qualitative research. Keep in mind that qualitative methods are completely different than quantitative methods. It means that qualitative methods are flexible and subjective which means that quantitative methods are not definite. The same methods can differ from one research to other research.
Describing Qualitative Research Methods:
While describing qualitative research methods, keep in mind that you can participate in the research as well as just be an observer while collecting and doing data research.
Some of the few common qualitative research methods are:
Individual Interviews or Focus Groups
To describe this method, you have to explain things such as the procedure of selecting participants, the exact number of participants, the type and duration of your interview. While doing so, make sure to state the method of recording or logging the interview as well.
While describing ethnography you have to state certain things such as how you gained access to or got connected to the community, the duration of time you spent with them or observed them for, the location of the community, and your role in the community while data collection. You have to address other things as well such as why did you choose the certain community and what was your data collection method.
Studying Existing Data:
When you address that you have studied published, you have to address all the different types of study material you have used. Along with that, you have to explain how you selected and collected the mentioned material as well as the analysis process of the material.
Describing Quantitative Research Methods
There are multiple quantitative research methods that you have to describe if you employed any of them during your research. You have to be very detailed and elaborate when describing quantitative research methods.
There are many quantitative methods such as:
- • Surveys:
While addressing that you conducted a survey to collect data for your research, make sure to state how, when and when did you conduct research. Other than that, you have to address what kind survey you conducted, how did you select the participants, through which medium the survey was conducted, how long the survey lasted, and mention the size of the sample and response rate of participants as well.
- • Experimentation:
When you conduct a scientific or social experiment for your research you have to address a few things while describing your research method such as the design of your experiment, your motivation or inspiration behind the certain experiment, and how did you recruit people for the experiment. While doing so, you have to also state the tools that you used for experiments while explaining the experiment process thoroughly.
- • Studying Existing Data:
Describing that you used past published researches is same in both qualitative and quantitative types of research. You have to address the sources of the data, how certain data was produced by the author and why you chose that to use for your research.
On a side note, keep in mind that you just have to mention the data collection type and process only. You don’t need to address any data in the methodology chapter as it is usually deferred by professors.
3. Addressing the Analysis Methods
Once you are done addressing the data collection methods, you have to move forward to explaining how you analyzed the collected data. The analysis methods are different for both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
We will have a look at both so you don’t face any trouble.
Addressing Qualitative Data Analysis
Qualitative data analysis is often some type of text-based analysis. There are multiple methods to analyze the qualitative data for instance,
- • Discourse Analysis
- • Content Analysis
- • Thematic Analysis
Each of the analysis methods is different than another and can be applied for suitable data.
Addressing Quantitative Data Analysis
Quantitative data is based on number hence it is usually analyzed by software programs and test.
For instance, a few common data analysis software tools are:
- • SPSS
- • Stata
- • R
While some common tests to analyze quantitative data may include:
- • Linear Regression Test
- • Two-Tailed t-Test
And some more. Make sure to do your leave the analysis methods out of your concern which is deferred by your supervisor or professor.
4. Evaluating and Justifying Your Methodological Choices
When you go out for groceries and buy something, you silently justify it yourself about why you are buying it, what value it will bring and if it is beneficial for you.
Just like that, you need to justify everything about your methodology to the committee. It is very important that you evaluate and justify your methodology as you can question about anything.
While you justify methodology, there are a few things that need to be stated. For instance, you have to mention the limitations in your research but don’t use them as an excuse. Instead, you can use the limitations to highlight the problems that you faced and how it can be avoided in future.
A sample for you to observe:
“Lab experiments are inaccurate in terms of simulating human behaviour accurately and real-life situations but are significantly strong when used to test the causal relationship between variables.”
If you paid close attention, you can easily see that the exemplary statement above stated a weak point but that was not it. The weak point was overshadowed later by the strong point of the method. It is to show you that countering every weak point is very necessary while justifying your methodology.
Things to Know Before You Start Writing!
There are a lot of common mistakes that students often make while writing their dissertation. If you want to avoid such mistakes, then let us help you out!
- • One of the most common mistakes made by students is that they sometimes include the raw data in the methodology chapter. You need to understand that the methodology chapter is to give insight into your research and analysis method. For instance, if you are stating how you collected data using a questionnaire, Likert scale, or a machine, you don’t have to state any data.
- • Another common mistake made by students is they cite every single relevant source in the methodology. It might seem like informative but sometimes the sources are not completely related to the research student is conducting/proposing. For higher accuracy and putting a good impression on the reader, you have to cite only the most relevant sources keys only. Validate each source that you’re citing in your methodology using tools and other resources.
- • You have to keep the reader’s perspective into your consideration while writing your methodology. For instance, if you think that you have employed a standard methodological approach then you don’t need to state the detailed process or give justification for it if unless you’re asked for it. On the other hand, if you have used a non-standard method for your research then you have to explain the reasoning and choices behind it to justify your decisions.
Wrapping it Up!
Now that you have learned everything about the dissertation methodology chapter, we expect and hope you to ace your dissertation. Make sure to make multiple drafts before start writing any chapter of your dissertation and keep improving the drafts until you have the best version.
Express your creativity in your dissertation but don’t go out of your way. You have to explain how your research brings value to the field of study.