Learn about the difference between 'Methodology' and 'Methods' and what to include in the Methodology section of your dissertation or thesis. Your methodology section appears immediately after the literature review in your dissertation, and should flow organically from it. Up until the. Kallet, Richard H. "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Lunenburg , Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips.
methodology of thesis section writing
When you start your dissertation project, you may already have some broad ideas about the methodology you want to use. You'll refine these ideas in conversation with your supervisor and develop them further as you read about the previous work that has been done in your field, and other scholars' approach to your subject area.
If you're completing a postgraduate dissertation , the chances are you already have a broad awareness of the different theoretical positions and schools of thought in your field, and you may well have a good idea of the schools of thought with which you most closely identify and, just as importantly, those you don't identify with.
If you're writing an undergraduate dissertation , this may very well be the first time you've been asked to engage with such a broad field of literature, and categorising this into distinct approaches and schools of thought may seem like an overwhelming task at first.
Regardless of your level, your dissertation methodology will develop as you review the literature in your field and refine your initial research questions.
Your literature review and methodology will therefore develop in tandem with each other. Your response to the literature will help you decide on the approach you want to take to your research question, but your methodology will probably already be decided by the time you actually write up your literature review, meaning that you can frame it so as to position the methodology as a clear, organic and natural progression from your survey of the field.
It should be noted, of course, that your methodology won't only be determined by the modes of inquiry or schools of thought that appeal to you most; there are likely to be practical considerations that determine how you approach your problem.
Unless you happen to have access to a particle accelerator at your university, the chances are your quantum physics project will be based on theoretical projections rather than physical experimental data.
The answer to this question depends in part upon whether you're writing an undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation. For most students, an undergraduate dissertation is their first opportunity to engage in detail with scholarship in their fields and to design and conduct a rigorous research project. In an undergraduate dissertation, you therefore need to show a capacity to engage with a broad field of research, to synthesise diverse and even opposing approaches to a problem, and to distil this down into a design for a research project that will address your research questions with the appropriate level of scholarly level.
The ability to synthesise what you've learned from scholars in your discipline, and to shape that into a methodology that you can use to shed light on your research question, is, therefore, key to a successful undergraduate dissertation. The best undergraduate dissertations will of course show originality of thought and may even be able to make an original contribution to their field — but the focus will generally be on demonstrating that you have the fundamental research skills to undertake investigative work in your field.
A postgraduate dissertation , by contrast, can be expected to make a substantial contribution of high-quality, original research to its field. The best postgraduate dissertations will be publishable by leading journals, or even as scholarly monographs. As you build your career as an early career researcher, the impact of your dissertation on its field — as measured by citations in the work of other scholars — will be crucial to enhancing your academic reputation. It's important to remember that the dissertation's value to other scholars won't just be its findings or conclusions, and that your research's emerging importance to the field will be measured by the number of scholars who engage with it, not those who agree with it.
Although some scholars may well cite your conclusions as a basis for their own work, a far greater number of citations is likely to result regardless of discipline from your development of a framework that other scholars can use as a point of departure for their own work.
If you've come up with a methodology that is both original and grounded in the research, this will probably be the aspect of your work that other scholars value the most. Their own work might build upon, develop or modify your methodology in some way; they might apply your methodology to a different data set in order to contest your findings, or they might even take it and apply it in a new context that hadn't even occurred to you!
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. 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: 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.
The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing , Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein discuss what they call the art of metacommentary, "a way of commenting on your claims and telling others how — and how not — to think about them". 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.
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 2: 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: By the same token, you can also prevent your readers from drawing unintended inferences from your work by anticipating them: Recent Posts Understanding my markers feedback Marking: Professionalisation A simple guide to writing a first-class essay Not an apprenticeship: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation.
Writing your dissertation methodology. What is a methodology? What should my methodology look like? Therefore, no matter what subject area you're working in, your methodology section will include the following: 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. Read more about postgraduate research projects here. The information included in the dissertation methodology is similar to the process of creating a science project: This aspect of the methodology section is important, not just for detailing how your research was conducted, but also how the methods you used served your purposes, and were more appropriate to your area of study than other methods.
You would then want to explain why this combination was more appropriate to your topic than say, a review of a book that included interviews with participants asking open-ended questions: It's important to keep in mind that your dissertation methodology is about description: Be sure you speak to your course advisor about what specific requirements there may be for your particular course. It is possible that you may need to include more or less information depending on your subject.
The type of research you conducted will also determine how much detail you will need to include in the description of your methods.
If you have created a series of primary research sources, such as interviews, surveys, and other first hand accounts taken by either yourself or another person active during the time period you are examining, then you will need to include more detail in specifically breaking down the steps you took to both create your sources and use them in conducting your research.
You may also want to do some research into research techniques — it sounds redundant, but it will help you identify what type of research you are doing, and what types will be best to achieve the most cohesive results from your project.
Read more on dissertation research here. Whether or not you have conducted your research using primary sources, you will still want to be sure that you include relevant references to existing studies on your topic.
It is important to show that you have carefully researched what data already exists, and are seeking to build on the knowledge that has already been collected.
Use research that has already been conducted to illustrate that you know your subject well. Because your dissertation methodology is basically an explanation of your research, you may want to consider writing it — or at least drafting it — as you gather your data. Analysing your own methods of research may help you spot any errors in data collection, interpretation or sources.
There are several ways that you can structure your dissertation methodology, and the following headings are designed to further give you a better idea of what you may want to include, as well as how you might want to present your findings. By referring to this example you should be able to effectively structure your dissertation methodology. Research Overview: Research Design: Data Collection:
Structuring a thesis
ELTT course Writing Up Qualitative Research (Independent Study version) The Methodology chapter is perhaps the part of a qualitative thesis that is most. I am currently working on my MS Thesis. And all I can say, I am a little stuck in the methodology section. I wrote it but still not satisfied. However, if anyone can. Some dissertation students will write a systematic literature review. This will involve collecting published articles related to a topic and analysing what can be .