Most important papers, such as dissertations and theses, have a chapter on methodology. Essentially, this is a concise outline describing the process used in a piece of research work and it is used as a type of plan for the paper’s development. A methodology chapter includes the information the writer collects to properly research their topic. A researcher may use various methods for research purposes, and these may include practical experiments or tests, the collection and analysis of information, survey questionnaires, interviews, and so on.
In essence, a methodology section acts as a foundation to justify the methods you chose to conduct your research. In this chapter, you should clearly explain why you chose a particular method and how this helped achieve certain results and maintained the objectives of the overall project. Remember that this chapter should maintain a close link with the literature review chapter. In other words, each selected method needs to support a related topic in the literature review section.
With regards to methodology types, it is possible to use an empirical method – i.e. the gathering of information and the undertaking of some type of study – or a non-empirical method – i.e. where all the information is taken from existing sources e.g. sources that are already published. Clearly, more time is required to write a methodology chapter when the methods used are of the empirical variety since this method involves searching for additional supporting information.
To write an effective methodology chapter, it is necessary for the student to have in-depth knowledge of the methods they intend to use and also to have the skills to be able to communicate and present information in a way that is easy to understand.
The primary purpose of a dissertation’s methodology chapter is to show readers how you approached your research problem or question. The way you design your research is actually a methodology that shows you what you need to look for while researching your topic.
It is also necessary to devise a plan that shows precisely how you should explore your primary topic. This includes the approach you have chosen and the methods you will use for collecting and analyzing information. There are two primary ways to investigate a topic, the quantitative and qualitative approaches. These can be used separately or in a combined way to find the perfect fit for your chosen topic.
As mentioned already, several research methodologies are available to you, out of which you will need to select the methods that best fit your particular project. The following are the most common methodologies:
The first type, documentary analysis, is a method that presupposes the gathering of data using learning or scholarly documents, often referred to as tangible data or materials. These documents, provided you can find them easily, will help you analyze recorded or documented ideas and facts relating to people, places, organizations, events, and so on. This method of retrieving data is commonly used by experts in the social sciences and historians.
Conducting interviews is one of the most widely-used methods for gathering qualitative data or information and this activity takes the shape of conversations that occur between the researcher and an individual who can provide information. Interviews are quite a flexible research methodology for collecting the materials a researcher needs, but the process tends to take up rather a lot of time. Therefore, when a lot of people need to be interviewed, the best approach is to circulate questionnaires.
Like questionnaires, observation is a method that is applicable to both quantitative and qualitative type research. At times, the most viable way to gather data is by observing the habits or behaviour of the participant(s) or subject(s) in some predefined situation or circumstance. An interesting aspect of this particular method is that the subjects or participants are not necessarily aware they are being observed and, consequently, they tend to act in a natural manner so the results can be more accurate.
The method involving questionnaires is used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. It is easy to deliver these to large numbers of people for the purpose of gathering information. However, the collected data is not likely to provide as much detail as information collected by interview. Usually, questionnaires are suitable when it is necessary to measure some characteristics or parameters concerning one or more groups of people.
What is important to note with regards to research methodologies is that it is essential to refer to any weaknesses in a particular approach and provide sound justification as to why you feel a given type is not suitable for your specific project.
To avoid the different pitfalls when writing your methodology chapter, we advise you to seek assistance from individuals who are knowledgeable in the relevant area.
Although this may be obvious to you, it is quite difficult to write a successful methodology chapter for a dissertation. This is partly because this section needs to be entirely unique if you are to produce an outstanding dissertation that your readers will really be impressed by. For this reason, a lot of people look for writing assistance from professional providers. They usually begin this process by going online and typing in a search term such as “help with dissertation methodology” or something similar. It is, of course, virtually impossible to find good-quality free examples or sample papers. Then, even if you are lucky enough to find a good sample, it is not advisable to use these because you could end up with plagiarism-related problems. In addition, surely, your education is too important to risk.
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