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Dissertation Methodology: Guide and Examples

Dissertation methodology is necessary for writing a dissertation. Choosing suitable academic methods and applying them in a process is not an easy task. It is further complicated by the fact that each scientific area has its own applied methods. Below we will reveal their essence and call their general and special types.

What Is Methodology in Dissertation?

Methodology in dissertation is a general system of scientific knowledge methods. Students usually use them to achieve a research paper goal they set at the beginning of a work. We can say that this is an instrumental basis. How many words should a methodology be in a dissertation? We would say it should be around 20% of the whole work. You should develop research problems and explain solutions to the main issues. Selection of suitable methods starts at the stage of preparing a dissertation plan. This section should be placed in dissertation introduction. You should justify the choice of each method used in work. In the abstract, just list analysis of the main techniques that were used.

Due to their huge number, there are different research methods classifications. Firstly, they are usually divided into two categories. The first category is applicable to all knowledge branches. The second has a narrower focus. It covers those methods that are applied strictly in a particular science area. We’ll consider quantitative and qualitative classifications in more detail.

Methodology Dissertation: Purpose

The main goal of methodology chapter dissertation is to study methods you have chosen. It helps to acquire and substantiate new findings in science. But, in addition to this main task, this section also studies:

  • knowledge structure in general,
  • cognitional place and role’s various forms,
  • analytical methods,
  • various systems of scientific knowledge.

So, the purpose is to study an object, process, or phenomenon. You should capture scientific principles’ basis in written form and introduce useful results into production.

Methods vs Methodology Chapter: Dissertation

You might be confused with the difference between methods and methodology in a dissertation, but the answer is simple. Researchers use the first term to proceed with studying research problems. Literally, this is a description of all material and information that was used in work. Methodology is a broader term. It is a system with methods for learning how research should be done systematically. It ensures that conclusions drawn are valid and reliable.

What to Include in the Methodology Section of Dissertation?

Let’s consider what to include in a dissertation methodology. No matter what scientific area you’re working on, it should include the same chapters. We recommend you focus on specific methods for your studying. But a general outline is universal for each case.

Aims in Methodology of Dissertation

In the dissertation methodology chapter, you should describe research methods and organization. Briefly, list method aims and techniques used in study. It is necessary to indicate methods’ authors and publishing year.

For example:

Following methods were used to solve tasks:

  • Theoretical: analysis, synthesis, systematization, comparison, classification of scientific and psychological sources of information. They allow to generalize and systematize views of scientists on a problem being studied;
  • Empirical: method of "Determining speed of mental process of junior high school students at time of transition to high school."
  • Mathematical processing of research results: data processing and graphical presentation of results were carried out using spreadsheets MS Excel 2010.

Outline of Methods in Methodology Section: Dissertation

The dissertation methodology outline begins with a search. Find a subject area that can unite all gained empirical results. Some results often do not fit into a single structure and have to be discarded. But sometimes, necessary empirical results are lacking, so you should continue study's empirical part. Determine an appropriate outline to begin logical concept composition.

Explanation of Methods in Methodology for Dissertation

For the methodology section of the dissertation, you should determine the study base, respondents number, their age, gender. Explain your choice using specific arguments.

Look at following example:

Study was conducted based on the municipal higher educational institution of the regional council. The study covered 105 first-year students (including 77 students of Department of Primary Education (base 9 classes), aged 15.5 years and 28 students of department "Preschool Education" (base 11 classes), aged 17.5 years).

Qualitative Methods of Methodology in Dissertation

Qualitative dissertation methodology is aimed at identifying statistical survey characteristics. So you can reveal various types of deep social processes and mechanisms. For example, analyze the media's influence on individual consciousness. Or examine informational perception of different population layers. The main application area of these methods is marketing and sociological research.

Let's consider the most important group methods:

  • In-depth interview. Here well-reasoned answers are required. Often, it is conducted in the free conversation form in an informal setting. Its purpose is to explore beliefs, values​, and respondents’ motivations.
  • Expert interview. Invited specialists express their valuable opinion.
  • Focus group discussions. Here conversation takes place with a focus group. It can consider 10-15 respondents who are directly related to study. Participants share their personal experiences and perception on the topic during discussion. Based on their statements, a social group’s "portrait" to which the focus group belongs is compiled.

Quantitative Methods of Dissertation Research: Methodology

The second dissertation methodology is quantitative methods. It helps to identify phenomena based on statistical methods. It aims at initially collecting questionnaires and then measuring them to investigate large-scale phenomena. It also allows you to study the structure and research development’s dynamics. This includes counting publications number made or content analysis. For example, determination of various sources’ volume citation. It is possible to track studied circulation and the usage degree. The research results using this method are information with minor deviations.

How Data Is Analyzed in Your Dissertation Methodology Section

In the practical section, analyze results of research methodology dissertation. Provide detailed data on subjects and different research methods. Pay attention to results' validity and their interpretation. Research results should not be limited to statements of received facts. Interpret their scientific explanation and obtain results.

Materials Used in Your Methodology Chapter in Dissertation

Methodology chapter in the dissertation should include suitable materials. Data selection, critical comprehension, and processing are essential. First, you need to introduce primary literature (textbooks, theoretical articles) and applied materials (methodological developments, instructional materials, articles). Include only carefully selected and purposefully analyzed elements. As illustrative material, you can add sample documents, tables, diagrams, charts. They can be placed throughout your study.

Tips on How to Write a Dissertation Methodology

We have prepared some tips on how to write a methodology for a dissertation. Hope they will ease your writing.

  1. Pose a problem that your method solves and justify its relevance.
  2. Complete analysis of literary background.
  3. Write it concise and clear.
  4. Apply only those research methods that you will manage to use.
  5. Make qualified interpretations and observations to obtain results.
  6. Create an independent, original approach to processing of material.
  7. Provide all answers to hypothetical questions before your readers can ask them.

Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Methodology for Dissertation

We collected and identified 10 common mistakes in writing a dissertation methodology. Avoid them to make this section excellent!

  • Conduction too complicated research.
  • Non-disclosing chosen method.
  • Non-compliance with general requirements.
  • Plagiarism.
  • Excessive volumes of sections.
  • Faked background sources.
  • Unrelated parts of description.
  • Outdated methods.
  • Grammatical errors.
  • Weak impact on a scientific field.

Dissertation Methodology Example

We prepared a methodology example for your dissertation. Now you know all necessary information on how to write this chapter. We recommend you pay specific attention while writing. You can take our sample as a template.

Dissertation methodology example

Final Thoughts on Writing a Methodology for a Dissertation

Dissertation methodology occupies 20% of your text. It is significant for your scientific research. In this section you formulate provisions that determine the entire course of work. We recommend writing this section at the very beginning. So, research methods are steps that we take towards work goals. These are ways that help to solve assigned study tasks.

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Joe Eckel is an expert on Dissertations writing. He makes sure that each student gets precious insights on composing A-grade academic writing.

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