Research methodology is the most important section of your dissertation. It is your chance to demonstrate what methods were used to collect data and analyze the evidence. The methodology section also includes a justification for choosing certain methods. You will have to explain what measures you took to ensure the results’ reliability and validity. However, the concept of research methodology requires a detailed discussion. This article will provide a beginner’s guide for writing a research methodology.
How Do You Start A Research Methodology?
The methodology section seeks to answer the following things:
- What was the nature of your research? Was it qualitative or quantitative, or was it a mixed methods approach?
- What were the ways through which you collected your data?
- How did you analyze your results?
- What tools did you use to collect the data?
- Did you use it to analyze the data?
- What were the reasons for choosing a particular methodology?
Here are a few steps for beginners to understand how to write the methodology section:
Step 1: Define The Nature Of The Research
The first thing is to describe the approach you used for conducting your research. You will have to explain to the readers what were you trying to investigate. In other words, you will have to mention your research problem and research questions briefly. Your research method’s approach largely depends on your research questions or research problem. You will have to explain the following things:
- What were the aims and objectives of your research? Was it descriptive, exploratory, causal, or experimental research?
- What kind of evidence did you use to investigate your research problem?
- Did you use a quantitative approach to gather the evidence?
- Or did you use a qualitative approach to gather the data?
- Did you collect the primary data? If yes, then what instruments and tools did you use to gather primary evidence
- Did you collect secondary evidence? What were the inclusion and exclusion criteria for documents?
- Did you conduct any experiments to understand the cause-and-effect relationship? What were the research variables?
- Did you manipulate the variables? Or did you gather descriptive data through observations?
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Step 2: Discuss The Rationale Of The Research Approach
- What were the underlying assumptions for choosing a particular research method?
- Why is the chosen research approach essential for addressing the research questions?
- Is the chosen approach relevant to your subject area?
- What were the ethical considerations in data collection? For example, did you abide by the ethical principles in experimental research? Moreover, during data collection through interviews and surveys, did you take measures for data confidentiality?
- Justify the reliability and validity criteria that underpin the chosen research methodology
What Should Be Included In The Research Methodology?
You should include the following things in the methodology section:
- A discussion of the data collection methods
- A discussion on the methods of analysis
- Evaluation and justification of chosen research methodology
Data Collection Methods
Data collection methods entail providing details about how did you collect your data. Quantitative data collection methods differ from qualitative data collection methods. Therefore, if you have only used one of them, provide the relevant details. But if you have used both of them, you will have to provide the details about both of them. Here is how to do it:
Quantitative Data Collection Methods
Quantitative research requires an in-depth description of data collection methods. The reason for including this in the methodology section is to inform other researchers about your methods. The results of quantitative methods are generalizable, and therefore a clear description of the methods helps other researchers to repeat the same process. Explain the following things in detail:
- Explain how you quantified the concepts underpinning your study.
- How did you measure your variables?
- Sampling strategy? What were the inclusion and exclusion criteria?
- Procedures and methods used to gather the data?
Moreover, you will have to explain the tools and procedures in detail. Here is how to do it:
Quantitative research often utilizes surveys to gather data. If you used surveys for gathering data, you would have to explain the following things:
- Where did you conduct the survey, such as online or through posts?
- How did you conduct the survey?
- When did you conduct the survey?
- What was the design of your questionnaire? How many close-ended and open-ended questions?
- What were the sampling criteria for choosing the study participants?
- How many responses were gathered?
Include the following things if your research is experimental:
- Design of your experiment?
- What tools and instruments did you use for the experiment?
- The sampling strategy for choosing the participants?
- What methods did you use to quantify and measure the variables?
- Secondary Resources for Quantitative Research
- Sources did you consult to gather secondary quantitative data?
- Methods were used by the source to collect the data?
- The inclusion and exclusion criteria for gathering secondary data?
Qualitative Data Collection Methods
Qualitative research methods are dynamic and open to several interpretations. So, it is important to evaluate the qualitative approach in the methodology section. You will have to analyze and evaluate the chosen approach. You will have to include a discussion on the methods you chose to gather data, such as interviews, observations, and focus group discussions.
Discussion on the Methods of Analysis
You will also have to explain how did you analyze the results. It requires a brief discussion of the validity and reliability measures to ensure data accuracy and eliminate biases.
Evaluation Of The Methodology
Finally, you will have to provide an evaluation of the chosen research method. You will have to justify the relevance of the chosen methods. Moreover, you will also have to acknowledge the flaws and limitations of the chosen research methodology.
What Are The Best Frameworks To Structure Your Research Methodology?
The research framework serves as a guide for structuring your research methodology. You can use the following framework to structure the methodology.
A theoretical framework is a collection of approaches and their definitions and references to appropriate published research that are employed in your research. The theoretical framework must exhibit knowledge of themes and ideas significant for the research paper’s topic and related to the broader fields of study.
The research methodology section must provide comprehensive details about the methods used to collect and analyze the data. It requires analysis and evaluation of the chosen research methods. Beginners can follow the guidelines mentioned above to write the methodology section.
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