The methods you have chosen for your research. This will help the readers of your research to evaluate the validity and reliability of your research. The methodology section involves the explanation of the ideas that what research you performed and how you did it. It should include:
- What was the type of research that you performed
- What were the modes of collection and selection of your data
- How your data was analyzed.
- What were the materials or tools that you used for your research
- What were your reasons behind choosing these methods
While writing a good methodology, you need to remain focused on your objectives and research questions. The reader should be convinced while reading your dissertation that you have chosen the most appropriate methods for answering your problem statement or research questions. Throughout your methodology section, your choice of methods should relate to the central point of your dissertation.
Main Steps for designing a research methodology
The research methodology generally comprises four steps which include Explaining your methodological approach, describing the methods for your data collection, describing the methods of analysis for your data, and lastly the evaluation and justification of your methodological choices.
Step 1: Explaining your methodological approach
At this step, you have to start writing the introduction of the overall approach of your research. You have to explain what research problem or question you have investigated and what kind of data you required to address that research question. There are three methods that can be used for collecting and analyzing data for research.
- Quantitative methods: Which includes surveys that are considered as the most favorable method for collecting data for research.
- Qualitative methods: Another method that can be used for collecting data is the qualitative method which includes interviews. This method is also considered as the best because it includes one to one discussion of the problem statement, the description and interpretation of the specific concepts of the phenomena.
- Mixed methods: they are a combination of the numerical measurement and in-depth exploration.
Depending on the discipline and approach of your research, there might be a requirement of a discussion on the reasons and assumptions on which your study is based upon. In a quantitative experimental study, you will require valid research and carefully designed study with controlled variables that can be replicated by other researchers. While in a qualitative case study, you might be giving real-world knowledge about a specific group of people explaining their social structures, beliefs, and behaviors.
Step 2: Describing your methods of data collection
After giving a brief detail on how your research was started and what were its basic approaches, you need to give details on how your data was collected and which applied methods were considered as best for collecting the required data. The qualitative methods of data collection may include surveys, experiments and use of existing data, while qualitative methods include interviews or use of focus groups and participant observation.
Step 3: Describing your methods of analysis
In the next step, you need to describe how you have analyzed your data, and this data can accommodate in retrieving the results on which your results are totally based on. The quantitative methods will show your research in the form of numbers, and it will include the statistical mode of analysis you used or the type of software you used for analyzing your data. While the qualitative analysis of your data will include content analysis, thematic analysis, and discourse analysis. The qualitative analysis will represent the data based on language, images, and observations.
Step 4: Evaluating and justifying your methodological choices
In the last step, you need to evaluate and justify the methods which you have taken for conducting your research. Also, you need to make sure that the methods you have taken are close to the standard approach and if not, then state your reasons for following these specific methods. You also need to ensure that the research that you have conducted will add value to the existing studies and research.
The limitations or weaknesses of your given research will also be addressed and how you have dealt with them to achieve your desired results. The use of unstructured interviews can also provide a better in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions and emotions, but it cannot be generalized beyond the sample group.
Problems to Avoid while designing your research methodology
Any irrelevant detail should be avoided in the methodology section, and any background information which is not directly related to the contents of your research should be avoided to remain comprehensive and to the point in your discussions.
How you overcome obstacles
It is understood that you might encounter a few problems and hurdles while conducting your research. It is advised not to ignore those problems or pretending that they have not occurred in the first place. It is obvious that certain gaps or problems occur while generating certain data and documenting how you overcome those obstacles or gaps becomes an interesting part of your methodology. It shows your effort and decisions on how you minimized those gaps and succeeded in overcoming those hurdles as a learning tool for future readers and researchers.
About the Author,
Selina Williams is a blogger and a full-time writer at “Masters Dissertation UK.” She has done double masters in history and geography, and she loves to apply her knowledge in her articles. Regarding her hobbies, she likes to play table-tennis and listening to music in her spare time.