A dissertation is nothing else but a thesis. It is a majorly talked document in your academics, generally graduation and post-graduation. It is a document that contains the findings and research conducted by you to get a professional qualification. You remember those research files you made in the last year of your graduation, right? We are talking about the same. It sounds a bit different from our assignments we got in school, isn’t it? So, is there any specific way to develop a dissertation and if yes, then what is it? Let’s find out. Let’s read about dissertation methodology and the right way of carrying it out in detail.
What is the dissertation methodology?
Dissertation methodology is the method we use to carry out our academic research. The methodology of conducting a dissertation is the significant part and sometimes the major complexity. You have to be specific in your dissertation methodology as it describes your philosophical supporting structure along with the method used (qualitative or quantitative or both) with reason. This helps the reader in evaluating your research as authentic and reliable. However, all these affairs make dissertation methodology a challenging and sluggish process.
In your thesis or dissertation, include a detailed section such as the abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion. Abstract holds the summary of your topic and introduction consists of background, the focus of the study, and the key objective. Further, the literature review comprises of a detailed review of what scholars understand and have to say about the topic you have chosen.
The result and conclusion section are significant as it is going to tell the reader how your findings relate to the question you had for the research along with a confirmation.
Choosing the dissertation methodology
What is the field of your study? This question largely decides the dissertation methodology. Moreover, the question in your research process would also help you in choosing the right method. There are two methods, the quantitative and the qualitative method that you can use to conduct the research. Using both the method together would help in the generation of the best outcome.
The use of a quantitative research method is done when you want to collect the numerical data or want to write the statistics. In case you are trying to build categories, measure certain things, or count, the quantitative method can expertly help you. Conducting surveys, tests, and experiments would earn you accurate data.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the collection of non-statistical data, qualitative research method can be very helpful. In case you want to establish a hypothesis, this method is going to help you a lot. Focus groups, observations, and interviews are needed for the collection of qualitative data.
Writing a dissertation methodology
As we have discussed much dissertation methodology, let us read about the way we should write it. The methodology section can solely convince the reader about the validity and reliability of the research process. It should be inclusive of information regarding the type, process of data collection, the process of data analysis, list of tools used in the process (if any), and the reason, why this method? You should always write the methodology section in the past tense.
Always include the following while writing dissertation methodology:
- Methodological approach: an insight
- Method of data collection in a detailed manner
- Method of data analysis in a detailed manner
- Justification of the methodological process
Methodological approach: an insight –
It is significant that you introduce the reader to your methodological approach. This should include the research problem and the kind of data you would require to meet the goal. Make a detailed note on the type of method, if you collected the primary data yourself or you have considered the secondary data. Besides, you are also required to inform if you have collected any experimental data by variable’s manipulation or any descriptive data with observation. The detailing does not stop here. It should also include information like:
- Why do you think the method you used for the research process suitable?
- On what criteria, your method of research is considered valid and reliable?
- If the method of research you used is standard or is there any need for the process’ justification?
- Does your method meet all the ethical or philosophical aspects?
Method of data collection in a detailed manner –
After writing the insights of your methodological approach, it’s time to write a piece of detailed information on the method of data collection.
There is a lot to write in the section of detailed methodology. When you opt for the quantitative research method you should clearly explain how you organized the concepts and what were the ways that helped you measure variables. In addition to this, shed some light on the sampling method and the list of tools, materials, and process you have used to collect data.
- Your writing should involve how, when, and where you conducted the survey.
- What was your procedure to select the samples or participants?
- The mode of your survey (online or offline). How long did it take to get the replies?
- The size of the sample you selected and the response rate to it.
- For better understanding, you can attach appendix of a questionnaire for your readers.
- Your dissertation methodology should be inclusive of detailed tools, procedure, and technique of your experiment.
- How the experiment was designed by you and how you selected participants.
- What was your method of manipulation and variable measurement?
- Explain the ways that helped you in the selection of your content.
- What was the source of your information or content?
The method of qualitative research is much subjective and flexible in comparison to the quantitative method. Like the quantitative method of research, you are required to write about the criteria of participants and sources selection, the context of your research, and your role as the data collector (was it active or passive)? You should mention the points given below in your research writing:
- How, when, and where the research was conducted?
- How many participants were there and how did you select them?
- Was the interview structured, unstructured, or semi-structured?
- How long did it take in the process?
- How, when, and where the ethnography was conducted?
- Details of the community under your observation and the process of reaching to them.
- Your role in the community and the way of data collection.
- The points you considered while selecting case study material.
- The thing you analysed and process of analysis, selection and collection.
Tips for writing dissertation methodology
If you find the dissertation methodology complex then how about having a checklist? There are chances that you might get confused with so much on your plate. Sit back and relax because here we have quick tips for you that would help you in structuring your research process. You can look up to this checklist anytime you are writing the research process.
Identification of the problem
It is very important for you to always keep in mind the problem you are trying to address through your research. You should explain all the questions thoroughly that you are going to discuss in the research.
What is your approach
An overview of anything is always a great help! Even if you start reading a book, you first try to look for the overview. This makes the reader already connected and build trust in the material they are going to read. Similarly, an overview of your dissertation methodology will be a guide to your reader. It will easily help them understand the method you have used. Additionally, it presents you like a well-informed person who has enough knowledge of the implications of the methodologies.
How productive the research is
A proper and excellent method of the experiment is the one that can yield some genuine results. In general, everything which is productive is considered useful and credible. To make your experiment more credible you should include the details of research techniques so that if anyone wants, they can create the research of their own with yours as motivation.
Reading enough of methodologies
The more you will read the work done by your seniors the more you will get an idea of things you have to do and how to do. It will always provide you with a structure that what your dissertation methodology should look like.
Planning of a structure
Planning is always important in everything you do. When something is planned, there are high chances of obtaining a positive result. Make a clear structure of the method you have used and give proper detailing to things so that all the arguments can be justified. Drafting an outline would also help you in getting things checked by your professor or supervisor if it is logical and needs any type of editing.
The audience is always important
You are conducting any research for your audience so it is your prior duty to make them understand things clearly. If your reader is not able to understand the research then it simply means that the purpose of the research left being unserved. Taking the methodology part into consideration, you should always give a piece of detailed information about the method which is likely to be used less by the people in your area of research. In case it is a widely used method then there is no need for detailed background.
Points to ponder while writing dissertation methodology
Given below are some of the crucial things you should keep in mind while writing a dissertation methodology.
This has been written in this blog several times that everything in your research should be detailed and descriptive. Do not try to cut it short to leave things unclear. The more you will keep the report descriptive the more approachable and considerable it would look. Be it the sampling or the analysis of data, everything should be clear and detailed.
Justification of choices
The second thing which is a crucial part of your research is the justification of your choices. There can be questions from any side of your research, you should always be able to answer why you have chosen a certain method over another. Being able to answer the decisions you have taken on each step of the research would earn you an impressive methodology chapter.
The right method of research
Whatever method you choose for carrying out your research it should be best in every aspect. Before choosing anything, you should always analyse the limitations and benefits of research techniques. Do not overestimate things and even if the research process has limited applications, you should be knowing them all.
Ethics are important
Conduct the work in an ethical manner which means it should not be harmful to anyone in any way. If you have participants, do not use them without consent and try to protect their data in the best way possible.
Having an appendix makes the research process look more structured and professional. Several things can be included in appendix such as consent forms, documentation, questionnaires, etc.
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