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Writing your dissertation methodology

What is the Methodology?

❶Yet, even though a university report is an extensive research paper, dissertation methodologies don't outline tactical steps in an experiment, as is the case with scientific methods. Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences.

Dissertation methodology structure

Top Tips For Writing a Dissertation Methodology
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A Scientific Approach

The choice of whether to use a qualitative or quantitative methodology is based on the nature of the questions being asked, the state of the field, and the feasibility of the approach with the population of interest. Researching a doctoral dissertation is an ongoing learning process.

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Doctoral research is the cornerstone of a PhD program. Qualitative Qualitative research focuses on examining the topic via cultural phenomena, human behavior, or belief systems. The three most routinely used include: The research involves the use of multiple sources of data.

This might include interviews, field notes, documents, journals, and possibly some quantitative elements more information on quantitative research follows. A case study focuses on a particular problem or situation faced by a population and studies it from specific angles. If you're writing an undergraduate dissertation , this may very well be the first time you've been asked to engage with such a broad field of literature, and categorising this into distinct approaches and schools of thought may seem like an overwhelming task at first.

Regardless of your level, your dissertation methodology will develop as you review the literature in your field and refine your initial research questions.

Your literature review and methodology will therefore develop in tandem with each other. Your response to the literature will help you decide on the approach you want to take to your research question, but your methodology will probably already be decided by the time you actually write up your literature review, meaning that you can frame it so as to position the methodology as a clear, organic and natural progression from your survey of the field.

It should be noted, of course, that your methodology won't only be determined by the modes of inquiry or schools of thought that appeal to you most; there are likely to be practical considerations that determine how you approach your problem.

Unless you happen to have access to a particle accelerator at your university, the chances are your quantum physics project will be based on theoretical projections rather than physical experimental data. The answer to this question depends in part upon whether you're writing an undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation.

For most students, an undergraduate dissertation is their first opportunity to engage in detail with scholarship in their fields and to design and conduct a rigorous research project.

In an undergraduate dissertation, you therefore need to show a capacity to engage with a broad field of research, to synthesise diverse and even opposing approaches to a problem, and to distil this down into a design for a research project that will address your research questions with the appropriate level of scholarly level. The ability to synthesise what you've learned from scholars in your discipline, and to shape that into a methodology that you can use to shed light on your research question, is therefore key to a successful undergraduate dissertation.

The best undergraduate dissertations will of course show originality of thought and may even be able to make an original contribution to their field — but the focus will generally be on demonstrating that you have the fundamental research skills to undertake investigative work in your field. A postgraduate dissertation , by contrast, can be expected to make a substantial contribution of high-quality, original research to its field.

The best postgraduate dissertations will be publishable by leading journals, or even as scholarly monographs. As you build your career as an early career researcher, the impact of your dissertation on its field — as measured by citations in the work of other scholars — will be crucial to enhancing your academic reputation. It's important to remember that the dissertation's value to other scholars won't just be its findings or conclusions, and that your research's emerging importance to the field will be measured by the number of scholars who engage with it, not those who agree with it.

Although some scholars may well cite your conclusions as a basis for their own work, a far greater number of citations is likely to result regardless of discipline from your development of a framework that other scholars can use as a point of departure for their own work. If you've come up with a methodology that is both original and grounded in the research, this will probably be the aspect of your work that other scholars value the most.

Their own work might build upon, develop or modify your methodology in some way; they might apply your methodology to a different data set in order to contest your findings, or they might even take it and apply it in a new context that hadn't even occurred to you! The best postgraduate dissertations are those that convince at every level — that are based on a rigorous engagement with the field, that develop reproducible frameworks for engaging with that field, and that supply high-quality and convincing results and conclusions.

But the methodology is the central point around which the dissertation — and its potential impact to the field — pivots. When developing and presenting your dissertation methodology, you should therefore think not just about how well it can answer your particular question, but also about how transferable it is — whether it can be used by other scholars to answer related questions, or whether it can be made more adaptable with just a few tweaks without compromising your own use of it, of course.

And when presenting your dissertation, don't forget to emphasise the value of the methodological framework you develop, if it is indeed adaptable to other related contexts. You're underselling your research if you suggest its only value lies in its conclusions, when the approach it takes to your data or source material in arriving at those conclusions is potentially of equal if not greater value.

Your dissertation methodology, as we've now discussed in some detail, is the engine that drives your dissertation, and as such it needs to be grounded, theoretically rigorous, and, where possible, sufficiently adaptable to be used in other contexts to answer different research questions within your field. However, in focusing on all this it's easy to forget that all dissertations — even the seemingly driest, most scientific of them — are fundamentally pieces of persuasive writing: A crucial but often neglected component of this persuasive function is the role of rhetoric in persuading your audience of the merits of your work.

The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing , Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein discuss what they call the art of metacommentary, "a way of commenting on your claims and telling others how — and how not — to think about them". This kind of commentary allows you to control the agenda for discussion of your work, and to head off potential objections to your arguments and methods at the pass.

Sound rhetorical presentation of your methodology is not just "decoration" — it forms an integral part of its overall rigour and structural soundness, and can make the difference between a 2: Here are some of the ways in which you can use metacommentary to shape your audience's response to your methodology.

The roads not taken It's very likely that the approach you've taken to your research question is one of many approaches you could have taken — and in your literature review you probably engaged with or read about lots of approaches that, for one reason or another, you decided not to take.

Your methodology chapter is not the place to go into detail about these methodologies hopefully your literature review does this , but you should remind your reader that you actively considered these other methodologies before deciding on your own. Even if you decided on your methodology early on in your research process, it should appear rhetorically as the result of a careful weighing of competing factors, before you decided on the most logical choice.

A little reassurance goes a long way Judicious use of metacommentary can also help to make up for any shortcomings in your methodology section, or simply create a sense of balance between scholarly groundedness and innovation if your methodology might seem to veer a little too much in one direction or another.

If your methodology takes a bold new step that some may find off-putting, you can acknowledge this whilst taking extra care to emphasise its grounded relationship to established work in the field. You might, for instance, ensure that you refer back to your literature review frequently and use phrases like, "This approach may seem like a significant departure from established approaches to this field, but it combines the proven data-gathering techniques of X with the statistical analysis model of Y, along with the following innovations".

Signposting Flagging what each section of an argument is doing is vital throughout the dissertation, but nowhere more so than in the methodology section.

You can significantly strengthen the justification you provide for your dissertation methodology by referring back to your literature review and reminding your reader of conclusions you've drawn — and if you're feeling really confident you can gently hint to your readers that they agreed with you, using a formulation like, "As we have seen, method X is extremely useful for approaching questions related to Y, but less applicable to problem Z".

You should be careful with this approach, of course — claiming you've proved something when this transparently isn't the case isn't going to bring your readers onside — but if your argumentation is already strong, rhetorical techniques like this can help underline the structural coherence of your work. Defining your own terms If you don't define your own measures for success and failure, readers can infer from the overall structure of your argument the terms on which it was trying to succeed, and judge it accordingly.

On the other hand, defining your own set of success criteria and help within reason helps to ensure that your readers evaluate your work on these terms.

Again, your dissertation methodology is a critical space in which to establish these criteria: Statistic analysis, limitations of the study that involves issues akin to the external validity. We comprehend your agony of writing a dissertation methodology, and this is the reason we want to assist you with our dissertation writing services that will help you to score top-notch grades and will certainly impress your University professor. What are you waiting for? This Website Uses Cookies We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

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A key part of your dissertation or thesis is the methodology. This is not quite the same as ‘methods’. The methodology describes the broad philosophical underpinning to your chosen research methods, including whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods, or a mixture of both, and why.

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Your dissertation methodology provides a detailed account of both how you'll approach your dissertation and why you've decided to approach it in this way.

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How to write a methodology? Dissertation Help. To address how to write a methodology, in the Methodology section of your dissertation you have to justify and explain your choice of methodologies employed in your research. The types of method suitable for a dissertation could include content analysis, a small scale ethnographic study, small scale in-depth qualitative interviewing. Whether you choose qualitative or quantitative analysis will depend on several things.

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Writing a dissertation methodology chapter can be very challenging, especially if you are having difficulties with expressing yourself on paper. We offer assistance in custom methodology chapter writing. Dissertation Methodology. If you are a taking a taught or research-based masters course, or doing a PhD, then you will likely be asked to present a dissertation that includes research and data from a project .