Understanding Research Methodology

| September 14, 2017

Understanding Research Methodology

WritePass – Dissertation Topics

What is Research Methodology?

The research methodology is an integral part of your study, and explains the methods you are planning to use to prove your thesis or answer your research question. As an example, if you would like to research what customers think about a new product, you will need to design a research methodology that accurately answers the question: either interviews, focus groups, or questionnaires.  The purpose of the research methodology chapter is to explain how you will conduct the research, and which data collection/analysis methods you will use.

The research methodology will detail:

  1. The framework of the research, including philosophies, assumptions, and theories
  2. The methods, procedures, and techniques you use to ensure the reliability and validity of the research
  3. The philosophical orientation of the research
  4. Justification for choosing the given research methodology
  5. The ethical considerations and limitations of the selected research method.

Designing Your Methodology Research

When you write your methodology for your research, you must already have a clear working hypothesis and research questions.  Preparing your research design is a challenging task, and involves the following tasks:

  • Defining the basis of information (qualitative, quantitative, or both)
  • Determining the subject matter of the research: basic, or experimental
  • Identifying the research methodology approach: longitudinal or cross-sectional
  • Determining the sample design:
  • Data collection methods
  • The plan for the data collection and analysis
  • Generalisation and interpretation

You have to justify your research methodology decisions by showing your understanding of different techniques. You also need to be aware of the risks and limitations of the selected data collection and analysis method, and show your competency in using different data analysis.

What to Include in Your Research Methodology

We have already covered mixed research methods in a different article, so be sure to check it out, however, in order to inform your readers about the study you have undertaken, you have to include the research strategy, research method, research approach and assumptions, data collection methods and tools, sample selection, research process, data analysis techniques, ethical considerations, and research limitations.  Below you can see what to include in each part of your methodology research.

  • Research strategy

You need to state how you will gather information, complete your analysis, literature review, and how you will draw conclusions.

  • Research method

You must choose between qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research methods.

  • Research approach and assumptions

You need to state whether or not your research is based on any assumptions or hypotheses, and how you will approach the topic.

  • Data collection methods and tools

Detail the strategy you will use to collect information: surveys, observation, statistics, or interviews, and list the tools and software you will use.

  • Sample selection

Provide a sample selection and inclusion/exclusion criteria. In case you complete  a research involving people, state the demographics of the sample.

  • Research process

Draw up a research process map that lists all the steps you have to ensure that the data will be reliable and delivered in a timely manner.

  • Data analysis techniques

State how you will analyse the results, for example software, spreadsheet, or thematic analysis in case you conduct a qualitative research.

  • Ethical considerations

Show your understanding of the ethical issues that might arise during the research and state how you will handle them.

  • Research limitations

You can state the limitations of the methodology uses, potential bias, or small sample size.

Research Methodology Examples

The research methodology is needed for most PhD Theses and dissertations. No matter if you are writing about patients’ experiences in a hospital or research new technologies in data protection, this chapter will be essential. Below you will find some examples of using methodology research descriptions the right way.

Nursing Research Methodology: Dementia Care

This study details the methods used for literature search for an empirical study focusing on different interventions for dementia care. The structure of this methodology chapter is different, as the study focuses on comparing existing research studies and drawing a conclusion.  Check out the nursing research methodology to see the structure.

Quantitative Research Methodology Sample

Writing a quantitative research methodology chapter should justify the selection of the data collection and analysis tools, and detail the methods, sampling strategy, and instruments used for collecting information. As you can see, this methodology research chapter includes the ethical considerations and the problems and limitations at the end of the section.

Read a sample quantitative research methodology chapter.

Business Case Study Dissertation Research Methodology

As you can see, the research methodology chapter is uniquely designed for case studies. In this sample, the author provides dissertation philosophy and a clear description of the research approach: mixed methods research, as well as the research strategy, detailing each step’s aim, sample size, type of questions, and the method of data analysis. The writer also provides a detailed description of the sampling method, primary data collection, and data analysis methods separately for quantitative and qualitative information.

Read the full case study methodology chapter.

Research Methodology for Quantitative Surveys Including Time Horizons

In this quantitative survey dissertation methodology chapter, you will find an introduction that justifies the selection of the methods and research strategy, as well as a research philosophy, research approach, strategy, and time horizons. If you take on a large scale research that will take months to complete, it is a good idea to provide a time horizon. In this sample chapter, you can see that the author utilizes  both primary and secondary research, and carries out a longitudinal research consisting of multiple phases. Therefore, a timeline helps planning all the steps and gives the reader a clear idea about the work involved in this study.

Do You Need Help with Writing Your Research Methodology?

If you are still confused about where to start writing your dissertation research methodology chapter, and would like some help selecting the right data collection and analysis methods, you can get in touch with our friendly team at WritePass, who have already helped many students in the past getting their research finished to a high standard, advising them on topics, methodology, and structure. Submit your question and get professional help from one of our academic researchers.

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Category: Dissertation Writing Guide