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Dissertation Methodology: The Backbone of Dissertation Writing

UserMark time18 December,2014

If you are pursuing a research-based Masters course or Ph.D., you are likely to be asked to present a dissertation. One of the key factors to successfully present your research is the dissertation methodology. It can be described as vital part of your dissertation writing that explains how you carried out your research, such as from where you manage to collect the data, what kind of data collecting techniques you used, and so forth.

Dissertation Methodology

Importance of dissertation methodology

Let’s see why dissertation methodology is crucial in dissertation writing.

  • Dissertation methodology is the way to find the results of a given problem on a specific matter.
  • If a researcher does not work systemically on dissertation methodology, he or she counters problems in finding the final result of a given question.
  • Only if you choose correct research methodology, you can solve the problem while exploring your research question.
  • When someone reads your methodology, it gives the reader the idea to create methods similar to the ones you have used to obtain your data. It is more like a guide to your readers.
  • This section explains why you used those particular techniques to gather your data.

Common research methods

There are numerous research methods that can be used to research. The following research methods are commonly used in humanities subjects.

1. Interviews:

One of the most flexible and widely used methods for gaining qualitative information such as people’s experiences, views and feelings. An interview can be defined as the guided conversation between a researcher and somebody from whom you wish to learn something.

2. Observations:

One of the most effective practices that researcher use to know what people do under certain circumstances. You simply watch the people under those circumstances to get more information. You can use observations in both quantitative and qualitative research.

3. Questionnaires:

If you think your research question requires you to collect standardized information from a number of people, questionnaires is the best method you can use. Similar to observations, questionnaires method is also employed in both quantitative and qualitative method.

4. Documentary Analysis:

If you want to collect data from existing documents without questioning people through interviews and questionnaires or observing their behavior, documentary analysis can be an appropriate method for you. Documentary analysis method is mainly used by historians to obtain data about their research subjects.

How to choose your research methodology?

One thing you should keep in mind that your methodology should be linked to your research questions. Your methodology should also analyze the weaknesses of your chosen approach and how you plan to avoid those pitfalls. Here you are going to get an understanding of what approach should you take while conducting your research work.

1. Qualitative versus Quantitative:

While you are carrying out with your dissertation research, you either use quantitative or qualitative method or both of them But how you decide on the suitability of particular approaches to your topic? Moreover, you need to justify the why you have chosen to use such data.

  1. Quantitative method is particularly used when you wish to discover common forms of behavior such as usage of illegal drugs for particular age group.
  2. Qualitative data is mainly useful when you intend to know why people engage in such behavior.

2. Combination of Quantitative and Qualitative methods:

There are many places where you can use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Here is an example:

You may want to implement quantitative data primarily looking at social trends or policy implications. However, you may want to utilize qualitative data to introduce a ‘human touch’ by conducting one or several interviews, asking questions on the social trends and personal experience of it. Here is the way to use both qualitative and quantitative data. After doing the quantitative analysis, you should include a chapter or section referring to the qualitative data. In your discussion of findings, you can use the qualitative data to help understand the patterns in quantitative analysis.

Structuring your methodology

When you are writing dissertation proposal, you must include you research methodology in it.

  • Methodology usually starts with setting out the conceptual framework in which you plan to operate with reference to the key texts on the approaches.
  • Your methodology should explain the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen approach. You should also describe how you plan to address them.
  • You should then move to discussing your research questions and how you plan to address each of them.
  • You can draw the conclusion of your methodology by summarizing your research methods, underpinning approach. In addition, you can mention what you see as the key challenges that you will face in your research.

If you want to write a perfect dissertation, you must choose a proper research methodology for your dissertation. Always draw the resources available to you and don’t forget to discuss it with your supervisor who may be able to suggest whether the approach has significant flaws and could be eliminated in some way.

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