What is Methodology?
The word methodology refers to the techniques, practices, and procedures that a researcher uses when conducting research. There are many different types of research methodologies. Experiments, surveys, interviews, and archival research are all examples of different tools used in different research methodologies.
What Is the Methodology Section of a Dissertation?
The methodology section of your dissertation is where you describe what you will do and how you will do it. It’s where you outline the plan that you followed and the steps that you took in completing your research.
What Is the Purpose of the Methodology Section?
The methodology section is important to your dissertation because it shows your reader how you went about finding your results. In outlining your methodology, you’ll demonstrate that you’ve used legitimate scholarly methods. It’s one of the places in your dissertation where you show what you learned to do in graduate school: you learned to do research like a scholar! If you used new or innovative methods in completing your dissertation research, this is where you tell your reader about them. It’s your chance to demonstrate how you’ve contributed to the way that scholars in your field conduct research.
How Long Should My Methodology Section Be?
In some fields or departments, you may be expected to devote an entire chapter to describing and justifying your methodology. In other fields, there may be less of an emphasis on methodology. You may briefly describe your methods in a few pages of your introduction or first chapter. Your dissertation advisor can offer guidance on how extensive your methodology section needs to be. Failing that, a dissertation consultant can advise you on best practices for a methodology sections in your field of study.
What Should My Methodology Section Include?
Again, this will depend on your particular field of study. In Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation, the authors explain that, for a dissertation in the social sciences involving human subject research, you should describe the context or setting of your study (ie: when and where you conducted your research), who participated in the study, what instruments or methods you used to collect data, and what procedures you used to complete your study and analyze your data.
For other kinds of dissertations, your methodology section might be different. In a literature dissertation, for instance, your methodology section might outline which texts you are analyzing, and explain what theoretical perspective informs your analysis. It’s best to consult with your dissertation advisor – or a dissertation coach or consultant – about what is appropriate or necessary for your particular dissertation.
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