Crafting your Dissertation Methodology
The methodology chapter of a dissertation or thesis is a very critical aspect of the academic work. It describes the various research methods employed throughout the dissertation. This can be the use of a single method being qualitative or quantities or both methods. In all, you should be mindful of the method you choose and be certain that it can achieve the research objectives.
What your methodology should include:
If your decision is to submit your dissertation in chapters, it means you would submit the methodology chapter before you start the actual writing. If that’s what you seek to do, then this chapter should be exploited in the best possible way. You should, therefore, be able to link the methodology to your literature review section and explain why certain methods were used and their basis academically.
However, if you are submitting the work in its entirety, your methodology should state the procedures and any changes affected as it develops. The most important thing is that your choice of methodology should have an academic basis.
Example of Social Sciences Research Methods
There are several research methods you can explore when writing a dissertation in the social science field. These include:
The interview method is one of the simplest and broadly used when seeking qualitative information from people. In this, the researcher secures an interview section with the respondent/resource person to seek their personal or professional views about a subject matter. In this, the researcher may prepare a synopsis to guide the interviewee as to the format the interview would take and questions to be asked. That notwithstanding, the researcher is free to ask further questions or seek other clarity when it’s needed. A disadvantage of the interview method is that it can’t be used on a larger audience.
The observation method is best applied when the researcher seeks to ascertain the behavior of people under some conditions. You can use this method for both qualitative and quantitative research. An example is when the researcher wants to ascertain the impact of an introduction of traffic signs on a particular road. So does a slowdown sign at a dangerous curve really prompt drivers to slow? The researcher would then have to pitch a camp close to the curve to observe the number of cars that obey the said sign.
A questionnaire can be used in both qualitative and quantitative research. The method helps the researcher to collect more information from a large group of people in a standard way. However, there is a significant difference between this and an interview. For the questionnaire, you may not be able to generate detailed information compared to an interview. When designing the questionnaire, the researcher bears in mind the objective of the research and must use the least opportunity to obtain favorable answers.
In the documentary analysis, the researcher uses existing data for his/her analysis without relying on interviews, questionnaires, or observatory methods. The method is widely used by historians to obtain historical facts or antecedents from previous research.
How to Structure your Methodology
It would be best if you set an ideal framework for your methodology to guide you through the process. In selecting a methodology be mindful of its strengths and weaknesses and how such issues can be addressed. Is the method you are adopting tried and tested in the research under consideration or it’s at an experimental stage. Would the method churn out the needed results?
Your choice of methodology can determine the success of your dissertation. Therefore, don’t be in a rush at this section of your dissertation. Setting out things clearly will go a long way to help you. Also, seek help from your supervisor when encountering any difficulty.