Recommendations on How to Write a Methodology for a Dissertation

One of the most complicated parts of an academic paper is a methodology. This section provides detailed information about the way the subject has been explored. When creating this unit, it is required to properly explain what types of methods for gathering data you have used, i.e. qualitative or  quantitative, or both. In addition, it is necessary to justify why you have adopted specific approaches to examining the matter. In case you do not understand how to write a methodology for a dissertation, you will find this article particularly helpful. You will find out all the peculiarities of producing this chapter.

Being aware of different types of research methods is of immense importance for those involved in academic writing. One should keep in mind that such phrases as “To my mind…” or “I consider this…” are insufficient to explain the reasons for selecting and applying particular research techniques to analyzing the topic.

Distinguishing Features of a Methodology Section

A methodology unit serves as a plan describing the research process in detail. In this part of your dissertation, you need to present the sources you have used for collecting the material about the phenomenon you are dealing with. You are also required to state why you have implemented the very scientific techniques to evaluating the gathered information. The main sections of a methodology are the research model, philosophical approach, methods for gathering data, research restrictions, ethical issues, and techniques for assessing material.

The students, who are going to hand in their dissertations as a single project, should also highlight the changes that have been introduced to the work in the process of writing in the dissertation methodology. Whatever the alterations you have made are, you are required to provide sound reasons for each of them.

Picking the Right Dissertation Research Methods

Your methodology section has to be entirely focused on the posed research question.

In order to define the most suitable approach to exploring the subject, you should go to the library and look through the books or articles that provide useful information about diverse methods that are widely used for conducting research. Browsing a large number of sources will help you work out your research strategy and pick effective research methods. The restrictions relating to the selected research direction should be clarified as well.

Note that whatever the way you choose to examine your subject, some academicians may either approve it or not. You should impart facts and provide solid evidence in support of the applied approach.

How to Structure a Methodology Chapter Properly

Usually, a methodology comprises the following structural components:

  • Research Model and Strategy
  • Philosophical Approach
  • Methods for Gathering and Assessing Data
  • Ethical Issues, Restrictions, Accuracy
  • Research Model and Strategy

Reputable sources of information state that the chief purpose of the research model is to encourage the academician to investigate the matter thoroughly by gathering relevant material and presenting valid arguments. If to be precise, this dissertation unit should make the process of gathering material clear. The scholar has to spell out why the peculiar techniques for collecting information, i.e. surveys, interviews, questionnaires, etc. have been adopted. What is more, it is necessary to point out the criteria for picking the participants for the study, i.e. age, profession, social class, etc. What questions are you going to ask the interviewees and how their answers will help you clearly illustrate the discussed issue? You should prepare the questions you intend to pose in advance, when setting your research goal namely. Thus, it will be easier for you to change the questions in case you are not able to achieve the desirable outcome by using the chosen methods for collecting material.

It should be admitted that it is very useful to come back to the research questions when creating the research model unit. Such an approach will help you define whether the research steps you are going to take are efficient in tackling the addressed problem. In a few words, you have to ensure that the material you intend to gather is pertinent to the topic of your academic paper. Bear in mind that the length and complexity of this chapter depends on the academic discipline and extent of your study. No matter the word count, a solid research model section should:

  • Provide information about the research model alternatives. It should also give explanations as to why your research model is the most appropriate for analyzing the issue.
  • Present a review of the available sources highlighting your research problem.
  • Indicate the problem your study is focused on.
  • State how the amassed material will help you represent the essence of the discussed subject.
  • Describe the adopted research techniques.
  • Discuss whether the determined methods for assessing data are useful for examining the hypothesis.

Philosophical Approach as a part of a Methodology Section

This subsection of a methodology chapter should discuss the direction you are going to follow when researching the topic. In addition, it should serve as a basis for your research pattern. Those who intend to write an academic paper including a methodology unit should know that there are four fundamental philosophical research approaches that are mainly used by all academicians. They are positivism, constructivism and post-positivism, interpretivism, and pragmatism. Mind that there are also other modes which you can refer to when doing research. What type of the research mode to choose? It depends on various factors including the type of your study, its complexity, and subject. No matter the kind of the used philosophical method, you will be supposed to make firm statements about the explored phenomena.

After selecting a suitable philosophical research mode, you will need to highlight the peculiarities of your research and respond to all Wh-questions, i.e. why, where, what, and when. Furthermore, you will be required to decide whether to use qualitative, quantitative or both types of analysis. Depending on the adopted method, the process of gathering data will be arranged in a particular way. For example, if you decide to use the positivist mode, identify the research hypothesis, and apply it to real-life situations, you will be required to perform quantitative analysis and gather a considerable amount of material to examine the hypothesis.

Another option is to carry out a qualitative analysis. In this case, you will need to expand the scope of your research by defining the emotions people experience when dealing with the subject you are investigating. When taking a qualitative approach, your task will be to gather the answers given by the respondents and analyze them with the aim of developing the concepts relating to your field of study. It is also possible to use both types of analysis (such an approach becomes very popular among the academicians). Such a technique is rather effective if you aim to apply the data analyzed by using quantitative research methods to everyday life and present all the peculiarities of the examined issue.

Dissertation Methodology Structure: Methods for Gathering and Assessing Data

In this part of your methodology, it is necessary to describe how you have collected material and concisely discuss the means you have used to scrutinize it. For instance, in order to cover the topic completely and prove that your position on the matter is right, you may carry out interviews or surveys. When using specific computer programs to processing and storing data such as Excel, for example, you will need to explain why the very software is the most suitable. In this unit, you will be also required to expound how you have achieved particular research results and why you consider them reliable. You should know that both your professor and readers desire to see the connection between the obtained results and the research question/problem you are investigating. Do keep in mind that you should not hesitate to consult with your instructor about different issues if you do not have a clue about how to write a methodology appropriately. Do not neglect the advice given by your professor. Thus, you will be able to create a quality methodology unit.

Ethical Issues, Restrictions, Accuracy

The following elements should be also included in your methodology:

Ethical Issues

When producing an academic paper, it is essential to pay close attention to those beyond the conducted research. What does it mean? Any of the aspects of your work should not offense anyone. Here it also goes about protecting and managing data. Such notion as confidentiality should be taken into consideration as well. All the mentioned points are to be highlighted in this section.


Is your study feasible? Can the academicians working in the same academic field rely on the results which you have obtained in the course of research? Remember that your dissertation has to be original and reasonable.


Defining the restrictions of one’s research is a must for a professional writer.  Mind that any restrictions on the ways of gathering data (for instance, you are using only one source) may negatively influence the research results. The best example of such restrictions is interviewing people of the same profession when there is a possibility of questioning people working in different areas.

Concluding Paragraph

This section has to be written in the best possible way, as it can greatly influence your grade in a dissertation or a research paper. Thus, make sure you have chosen the right philosophical approach and research model for your study. Additionally, remember to use authoritative sources. If you have any doubts about the selected methods or any other points of your research, talk to your professor.

We hope we have provided you with helpful tips on how to write a methodology for a dissertation.

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