A guide to write an effective methodology for your dissertation


What is Methodology

Methodology is a vital part of the thesis or dissertation. But this is not exactly similar to ‘methods’. The methodology explains the wide philosophical support to your selected research methods, involving if the quantitative or qualitative methods or a combination of the duo are being applied by you, and with what reason. Methodology is the part of your dissertation that states the way your research was performed, the sources of your data, and the kind of data collection procedures that were used by you, etc. Usually, somebody going through your methodology need to get adequate idea so as to design methods much seem to be identical to those you had applied to collect your data; however it need not involve any interviews, reviews and questionnaires, which have been applied to carry out your research. The methodology part of the dissertation is mainly for stating the reason as to why you opted to apply these specific methods to collect the data. 


Dissertation methodology structure

Structure of Methodology

Dissertation methodology pertains to including the details, which helps the readers to understand precisely as to what your aim was, how you achieved your goal, and why you chose the process. These are some of the important aspects that should be kept in mind while communicating with the readers of your work. You should not involve yourself too much in listing the sources and methods and forget about including how and why they had been relevant for the specific research. It may sound superfluous, but you should do your research into the research methods since it will be helpful in identifying the kind of research methods, and the various kinds of research methods which would be the best for attaining the best possible cohesive outcomes from the dissertation project. This would be of benefit while writing your dissertation methodology. You can confidently write instead of guessing whether the documents had been written at a specific period, re-printed later, or while serializing the contents in a book form. The kind of research done by you would decide the amount of details needed to be included in the description part of your methods.

In case, for the research, you have prepared a sequence of the primary sources of research, like surveys, interviews, and more direct accounts obtained either by you personally or by someone else working at the time of the testing, then you have to include additional details in particularly splitting the steps that were taken for generating the sources as well as employing these sources in carrying out your research. When secondary sources are being used in writing the dissertation methodology, or literature having the data gathered by other researchers, then it is not required to include much detail in the explanation of your methods, even though you might like to be more comprehensive in the description of your study.

You have to be clear regarding the weaknesses and strengths of the approach you have chosen. You also need to be clear on how you intend to deal with them. While going through this strategy, you should also keep in mind not to overlook common issues like sample selection or regarding how to make the findings to be pertinent. Only after that, you should decide to proceed towards discussing the research questions, and make a plan about dealing with each one of them. At this point, you should set forth the research methods chosen, inclusive of the theoretical basis, and the necessary literature for underpinning them. You need to have a precise understanding as to whether the chosen method is an experimental one or is a ‘tried and tested’ one and the level of reliability one could put on the outcome. In the discussion section, you would also have to repeat this again. Your research might prefer to do a test on the research methods, to have an understanding as to if they are working in particular situations. The methodology need to clarify the weaknesses associated with the approach you have chosen and you need to plan to prevent the most severe perils, probably by triangulating the specified data with other types of methods, or your perception about the irrelevancy of the weakness. Lastly, you need to summarize the research methods, the supporting approach, and perception of the important challenges that would be faced by you in the research. These are some of the areas that you would need to revisit in the discussion.

The methodology can be constituted by using so many approaches, and the below given headings are written for providing you an improved picture regarding what is to be included, and also about the ways you may wish to state the findings:

Research Outline: to reemphasise the theme of the research.  

Research Design: The ways, the study has been set up, and what each of the part plan to attain.

Data Collection: What method you have made use of for collecting data (interviews, surveys, questionnaires, trials & so on). Never forget to mention the size of the sample and also the efforts to remove prejudice.

Data Analysis: Lastly, in the perspective of the research, what implications the data has? Whether the outcomes reach some conclusion? Do not forget to include what kind of data (primary or secondary data, quantitative or qualitative) has been worked upon, and how any of the variables affect the research outcomes.


Your success depends on the methodology, along with the precise methods that you have chosen in your research. The amount of time spent on this section ensures that you get it right and add value to your efforts. You should extract the best possible information from the resources accessible to you, for instance, discuss in detail regarding the course of action with your guide who might be able to advice whether the approach you have chosen has serious flaws, and has alternative ways of expressing them. As the dissertation methodology is an account of the research that you conduct, you should try to write it or at the minimum to draft it – while you collect the data. In case you are on a master’s course or a PhD course, then you might complete researching much before you initiate writing. However, it does not hurt to begin working on it much earlier. In this way, you could be on top of what is required to be done. Making an analysis of the research methods might assist you in finding any mistakes in the process of data collection or sources followed by their interpretation.

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