Your paper’s methodology section is designed to illustrate the connection between your research, the research in your field at large, and by which methods you came to your conclusion (hence the name methodology). While many students struggle with completing their methodology section, creating a great dissertation methodology is a lot easier than you think. Below are 10 tips to get you started.
Starting with the Basics
As mentioned above, your methodology section should function as a fusion of your research, your field, and your conclusions. Start the section off by giving a recap of the research questions your paper set out to answer. Your methodology section is meant to demonstrate that your data and methods or data collection are fit to answer your research questions. Restating these questions is a good way to remind your audience about the basics of your research. Since your methodology section comes directly after your literature review section, the restating of your research questions should also act as a way to link these two sections together.
Reproducibility is Everything
All good research obtained following the scientific method needs to be reproducible. Your methodology section should feature a detailed description of the techniques you used to collect your data. This is a very important part of your paper because in theory, other researchers should be able to reproduce your study and challenge your findings.
Justify Your Work
It is essential that clearly lay out your justifications for choosing the methods of data collection used in your research. Are these methods typical of your particular field? Did your test subjects display a certain characteristic that caused you to choose these methods? Whatever the case may be, part of your methodology section should be dedicated to explaining why your research methods were chosen over others. If your research features data collection methods that are at odds with similar research in your field, be prepared to provide sound justifications for your choice.
Playing off the justifications you provided in the last section, your methodology section also must provide a rational against alternative research methods. This part of your methodology should focus on providing critical analyses of alternative research methods in order to further justify your chosen methods. Your chosen research methods should be highlighted with their own critical analysis in this section. You should like of your rationale like a research method pros and cons section.
Generalizations are Everything
One of the most important parts of a methodology section is explaining how your research can be generalized. Being able to generalize your research is important because it means your data is representative of the larger population, not just your sample population. You should keep this section in mind when designing your methodology section as presenting data that is gives itself to generalization will make your findings more persuasive.
It is important to discuss the significance your sample size played on the statistical importance of your results. Since sample size is so important to the reliability and generalizability of your results, you should take care when designing this portion of your methodology section.