Up until the point of writing your methodology, you will have defined your research question and conducted a detailed review of what other scholars in the field have to say about your topic. You will have used these observations, along with discussions with your supervisor, to plan how you're going to tackle your research question.
This could be planning how you'll gather data, or what models you'll use to process it, or what philosophical positions most inform your work. Following this, your dissertation methodology provides a detailed account of both how you'll approach your dissertation and why you've taken the decision to approach it in the way you have. Your methodology needs to establish a clear relationship between your research question, the existing scholarship in your field that you have surveyed as part of your literature review, and the means by which you'll come to your conclusions.
Therefore, no matter what subject area you're working in, your methodology section will include the following:. Key to justifying your methodology is demonstrating that it is fit for the purpose of answering the research problem or questions you posed at the start. You should recap the key questions you want to answer when introducing your methodology, but this doesn't have to be a word-for-word restatement; you might want to reword the problem in a way that bridges your literature review and methodology. This is the heart of the methodology but is not, by itself, a methodology.
This is the part of your methodology where you clearly explain your process for gathering and analysing data, or for approaching your research question. This should be clear and detailed enough that another scholar is able to read it and apply it in some way, outside of the immediate context of your dissertation. If you're offering a new theoretical take on a literary work or a philosophical problem, your reader should be able to understand your theory enough that they can apply it to another text or problem. If you're describing a scientific experiment, your reader should have all they need to recreate your experiment in a lab.
If you're introducing a new type of statistical model, your reader should be able to apply this model to their own data set after reading your methodology section.
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Your methodology doesn't just describe your method; it discusses the reasons why you've chosen it, and why you believe it will yield the best results, the most insightful set of analyses and conclusions, or the most innovative perspective. This will draw in part from your literature review , presenting your choices as informed and rooted in sound scholarship, while ideally also displaying innovation and creativity.
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You should also ensure that you relate the rationale for your method explicitly to your research problem; it should be very clear to your reader that the methodology you've chosen is a thoughtful and tailored response to the questions you're trying to answer. No research method is perfect, and it's likely that the one you've chosen comes with certain trade-offs.
You might, for instance, have chosen a small-scale set of interviews because the individual perspectives of a set of interviewees on the problem you're exploring is more valuable to you than a larger set of data about responses to the same question. But that means you've nevertheless sacrificed a quantitative approach to your problem that might have yielded its own set of important insights.
How to write a thesis proposal
Be honest and upfront — but not apologetic — about the limitations of your chosen method, and be ready to justify why it's the best approach for your purposes. While the outline of your methodology section will look much the same regardless of your discipline, the details are liable to be quite different depending on the subject area in which you're studying. Let's take a look at some of the most common types of dissertation, and the information required in a methodology section for each of them. A scientific study The methodology section for a scientific study needs to emphasise rigour and reproducibility above all else.
Your methods must appear robust to the reader, with no obvious flaws in the design or execution. You should not only include the necessary information about your equipment, lab setup, and procedure to allow another researcher to reproduce your method; you should also demonstrate that you've factored any variables that are likely to distort your data for example, by introducing false positives into your design , and that you have a plan to handle these either in collecting, analysing, or drawing conclusions from your data.
Your methodology should also include details of — and justifications for — the statistical models you'll use to analyse your data. Remember that a scholar might use any single part of your methodology as a departure point for their own work; they might follow your experiment design but choose a different model for analysing the results, or vice versa! A study in the social or behavioural sciences As with a scientific study, a social or behavioural sciences methodology needs to demonstrate both rigour and reproducibility, allowing another researcher to reproduce your study in whole or in part for their own ends.
However, the complexity of working with human subjects means there are a number of additional questions to consider. First of all, you'll want to answer certain broad questions about the kind of analysis you're undertaking: is it qualitative or quantitative, or a mixed approach that uses qualitative data to provide context and background to quantitative data or vice versa?
Sample Dissertation Proposals
Will you be conducting recorded interviews with your subjects, asking them to complete a written questionnaire, or observing them undertaking some activity or other? Or will you avoid doing your own research with human subjects at all, and base your research on documentary evidence or a pre-existing data set? What is the scope of your data and conclusions? Is there reason to believe it can be generalised to other contexts, or is it highly specific to the particular location or cultural context in which you conducted your research? In addition to answering all these questions, you must satisfy your reader that you have considered all the ethical questions associated with your research.
Part of this, of course, entails obtaining sign-off for your design from the appropriate ethics bodies, but even then there might be aspects of your study — inviting subjects to relive episodes of grief and trauma, for instance, or broaching culturally sensitive matters within a particular target group — that some readers could consider contentious or problematic.
Make sure you address such concerns head-on, and if necessary justify your methods by emphasising the potential value of your conclusions.
How to write a thesis proposal
A critical dissertation in the arts or humanities Methodological rigour is just as valuable in the arts and humanities as in the sciences and social sciences. However, if you're writing an arts or humanities dissertation the way in which you convey this rigour — and convince your audience of it - is a little different.
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Be firm and flexible! Say everything you want confidently to adapt your balanced view or suggest that you determined the best way to carry out your case study. Use this dissertation proposal outline to succeed. Follow all grammar rules in this paper while staying consistent, check supervisors for their confirmation, provide your future written model.
Ensure that any successful dissertation proposal sample helps you identify literature, research questions, problem statements, investigation methods quantitative or qualitative , data sources, references, analysis outcomes. Find any effective dissertation proposal template. Find key phrases or words to identify important questions because your answers will help you determine the best content.
Why is your research necessary? Your format depends on disciplines, like social sciences. Your first step is planning a future dissertation proposal structure because it requires, its main section, introduction, conclusion. How to write a dissertation proposal? Introduce your chosen topic in the first paragraph that offers an overview of your more specific research, explores its background to your wider subject area. Lay out your thesis.
Explain why you think that your research in this area is significant, how it can impact future studies, what effects it will bring. It consists of several subsections. Use your methodology section to outline different methods to process or college relevant data in your research. Explain what you will do. If your research is quantitative, include references to related surveys, questionnaires, other data sources.
Make its scope clear to readers. Share your realistic description of why you choose specific research methods before switching to further paragraphs. In your objectives and aims, highlight major issues that you attempt to explore or questions that you will answer in your paper. What do you want to achieve? Your literature review gives you a great opportunity to make good arguments for your research importance, connect it to similar projects, present it as some extension to relevant studies in this field.
How to write it? List significant sources, explain how they help you guide your research, place your work alongside other projects, show how it contributes to or elaborates a more general field.
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