When it comes to preparing a doctoral dissertation, the methodology section is easily one of the most challenging ones to write.
Filename: A doctoral student conducting research for their thesis
Alt Text: A PhD student preparing his dissertation methodology
The methodology section of a dissertation generally explains to the reader what research methods have been used in the thesis, while also informing them of the tools the candidate used to collect data. Typically, this section requires a detail-oriented approach and plenty of research.
Many doctoral students find the methodology section to be the most difficult component of the dissertation structure. Knowing and understanding the methods you’ll use is one thing, but explaining their relevance and importance in a manner that’s easy to read is quite another.
To help you out, the dissertation experts here at Panther Academic Editing have provided some tips.
Outlining Your Research Approach
The research approach you adopt has a significant bearing on the methods you use. For instance, qualitative research primarily deals with subjective meanings, while quantitative research focuses on statistics and numerical data. Being crystal clear about the approach you’re using will help the audience follow your work.
When it comes to the methodology section, attention-to-detail is critical. Make sure your data collection and assessment methods are described comprehensively and also relate to the sampling methods used (if applicable).
Justify Each and Every Decision
The primary goal with the methodology section is to persuade the audience to think that your approach is the right one, and that it will deliver findings that are accurate.
Now, in order to do this, you’ll have to justify each and every one of your decisions. An effective way of doing this is explaining how your chosen methods have helped you find the answers to your research questions. You could also discuss how your methods compare to the ones used in similar existing studies.
When you’re writing the methodology section, the appendices are your best friends. Any material that’s indirectly relevant can be put here. This includes consent forms, questionnaires, or any other documents that have been used in the research. This will help you make your methodology’s main body succinct and clear.
Maintain High Ethical Standards
Research necessitates high ethical standards—particularly if the research involves human subjects. If that’s the case with your dissertation, your methodology should contain a detailed section on the steps you took to minimize the risk of harm to your subjects. Of course, this will involve issues of consent and confidentiality.