Students need to submit a dissertation when they are writing their thesis, the format of which is fixed. There are different sections and chapters that they need to cover when writing a research paper.
Students always stumble when they come to the research methodology chapter for their thesis. We shall have a look at how to go about writing this chapter in the following paragraphs and learn the correct way to do so.
When you are writing a dissertation, there is a general set format that is to be followed. This means you need to cover the following chapters:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Chapter I - Introduction
- Chapter II - Background
- Chapter III - Methodology
- Chapter IV - Results
- Chapter V - Conclusions and Recommendations
Each of the chapters are further divided into subtitles. Students know how to write the introduction part, but may find it difficult to explain their methodology. This is the most important part of your research paper, as you will be giving an insight to your readers about how you conducted the research and came up with the conclusions.
In the methodology chapter, you have to provide the reader with a quick overview of the way you were able to gather information as well as material for your paper. This chapter is where you need to include the techniques undertaken to collect data.
This means explaining the surveys, data mining, interviews, and experiments you may have conducted to propose your conclusion. Also, include the procedures for data analysis, like an analysis formula.
You should also be able to justify your methods, so as to give them more credibility. This is true especially for students who are writing a scientific thesis. A methodology is the most crucial point and should be presented thoroughly and in a concise manner.
The best way to demonstrate your research is by using a qualitative or quantitative process. The following are the general guidelines that you should follow, depending on the type of dissertation or research paper you are writing.
Tips for writing a Methodology
When you write a methodology, keep in mind that you are supposed to explain your basic research plan. You need to begin with a few introductory lines that restate your purpose for the research. You can use the basic phrases and statements you used in the Introduction chapter. Then you need to write the following information in the methodology chapter:
You need to define the population or sample you have taken into consideration in this part. Then, you need to explain how many participants or samples were included in the study and the way you selected them.
For example, "The population considered for this study is defined as the number of OPD patients who have made a purchase from the hospital pharmacy during the time frame of this sampling." You can explain the population considered using just one short statement. However, when it comes to the procedure of sampling, you need to explain it in detail.
You will also have to give details of how you selected the sample, the place, time, specific names (if possible or needed), number of participants or samples considered, etc. Do not miss out on any details, as it very important to explain the representation of your population to the reader.
The instrumentation part is where you explain the calculations, techniques, procedures, calibration plots, or equipment used, whichever is applicable for your paper. If you have conducted a survey, then explain how, when, and why you conducted it.
If you are using a survey conducted by someone else, make sure that you cite the source. You should include the original copy of the survey in the appendix and state in your methodology that the survey is included in the appendix.
Time Period and Procedure
Another important aspect is to explain when you began conducting your research and the time it ended or will end. You should also explain any of the procedures you followed while conducting the research, such as filling consent forms by the participants, instructions handed out to the participants, etc.
Now comes the most significant part of writing a methodology, where you need to analyze the data that you acquired in detail. You need to answer each of the research questions that you have to address.
Perform the statistical tests, specifically the ones that help identify the dependent and independent variables in the data (if present). You can even explain the software that was used to help you come to the conclusion.
In case of the instruments you have used for your research, e.g., a survey, you need to prove its validity as well as reliability. You need to include the face validity of your survey, content validity that covers the topic, and construct validity that refers to the theories you have used to explore the survey.
Reliability is the stability of your research over time. If your survey consists of a measurement that can undergo random errors, it loses its reliability.
As you are writing a research paper, you will need to propose the assumptions that you made at the outset. You will need to specifically state the different assumptions made to support your research questions.
Limitations and Scope
Limitations and scope is the part and parcel of every research. Scope is the extent to which the research can be expanded and limitations include the time constraints, lack/loss of participants, etc. The quality of the research takes a downfall with an increase in the number of limitations.
When writing a methodology, always use past tense. Provide detailed information for your research so that it is easier for other researchers. Do not include any unnecessary information or outcomes that do not hold enough relevance. Make sure to proofread your thesis as many times as you can to minimize the number of errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes.