The methodology section of your dissertation is similar to methods but has one major difference: the methodology is a broad philosophical explanation of your selected methods of research, whether you have chosen quantitative or qualitative methods, a combination of the two, and the reasons why. It’s important that you are clear about your choices and that you have applied academic rationale. The methodology section should always link back to the resources you have cited in your literature review and describe how your methods of research refine the available knowledge of your topic. Here are some simple guidelines for writing a great dissertation methodology section:
In researching scientific subjects you can choose from a number of approaches and should consult with your graduate advisor first. In research the social sciences, there are four major approaches: interviews, questionnaires, observations, and document analysis. Your methodology should directly relate to the questions you are trying to answer and previous studies. You should have conducted a large amount of study to this point, but you may need to identify and locate similar studies to get an idea for what approaches where used for them. You will find some previous studies either fit-in or fall-out in line with your work, thus providing you with an important question to consider: Did you choose the right approach?
Most students find it easier to write this section if they first think about its structure and create a simple outline. There are several questions you should ask yourself concerning the strength and weaknesses of your approach. Don’t ignore weaknesses; rather address them appropriately and provide statements of acknowledgement and the reasons why you still must approach your research as such. Introduce your research questions and explain how your approach will answer the questions either in support or disagreement with your hypothesis.
Your success weighs heavily on the chosen methodology and exact methods of research. It is crucial you spend ample time in order to be sure you get it right. Refer back to the available resources you have referred to in your study. If you are ever in doubt consult with your graduate advisor, who should be able to provide you with suggestions or point you in a different direction. Your conclusion should be no more than a few sentences, but it should leave the reader with no doubt that you have considered every possible angle and have applied the best methodology.