Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.
- Knowledge Base
- What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips
What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips
Published on 25 February 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022.
Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.
It should include:
- The type of research you conducted
- How you collected and analysed your data
- Any tools or materials you used in the research
- Why you chose these methods
- Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
- Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
- Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).
Table of contents
How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, frequently asked questions about methodology.
Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.
Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .
It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.
You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.
Option 1: Start with your “what”
What research problem or question did you investigate?
- Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
- Explore an under-researched topic?
- Establish a causal relationship?
And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?
- Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
- Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
- Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?
Option 2: Start with your “why”
Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?
- Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
- Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
- Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
- What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ?
Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .
In order to be considered generalisable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.
Here, explain how you operationalised your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion/exclusion criteria, as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.
Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.
- How did you design the questionnaire?
- What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
- Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
- What sampling method did you use to select participants?
- What was your sample size and response rate?
Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.
- How did you design the experiment ?
- How did you recruit participants?
- How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
- What tools did you use?
Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.
- Where did you source the material?
- How was the data originally produced?
- What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?
The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.
The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on 4–8 July 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.
Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.
In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.
Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)
Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.
- How did you find and select participants?
- How many participants took part?
- What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
- How long were the interviews?
- How were they recorded?
Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .
- What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
- How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
- How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
- How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?
Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.
- What type of materials did you analyse?
- How did you select them?
In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness shop’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.
Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.
Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.
Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.
Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods here.
Next, you should indicate how you processed and analysed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.
In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:
- How you prepared the data before analysing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
- Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
- Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )
In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).
Specific methods might include:
- Content analysis : Categorising and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
- Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
- Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context
Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.
Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.
In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .
- Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviours, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
- Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalised beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
- Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalisable.
Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.
1. Focus on your objectives and research questions
The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .
2. Cite relevant sources
Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:
- Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
- Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
- Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature
3. Write for your audience
Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.
Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.
Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your objectives.
Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyse data (e.g. interviews, experiments , surveys , statistical tests ).
In a dissertation or scientific paper, the methodology chapter or methods section comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion .
Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.
Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.
Quantitative methods allow you to test a hypothesis by systematically collecting and analysing data, while qualitative methods allow you to explore ideas and experiences in depth.
A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research.
For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.
Statistical sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. There are various sampling methods you can use to ensure that your sample is representative of the population as a whole.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.
McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved 28 August 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/methodology/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to write a dissertation proposal | a step-by-step guide, what is a literature review | guide, template, & examples, what is a theoretical framework | a step-by-step guide.
Writing the Methodology: Writing the methodology
- Skills for studying online
- Learning online
- Managing your time
- Collaborating online
- Using your library
- Staying social
- Using technology
- Academic integrity online
- What is academic integrity?
- Citing and referencing
- Referencing software
- Research ethics
- Integrity Officer/Panel
- Intellectual property and copyright
- Learning from lectures
- Effective reading
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Assignment types
- Subject guides
- Skills development
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Faculty of Arts and Humanities
- Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
- Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Social Sciences
- Maths and Statistics Support
- Problem solving
- Maths skills by discipline
- Introduction to research skills
- Primary research
- Research methods
- Managing data
- Searching the literature
What does a methodology chapter need to include? What's the best way to structure the chapter? What does validity in research mean?
- For answers to these questions, and further tips on writing this chapter of your dissertation, consult our Writing the Methodology guide .
- You can also watch our recorded webinar Writing the Dissertation: the Methods or Methodology to learn the difference between the methods and methodology, what's expected and practical ways of structuring the chapter in a clear and coherent way.
Working with primary research? Take a look at our webpage for guidance on different forms of Primary research .
Look at our Research methods webpage to help you identify the right methodology for your dissertation.
- Last Updated: Aug 21, 2023 11:35 AM
- URL: https://library.soton.ac.uk/sash/dissertation-planner/writing-methodology
How to Write the Methodology for a Dissertation
The ‘methodology’ chapter tells the reader exactly how the research was carried out. So, it needs to be accurate.
After all, the benchmark of a ‘good methodology’ is whether or not the reader feels confident enough to replicate it. To inspire that level of confidence in your reader, you’ll need to be clear and precise.
But how do you write a clear and precise methodology chapter? Well, begin by identifying the key elements of a research methodology.
What should a methodology include?
Methodology chapters do vary, so it’s difficult to provide an exhaustive checklist. Having said that, most good methodologies tend to include:
- An outline of the research design-including how it will answer the research question(s)
- A description of the research philosophy
- A description of the research approach
- An outline of the research strategy
- A description of the research methods: This may include sub-sections such as: Sampling, Procedure, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Validity & Reliability, Ethics, etc., – this largely depends on the degree you are studying.
Each element can be quite tricky to get your head around, so let’s explore them in a bit more depth.
1. An overview of the research design
Before writing your methodology, you should know which research design you are using. Broadly speaking, there are three types of Research Design : Experimental, Descriptive, and Review. Under these headings, there are various sub-types, as shown in the table:
Most methodology chapters begin with a description of the research design. Then, with reference to the research question(s), they explain why the research design was a suitable choice.
2. Define the research philosophy
Secondly, you should clearly describe which research philosophy (or epistemology) you adopted.
This might seem like a waste of time, but it’s not!
If you clearly communicate your research philosophy to the reader, they’ll be able to understand what assumptions you made whilst conducting your research. This will not only make your research simpler to understand, but it’ll also make it easier for someone to replicate.
According to Saunders et al., (2009) , there are, broadly speaking, 5 philosophical approaches:
You should be clear about which ‘world view’ you adopted when you carried out your research. Importantly, this can help you to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your research. It’s this kind of critical thinking that’ll earn you the best grades!
3. Define the research approach
Next, you should explain whether your dissertation took a ‘deductive’ or ‘inductive’ approach. What’s the difference? Well,
- Deductive research tests a specific theory, often in a novel setting or with a novel population group. It is most compatible with a positivist philosophy, but it works with other philosophies, too.
- Inductive research explores a particular phenomenon and uses the findings to shape new theory. It is most compatible with interpretivism or post-modernism.
It’s best to thinking of deductive research as a “top-down” or “theory-led” approach, and inductive research as a “bottom up” or “findings-led” approach.
If you are not sure, ask yourself whether you formulated a hypothesis or not. If you have a hypothesis, your research is probably deductive.
4. Name the research strategy
The methodology should also define your chosen research strategy (quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods). In brief:
A quantitative strategy collects numerical data, which is then analysed through statistical methods. In contrast, a qualitative strategy collects textual data, perhaps from interviews or media sources, and analyses it through a qualitative method such as thematic analysis. Finally, there’s the mixed-methods approach that combines both strategies in one dissertation.
When it comes to choosing a research strategy, there’s no ‘one best way’ as it really depends on the aims of your research. If you need help choosing a research strategy, one of our PhD Experts would be glad to assist.
5. Research methods in focus
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to get down the ‘nitty-gritty’. Indeed, most methodologies will cover some or all of the following:
- Sampling – Clearly explain your sampling method.
- Procedure – You should provide a clear description of how/where/when/ the research took place.
- Data collection – How was the data collected and stored?
- Data analysis – Provide a clear description of how you analysed the data. If you used a qualitative method like ‘thematic analysis’ (TA), make sure you cite which researcher’s TA method you followed.
- Validity – Consider, did the results really measure what you intended them to? How did you make sure of this?
- Reliability – Also, if this study was replicated, would similar results be produced?
- Ethics – You should discuss the ethical implications of you research, put any Ethics forms in the Appendix, and then refer to these in the methodology.
Often, it helps to use these as subheadings to organise your ideas. But, bear in mind that some of the above headings might not be relevant to your dissertation.
How should I structure my methodology?
One of the most common questions students ask is ‘How do I structure the methodology for my dissertation?’ . It’s quite difficult to advise on this because each dissertation varies.
However, as mentioned, most methodologies begin with an overview of the research design and a re-iteration of the research question(s). Then, a description of the research philosophy, approach, and strategy are provided. Finally, once all that is out of the way, the procedure, sampling, data collection/analysis, validity and reliability, and ethics etc., are usually discussed.
For further guidance, it’s advisable to:
- Check your university’s dissertation guide
- Speak to your supervisor
- Take a look at dissertation examples from previous years
- Consult your referencing style guidance (e.g. APA, Harvard) for any specific requirements.
Do all dissertations have a methodology?
If you are studying Natural Sciences, Computer Sciences, Psychology, Business/Management, or a Health-related degree, chances are your dissertation will need a ‘Methodology’ chapter. On the other hand, if you are studying a Humanities or Arts degree, you probably won’t need to include a ‘Methodology’ chapter.
In that case, you’ll probably explain your research design in the Introduction of your dissertation . As always, it’s best to check with your supervisor if you are unsure.
Tips for writing a robust methodology
Here are some final pointers by our dissertation writing service to keep in mind when writing your methodology chapter:
- A common mistake students make is that they write too many words for the methodology chapter. Generally speaking, the methodology should account for around 15% of the full dissertation . Don’t make the mistake of spending too long evaluating every possible philosophy, design or strategy that you could have chosen. Instead, provide clear and succinct reasoning for the choices you’ve made, and this will allow your critical thinking skills to shine through. If you’re struggling to achieve this, our academic editors can show you how to write in a critical yet concise manner.
- Use sub-headings as these help to make the methodology much more readable. However, make sure you observe any conventions from your dissertation handbook.
- Write in the past tense. In a dissertation proposal , the methodology is written in the future tense (e.g. “The research design will be…”). However, when you come to write the methodology for the dissertation, this research has already been completed, so the methodology should be written in the past tense (e.g. “The research design was …”).
- Don’t fill up your methodology with resources that belong in the Appendices. For example, if you’ve used a questionnaire as part of your research, this should go in the Appendices. When you refer to the questionnaire in the methodology, this can be followed by: “(See Appendix X)”.
Writing the methodology isn’t easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest parts of the dissertation. But if you take it step-by-step and seek regular feedback from your supervisor, you’ll find it a lot easier.
You may also like
- Essay Writing
- Extended Essays
- IB Internal Assessment
- Theory of Knowledge
- Literature Review
- Research Writing
- Assignment Help
- Capstone Projects
- College Application
- Online Class
- Get Assignment Help
How to Write the Methodology Chapter: The Complete Guide
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to write the methodology chapter of a thesis, dissertation, or a research paper, step-by-step. So if you’ve reached this section in your assignment and you simply no idea how to proceed, this article will point you in the right direction.
You’ll learn what the methodology chapter is about and how you can go about writing one by following a systematic approach guaranteed to help you complete the project faster.
By definition, the methodology chapter of a thesis, dissertation, or research paper is the section where you explain about the specific research design options used in your research. It’s in the methodology chapter that you explain the process you used to design your research and give a justification for the research design.
In other words, the methodology section should clearly demonstrate:
- Whether you conducted quantitative or qualitative research
- The approach you used to collect the data
- What your approach to analyzing the data was and
- The kind of sampling that you did
With that said, let’s get into more details on dealing with the methodology chapter of your research work.
What is the Methodology Chapter for a Research Paper and Dissertation?
In your methodology chapter, you’ll explain the conceptual foundations of your study as well as the specific research design decisions you’ve made. The purpose of this chapter is to explain how you designed your research.
There are two reasons why your research paper, thesis, and dissertation should have a methodology section:
- It shows that you understand the concept of research design theory, that you understand what you’re doing in research, and that the results you’ll present have a high degree of credibility.
- Because it outlines the steps you took to do and analyze your research, the methodology chapter is what sets your study apart from the others. It also allows you to identify and describe any methodological concerns or problems that you ran into, as well as explain how you dealt with them.
How to Write The Methodology Chapter – Step-by-Step
It’s worth mentioning that the methodology chapter’s specific format and contents will differ based on the study topic and the university. We strongly recommend that you check with your professor to find out what structure they would like you to use.
More often than not, they will allow you to use the standard structure for your paper, which should make the writing process easier for you. Ideally, the methodology chapter of your research paper, thesis, or dissertation should have the following sections:
- Research design
- Methodological limitation
- A concluding summary
Let’s look at each section in more details below:
The methodology chapter should contain a brief introduction of your dissertation or thesis. You should remind your readers about the emphasis of your study, particularly the research objectives.
Your research design must correspond with your research aims, objectives, and research questions, so include this up front to remind the reader what you intend to accomplish with your research design.
We strongly recommend that you explain how you’ve organized the chapter. Doing so will make it easy for the reader to have a clear roadmap of what to expect from reading the rest of the section of your methodology chapter.
We like to refer to research design as the heart of the methodology chapter because it presents your research design in great depth to the reader. The information you provide here should be good enough to justify the design choices you made for your paper.
Here’s how to approach it:
1. Describe Your Methodological Approach
Start by explaining the research subject or problem you looked into. It could be that you wanted to methodically define something’s qualities, investigate a little-studied issue, or prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Whatever it is, write it down because it will guide your reader throughout the other section of the research design.
Some questions to think about when working on your methodological approach include:
- Did you require quantitative or qualitative data?
- Was it necessary for you to obtain primary data personally, or did you rely on secondary data gathered by others?
- Did you collect descriptive data by gathering observations without intervening, or did you collect experimental data by altering variables?
- Were there any ethical factors involved in your decision-making?
2. Explain Your Methods of Data Collection
Next step in research design is to explain the data collection method you used to gather information for your research project.
The following table is a summary of the data collection methods as used in research writing:
3. Explain Your Data Analysis Methods
The next step is to describe how you processed and analyzed the data.
- Quantitative analysis: Your analysis in quantitative research will be on numbers. You may include how you prepared the data for analysis, the computer software you used, and the statistical you employed.
- Qualitative analysis: Your analysis in qualitative research will be based on language, visuals, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis).
4. Methodological Limitations
You can admit to the approach’s limits or flaws, but explain why the advantages exceeded the disadvantages. Explain why prior strategies were ineffective in achieving your goals, and how this strategy adds new information or insight.
Your methodology should be a well-structured, unambiguous document that argues for your approach rather than a collection of technical information and processes.
You may also like
What are the elements of a good research proposal, what is thick description in qualitative research (answered), research questions: definition, types, and how to write one, 5+ elements of a good research problem explained, why research papers get rejected (3 reasons explained), steps of a research process: the complete guide for 2023.
Dissertations 4: methodology: structure.
- Introduction & Philosophy
Indicative Chapter Structure
If your department have given you guidance as to the structure of your methodology chapter, make sure you adhere to it.
If not, a typical structure might look something like this (but not necessarily including all these elements, and in this order!):
Primary and/or secondary sources?
Quantitative or/and qualitative method(s)?
Reflection on the methods
Limitations and delimitations
Each section is addressed in the tabs of this guide.
Always check with your supervisor or consult the assignment guidelines posted on Blackboard if you are unsure about which sections you will need to include in your dissertation.
The links below also suggest alternative structures:
How to write Research Methodology
How to Write Methodology for Dissertation
The Method Chapter
Writing the Methodology Chapter of a Qualitative Study
- << Previous: Start
- Next: Introduction & Philosophy >>
- Last Updated: Sep 14, 2022 12:58 PM
- URL: https://libguides.westminster.ac.uk/methodology-for-dissertations
CONNECT WITH US
Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template
A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.
Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.
Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.
You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.
Download Word template Download Google Docs template
- In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
- In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Table of contents
Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.
When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.
Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.
Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.
However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.
We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.
- Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
- Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
- Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).
The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.
Read more about title pages
The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.
Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces
The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.
Your abstract should:
- State your main topic and the aims of your research
- Describe your methods
- Summarize your main results
- State your conclusions
Read more about abstracts
The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.
Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.
Read more about tables of contents
While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.
Read more about lists of figures and tables
Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.
Read more about lists of abbreviations
In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.
Read more about glossaries
The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:
- Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
- Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
- Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
- Clearly state your research questions and objectives
- Outline the flow of the rest of your work
Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.
Read more about introductions
A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.
Literature reviews encompass:
- Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
- Assessing the credibility of your sources
- Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
- Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point
A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:
- Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
- Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
- Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate
Read more about literature reviews
Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.
Read more about theoretical frameworks
Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.
A methodology section should generally include:
- The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
- Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
- Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
- Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
- Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
- An evaluation or justification of your methods
Read more about methodology sections
Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.
Your results section should:
- Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
- Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
- Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.
Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections
Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.
Some guiding questions include:
- What do your results mean?
- Why do your results matter?
- What limitations do the results have?
If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.
Read more about discussion sections
Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.
In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.
It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?
Read more about conclusions
It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.
Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.
Create APA citations Create MLA citations
Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.
Read more about appendices
Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.
Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.
After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.
After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.
As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.
My title page includes all information required by my university.
I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.
My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.
I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.
My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.
My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .
My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).
I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.
I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.
I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.
I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .
I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .
I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .
I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.
I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.
If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.
I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.
I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.
I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .
I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.
The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.
If you’re an educator, feel free to download and adapt these slides to teach your students about structuring a dissertation.
Open Google Slides Download PowerPoint
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked.
- How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
- Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples
- How to Choose a Dissertation Topic | 8 Steps to Follow
More interesting articles
- Checklist: Writing a dissertation
- Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates
- Dissertation Binding and Printing | Options, Tips, & Comparison
- Example of a dissertation abstract
- Figure and Table Lists | Word Instructions, Template & Examples
- How to Write a Discussion Section | Tips & Examples
- How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal
- How to Write a Results Section | Tips & Examples
- How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion
- How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction
- How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
- How to Write Recommendations in Research | Examples & Tips
- List of Abbreviations | Example, Template & Best Practices
- Operationalization | A Guide with Examples, Pros & Cons
- Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples
- Purpose and structure of an advisory report
- Relevance of Your Dissertation Topic | Criteria & Tips
- Research Paper Appendix | Example & Templates
- Shorten your abstract or summary
- Theoretical Framework Example for a Thesis or Dissertation
- Thesis & Dissertation Acknowledgements | Tips & Examples
- Thesis & Dissertation Database Examples
- Thesis & Dissertation Title Page | Free Templates & Examples
- What is a Dissertation Preface? | Definition & Examples
- What is a Glossary? | Definition, Templates, & Examples
- What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips
- What Is a Theoretical Framework? | Guide to Organizing
- What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples
What is your plagiarism score?
- Google Meet
- Mobile Dialer
What Is A Dissertation Methodology Chapter
An essay on dissertation methodology is component of a research project that requires you to describe the methods you employed in your research and explain how you utilized the methods. The goal of a chapter on methodology is to demonstrate to a reader the credibility of a document he is likely to read, and it is a must for any dissertation or thesis.
In determining the methodological approach of a specific study, the researcher has to present only the methods which were used to conduct the study, in clear and in depth. It is required that you leave out methods you didn't actively employ in your research, and also not including any examples or examples of other authors as well as their work. The chapter on methodology is generally completed after the dissertation is finished, therefore students who choose to buying dissertations online can purchase this portion of their research separately.
What do I have for writing?
It is important to write as long as you can, but remain focussed on your subject The length is entirely up to you. Try to explain all the techniques you used and that should suffice. Make your choice, however, you must recognize that a couple of techniques are not enough to write a quality thesis. Pick the strategies that work best for your needs and in line with your area of study. This step can be very difficult and time-consuming for students, and they're often seeking volunteers to write or assist with the particular chapter they need help with.
What do I need to write for this section?
While you think about how to write your methodology section, it's essential to write down the methods you've employed and explain each technique clearly thoroughly and accurately You should also mention the way it helped you write your research. The methodology section in the dissertation should help make the outline of your research to those who aren't familiar with the dissertation is therefore accessible to everyone who reads it. The methodology section in a dissertation must be placed following the literature review. the aim of this chapter is to explain the methods that you came to your conclusion.
Methodologies for dissertations on secondary research
The methodology used to write dissertations can be divided into two broad categories: empirical and theoretical. You must plan to incorporate both kinds of dissertation as the subject matter for your dissertation is very large, and it requires to be supported and supported to cover every aspect; when deciding the method you'll be using, it is best to go through each and comprehend them at their fundamental.
Theories and methods
Theoretical techniques can be abstracted and generalized. They are responsible for the systemization of material facts. The methods of scientific research are classified into these categories: formalization, axiomatic dissertation abstract and general logical techniques. General logical techniques include cognitive synthesis, logical analysis essential deduction, as well as analogy.
Methods of empirical testing
Empirical methods allow us to study the practical aspect and the outcomes which are obtained. Based on these methods, specific data are recorded and tabulated. Various things can be discovered and explained. Empirical methods are observation and qualitative comparison, precise measurement and a unique experiment.
Observation is a method of observation that is defined by the activity and cognition. It is dependent on the human senses that are believed as the most primitive, basic and even reflexive. These observations yield outcomes that aren't solely based on desires, will and emotions. The observations are instructive in relation to the relation between them, and the characteristics of real objects, phenomena.
Comparison helps to establish of the similarities and differences between objects, phenomena and objects, while the measurement determines the numerical value for the unknown amount in units. The algorithm permits data to be gathered regarding the objects.
Through the use of the study, it's possible to discover the distinctive features and information about object: this algorithm is extremely helpful in dissertation writing. the AHEC's Ph.D dissertation writing service also employ it for writing.
At the very minimum, mention all of the methods in your outline of research. The research questionnaire indicates that an outline can assist students in dealing better with their thesis, and if it fails students may always seek the help of a thesis advisor. If you aren't sure how to structure this chapter this article can help in a way, whether it's a reference or just to ensure that you include the most important information.
Dissertation methodologies examples
Law dissertation methodology:
Theoretical: theoretic analysis of newspaper, books, and literature;
Empirical: interviews, questionnaires, opinion poll.
If you are required to write a thesis , you should take these strategies into consideration.
Frequently asked questions
How to structure a dissertation methodology .
- A brief summary of your research question
- Describe your design or method.
- The context and reasoning behind your design choice
- An assessment of your method of choice, as well as a statement of its limitations
What to Include in Your Dissertation Methodology ?
- Inquiry Logic (Qualitative or Quantitative)
- Participants and the research setting
- Data Collection Methods and Procedures
- Data Analysis Methods and Procedures
- Ethical Concerns
What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative research ?
What is the importance of research methodology in a phd , is research methodology hard , what is the purpose of methodology chapter in dissertation , what chapter is research methodology belong , what chapter is the methodology , what is a methodology chapter for a dissertation , how to start writing dissertation methodology .
- You must restate your research topic or question and provide an overview of how you intend to investigate it.
- Confirm whether you've chosen quantitative research, qualitative research, or a combination of the two.
- Explain your reasoning for selecting the research methods you did.
How to Write a Research Methodology ?
- Describe your methodological approach.
- Describe your data collection methods.
- Describe your research methods.
- Examine and defend your methodological choices.
- How to Write a Strong Methodology
- Methodology frequently asked questions
How long should a methodology section be in a dissertation ?
Top 10 Best Universities Ranking list in India 2022
Generic Conventions: Assignment Help Services
Research Paper Ideas For 2023
Top 5 Resources for Writing Excellent Academic Assignments
How to Write a Literature Review for Academic Purposes
Tips for Writing a killer introduction to your assignment
How To Write A Compelling Conclusion For Your University Assignment
Recommended Plagiarism Checkers for Teachers and Students
How to Distribute the Content on LinkedIn
Beware of writing these things in your Assignment
- How it works
Chapter 3 – Dissertation Methodology (example)
Disclaimer: This is not a sample of our professional work. The paper has been produced by a student. You can view samples of our work here . Opinions, suggestions, recommendations and results in this piece are those of the author and should not be taken as our company views.
Type of Academic Paper – Dissertation Chapter
Academic Subject – Marketing
Word Count – 3017 words
The current chapter presents developing the research methods needed to complete the experimentation portion of the current study. The chapter will discuss in detail the various stages of developing the methodology of the current study. This includes a detailed discussion of the philosophical background of the research method chosen. In addition to this, the chapter describes the data collection strategy, including the selection of research instrumentation and sampling. The chapter closes with a discussion on the analysis tools used to analyse the data collected.
Selecting an Appropriate Research Approach
Creswall (2013) stated that research approaches are plans and procedures that range from steps, including making broad assumptions to detailed methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The several decisions involved in the process are used to decide which approach should be used in a specific study that is informed using philosophical assumptions brought to the study (Creswall 2013). Included in this are procedures of inquiry or research designs and specific research methods used for data collection, its analysis, and finally, its interpretation. However, Guetterman (2015); Lewis (2015); and Creswall (2013) argue that the selection of the specific research approach is based on the nature of the research problem, or the issue that is being addressed by any study, personal experiences of the researchers’, and even the audience for which the study is being developed for.
There are many ways to customise research approaches to develop an approach most suited for a particular study. However, the main three categories with which research approaches are organised include; qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods. Creswall (2013) comments that all three approaches are not considered so discrete or distinct from one another. Creswall (2013) states, “qualitative and quantitative approaches should not be viewed as rigid, distinct categories, polar opposite, or dichotomies” (p.32). Newmand and Benz (1998) pointed out that quantitative and qualitative approaches instead represent different ends on a continuum since a study “tends” to be more quantitative than qualitative or vice versa. Lastly, mixed methods research resides in the middle of the continuum as it can incorporate elements and characteristics of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Lewis (2015) points out that the main distinction that is often cited between quantitative and qualitative research is that it is framed in terms of using numbers rather than words; or using closed-ended questions for quantitative hypotheses over open-ended questions for qualitative interview questions. Guetterman (2015) points out that a clearer way of viewing gradations of differences between the approaches is to examine the basic philosophical assumptions brought to the study, the kinds of research strategies used, and the particular methods implemented in conducting the strategies.
Underlying Philosophical Assumptions
An important component of defining the research approach involves philosophical assumptions that contribute to the broad research approach of planning or proposing to conduct research. It involves the intersection of philosophy, research designs and specific methods as illustrated in Fig. 1 below.
Figure 3.2-1- Research Onion (Source; Saunders and Tosey 2013)
Slife and Williams (1995) have argued that philosophical ideas have remained hidden within the research. However, they still play an influential role in the research practice, and it is for this reason that it is most identified. Various philosophical assumptions are used to construct or develop a study. Saunders et al. (2009) define research philosophy as a belief about how data about a phenomenon should be gathered, analysed and used. Saunders et al. (2009) identify common research philosophies such as positivism, realism, interpretivism, subjectivism, and pragmatism. Dumke (2002) believes that two views, positivism and phenomenology, mainly characterise research philosophy.
Positivism reflects acceptance in adopting the philosophical stance of natural scientists (Saunders, 2003). According to Remenyi et al. (1998), there is a greater preference in working with an “observable social reality” and that the outcome of such research can be “law-like” generalisations that are the same as those which are produced by physical and natural scientists. Gill and Johnson (1997) add that it will also emphasise a high structure methodology to allow for replication for other studies. Dumke (2002) agrees and explains
that a positivist philosophical assumption produces highly structured methodologies and allows for generalisation and quantification of objectives that can be evaluated by statistical methods. For this philosophical approach, the researcher is considered an objective observer who should not be impacted by or impact the subject of research.
On the other hand, more phenomenological approaches agree that the social world of business and management is too complex to develop theories and laws similar to natural sciences. Saunders et al. (2000) argue that this is the reason why reducing observations in the real world to simple laws and generalisations produces a sense of reality which is a bit superficial and doesn’t present the complexity of it.
The current study chooses positivistic assumptions due to the literature review’s discussion of the importance of Big Data in industrial domains and the need for measuring its success in the operations of the business. The current study aims to examine the impact that Big Data has on automobile companies’ operations. To identify a positive relationship between Big Data usage and beneficial business outcomes, the theory needs to be used to generate hypotheses that can later be tested of the relationship which would allow for explanations of laws that can later be assessed (Bryman and Bell, 2015).
Selecting Interpretive Research Approach
Interpretive research approaches are derived from the research philosophy that is adopted. According to Dumke (2002), the two main research approaches are deductive and inductive. The inductive approach is commonly referred to when theory is derived from observations. Thus, the research begins with specific observations and measures. It is then from detecting some pattern that a hypothesis is developed. Dumke (2002) argues that researchers who use an inductive approach usually work with qualitative data and apply various methods to gather specific information that places different views. From the philosophical assumptions discussed in the previous section, it is reasonable to use the deductive approach for the current study. It is also considered the most commonly used theory to establish a relationship between theory and research. The figure below illustrates the steps used for the process of deduction.
- confirmed or rejected
- Revision of theory
Based on what is known about a specific domain, the theoretical considerations encompassing it a hypothesis or hypotheses are deduced that will later be subjected to empirical enquiry (Daum, 2013). Through these hypotheses, concepts of the subject of interest will be translated into entities that are rational for a study. Researchers are then able to deduce their hypotheses and convert them into operational terms.
Hire an Expert Dissertation Chapter Writer
Orders completed by our expert writers are
- Formally drafted in an academic style
- Free Amendments and 100% Plagiarism Free – or your money back!
- 100% Confidential and Timely Delivery!
- Free anti-plagiarism report
- Appreciated by thousands of clients. Check client reviews
Justifying the Use of Quantitative Research Method
Saunders (2003) notes that almost all research will involve some numerical data or even contain data quantified to help a researcher answer their research questions and meet the study’s objectives. However, quantitative data refers to all data that can be a product of all research strategies (Bryman and Bell, 2015; Guetterman, 2015; Lewis, 2015; Saunders, 2003). Based on the philosophical assumptions and interpretive research approach, a quantitative research method is the best suited for the current study. Haq (2014) explains that quantitative research is about collecting numerical data and then analysing it through statistical methods to explain a specific phenomenon. Mujis (2010) defends the use of quantitative research because, unlike qualitative research, which argues that there is no pre-existing reality, quantitative assumes that there is only a single reality about social conditions that researchers cannot influence in any way. Also, qualitative research is commonly used when there is little to no knowledge of a phenomenon, whereas quantitative research is used to find the cause and effect relationship between variables to either verify or nullify some theory or hypothesis (Creswall 2002; Feilzer 2010; Teddlie and Tashakkori 2012).
Selecting an Appropriate Research Strategy
There are many strategies available to implement in a study, as evidenced from Fig. 1. There are many mono-quantitative methods, such as telephone interviews, web-based surveys, postal surveys, and structured questionnaires (Haq 2014). Each instrument has its own pros and cons in terms of quality, time, and data cost. Brymand (2006); Driscoll et al. (2007); Edwards et al. (2002); and Newby et al. (2003) note that most researchers use structured questionnaires for data collection they are unable to control or influence respondents, which leads to low response rates but more accurate data obtained. Saunders and Tosey (2015) have argued that quantitative data is simpler to obtain and more concise to present. Therefore, the current study uses a survey-based questionnaire (See Appendix A).
Justifying the use of Survey Based Questionnaire
Surveys are considered the most traditional forms of research and are used in non-experimental descriptive designs that describe some reality. Survey-based questionnaires are often restricted to a representative sample of a potential group of the study’s interest. In this case, it is the executives currently working for automobile companies in the UK. The survey instrument is then chosen for its effectiveness at being practical and inexpensive (Kelley et al., 2003). Due to the philosophical assumptions, interpretive approach, and methodological approach, the survey design for the current study is considered the best instrument in line with these premises, besides being cost-effective.
Empirical Research Methodology
This section describes how research is designed to use the techniques used for data collection, sampling strategy, and data analysis for a quantitative method. Before going into the strategies of data collection and analysis, a set of hypotheses were developed.
The current study uses a quantitative research approach, making it essential to develop a set of hypotheses that will be used as a test standard for the mono-method quantitative design. The following are a set of hypotheses that have been developed from the examination of the literature review.
H1- The greater the company’s budget for Big Data initiatives (More than 1 million GBP), the greater its ability to monetise and generate new revenues.
H2- The greater the company’s budget for Big Data initiatives (More than 1 million GBP) the more decrease in expenses in found.
H3- The greatest impact of Big Data on a company is changing the way business is done.
H4- Big Data integrating with a company has resulted in competitive significance.
H5- The analytical abilities of a company allows for achieved measurable results.
H6- Investing in Big Data will lead to highly successful business results.
H7- A business’s operations function is fuelling Big Data initiatives and effecting change in operations.
H8- The implementation of Big Data in the company has positive impacts on business.
This section includes the sampling method used to collect the number of respondents needed to provide information, then analysed after collection.
Collis (2009) explains that there are many kinds of sampling methods that can be used for creating a specific target sample from a population. This current study uses simple random sampling to acquire respondents with which the survey will be conducted. Simple random sampling is considered the most basic form of probability sampling. Under the method, elements are taken from the population at random, with all elements having an equal chance of being selected. According to () as of 2014, there are about thirty-five active British car manufacturers in the UK, each having an employee population of 150 or more. This is why the total population of employees in car manufacturers is estimated to be 5,250 employees. The sample, therefore, developed used the following equation;
2 × (1 − )
+( 2 × (1− ) ) 2
Where; N is the population size, e is the margin of error (as a decimal), z is confidence level (as a z-score), and p is percentage value (as a decimal). Thus, the sample size is with a normal distribution of 50%. With the above equation, a population of 5,250; with a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error, the total sample size needed for the current equals 300. Therefore, N=300, which is the sample size of the current study.
The survey develops (see Appendix A) has a total of three sections, A, B, and C, with a total of 39 questions. Each section has its own set of questions to accomplish. The survey is a mix of closed-end questions that look to comprehend the respondents’ demographic makeup, the Big Data initiatives of the company, and the impact that Big Data was having on their company. The survey is designed to take no longer than twenty minutes. The survey was constructed on Survey Monkey.com, and an online survey provided website. The survey was left on the website for a duration of 40 days to ensure that the maximum number of respondents were able to answer the survey. The only way that the survey was allowed for a respondent is if they passed a security question as if they were working for an automobile company in the UK when taking the survey. Gupta et al. (2004) believe that web surveys are visual stimuli, and the respondent has complete control about whether or how each question is read and understood. That is why Dillman (2000) argued that web questionnaires are expected to resemble those taken through the mail/postal services closely.
The collected data is then analysed through the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 24 for descriptive analysis. The demographic section of the survey will be analysed using descriptive statistics. Further analysis of the data includes regression analysis. Simple regression analysis includes only one independent variable and one dependent variable. Farrar and Glauber (1967) assert that the purpose of regression analysis is to estimate the parameters of dependency, and it should not be used to determine the interdependency of a relationship.
Need a Dissertation Chapter On a Similar Topic?
The chapter provides a descriptive and in-depth discussion of the methods involved in the current study’s research. The current study is looking towards a quantitative approach that considers positivism as its philosophical undertaking, using deductive reasoning for its interpretive approach, is a mono-quantitative method that involves the use of a survey instrument for data collection. The methodology chapter also provided the data analysis technique, which is descriptive statistics through frequency analysis and regression analysis.
Examples of results;
Question 8- Of these staff, are mostly working in or for your consumer-facing (B2C) businesses, your commercial or wholesale (B2B) businesses, or both?
Based on the illustration, nineteen (19) respondents indicated that 501-1000 employees are dedicated to analytics for both B2B and B2C. The category of using Big Data analytics for both B2B and B2C comprises the most agreement of respondents with 72 of 132 indicated.
The figure above represents the respondents’ answers to their automobile company’s plan for measuring Big Data’s success. Of the 132 participants, 44.70 per cent responded that the company is planning on using quantitative metrics associated with business performance to analyse if Big Data is actually successful. Another, 30.30 per cent indicated that their company was planning on using qualitative metrics tied to business performance. Using business performance to analyse the success of Big Data is coherent to the results of the literature review that indicated previous studies of doing such. As an automobile company, they need to know the results of using Big Data analytics, and that is only by using business performance indicators regardless of being qualitative or quantitative.
Fig. 4.3-6 portrays the response of participants in regards to actually achieving measurable results from Big Data. According to 68.18 per cent of respondents, the company that they worked for did indeed show measurable results from their investments in Big Data. However, 31.82 per cent indicated that there was indeed no measurable result in investing in Big Data.
Bryman, A., Bell, E., 2015. Business Research Methods. Oxford University Press.
Daum, P., 2013. International Synergy Management: A Strategic Approach for Raising Efficiencies in the Cross-border Interaction Process. Anchor Academic Publishing (aap_verlag).
Dümke, R., 2002. Corporate Reputation and its Importance for Business Success: A European
Perspective and its Implication for Public Relations Consultancies. diplom.de.
Guetterman, T.C., 2015. Descriptions of Sampling Practices Within Five Approaches to Qualitative Research in Education and the Health Sciences. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung /
Forum: Qualitative Social Research 16.
Haq, M., 2014. A Comparative Analysis of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods and a Justification for Adopting Mixed Methods in Social Research (PDF Download Available).
ResearchGate 1–22. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.1945.8640
Kelley, K., Clark, B., Brown, V., Sitzia, J., 2003. Good practice in the conduct and reporting of survey research. Int J Qual Health Care 15, 261–266. doi:10.1093/intqhc/mzg031
Lewis, S., 2015. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches.
Health Promotion Practice 16, 473–475. doi:10.1177/1524839915580941
Saunders, M., 2003. Research Methods for Business Students. Pearson Education India.
Saunders, M.N.K., Tosey, P., 2015. Handbook of Research Methods on Human Resource
Development. Edward Elgar Publishing.
DMCA / Removal Request
If you are the original writer of this Dissertation Chapter and no longer wish to have it published on the www.ResearchProspect.com then please:
Request The Removal Of This Dissertation Chapter
Frequently Asked Questions
How to write methodology chapter of a dissertation.
To write the methodology chapter of a dissertation:
- Describe research design & approach.
- Explain data collection methods.
- Justify chosen methods.
- Address limitations.
- Analyse data.
- Ensure replicability.
Ready to place an order?
Useful links, learning resources.
- How It Works
Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.
By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019
So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.
To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .
*The Caveat *
In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).
So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.
Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis
- Acknowledgements page
- Abstract (or executive summary)
- Table of contents , list of figures and tables
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Literature review
- Chapter 3: Methodology
- Chapter 4: Results
- Chapter 5: Discussion
- Chapter 6: Conclusion
- Reference list
As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:
- The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
- The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
- The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
- The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question.
In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.
To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.
Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.
The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:
- Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
- Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
- Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)
Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:
- The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
- The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
- Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or mixed methods ).
A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].
Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).
This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.
So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:
- Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
- Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
- Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
- Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).
There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.
Abstract or executive summary
The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .
For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):
- Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
- Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
- Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
- Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?
So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.
In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .
Need a helping hand?
Table of contents
This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:
If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.
Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…
It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:
- What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
- Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
- What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
- What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
- How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
- How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?
These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.
If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.
Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:
- What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
- Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
- How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
- How does your research contribute something original?
- How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?
Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.
Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.
Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…
In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:
- Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
- Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?
Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.
Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.
In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!
You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, etc.
Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.
Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).
What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.
Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.
The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).
Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?
Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!
This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.
The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.
It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:
Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.
The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.
Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!
Time to recap…
And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:
- Acknowledgments page
Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).
I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog .
Psst… there’s more (for free)
This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
You Might Also Like:
many thanks i found it very useful
Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.
Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!
what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much
Thanks so much this helped me a lot!
Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.
Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..
Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?
Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment
You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.
best ever benefit i got on right time thank you
Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .
I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these
You have given immense clarity from start to end.
Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?
Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!
Thanks ! so concise and valuable
This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.
Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.
Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times
Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.
Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills
Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear
That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!
My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!
Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?
It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂
Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!
Great video; I appreciate that helpful information
It is so necessary or avital course
This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you
Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates
- What Is A Literature Review (In A Dissertation Or Thesis) - Grad Coach - […] is to write the actual literature review chapter (this is usually the second chapter in a typical dissertation or…
Submit a Comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
- Print Friendly