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How To Write The Methodology Chapter

The what, why & how explained simply (with examples).

By: Jenna Crossley (PhD). Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021

So, you’ve pinned down your research topic and undertaken a review of the literature – now it’s time to write up the methodology section of your dissertation, thesis or research paper. But what exactly is the methodology chapter all about – and how do you go about writing one? In this post, we’ll unpack the topic, step by step .

Overview: The Methodology Chapter

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What (exactly) is the methodology chapter?

Your methodology chapter is where you highlight the philosophical underpinnings of your research and outline the specific research design choices you’ve made. The point of the methodology chapter is to tell the reader exactly how you designed your research and to justify your design choices .

The methodology chapter should comprehensively describe and justify all the research design choices you made. For example, the type of research you conducted (e.g. qualitative or quantitative ), how you collected your data, how you analysed your data and who or where you collected data from (sampling). We’ll explain all the key design choices later in this post .

Why is the methodology chapter important?

The methodology chapter is important for two reasons:

Firstly, it demonstrates your understanding of research design theory, which is what earns you marks. A flawed research design or methodology would mean flawed results, so this chapter is vital as it allows you to show the marker that you know what you’re doing and that your results are credible .

Secondly, the methodology chapter is what helps to make your study replicable – in other words, it allows other researchers to undertake your study using the same design, and compare their findings to yours. This is very important within academic research, as each study builds on previous studies.

The methodology chapter is also important because it allows you to identify and discuss any methodological issues or problems you encountered (i.e. limitations), and to explain how you mitigated the impacts of these. Every research project has its limitations and shortcomings , so it’s important to acknowledge these openly and highlight your study’s value despite its limitations. Again, this demonstrates your understanding of research design, which will earn you marks. We’ll discuss limitations in more detail later in this post.

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how to write up methodology

How to write up the methodology chapter

First off, it’s worth noting that the exact structure and contents of the methodology chapter will vary depending on the field of research (for example, humanities vs chemistry vs engineering) as well as the university . So, it’s always a good idea to check the guidelines provided by your institution for clarity and, if possible, review past dissertations and theses from your university. Here we’re going to discuss a generic structure for a methodology chapter typically found in the sciences, especially the social sciences (e.g. psychology).

Before you start writing, we always recommend that you draw up a rough outline , so that you have a clear direction to head in. Don’t just start writing without knowing what will go where. If you do, you’ll most likely end up with a disjointed, poorly flowing narrative . As a result, you’ll waste a lot of time rewriting in an attempt to try to stitch all the pieces together. Start with the end in mind.

Section 1 – Introduction

As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the methodology chapter should have a brief introduction. In this introduction, you should remind your readers what the focus of your study is, especially the research aims . As we’ve discussed many times on this blog, your research design needs to align with your research aims, objectives and research questions , so it’s useful to frontload this to remind the reader (and yourself!) what you’re trying to achieve with your design and methodology.

In this section, you can also briefly mention how you’ll structure the chapter. This will help orient the reader and provide a bit of a roadmap so that they know what to expect.

The intro provides a roadmap to your methodology chapter

Section 2 – The Research Design

The next section of your methodology chapter should present your research design to the reader. In this section, you need to detail and justify all the key design choices in a logical, intuitive fashion. This is the heart of your methodology chapter, so you need to get specific – don’t hold back on the details here. This is not one of those “less is more” situations.

Let’s have a look at the most common design choices you’ll need to cover.

Design Choice #1 – Research Philosophy

Research philosophy refers to the underlying beliefs (i.e. world view) regarding how data about a phenomenon should be gathered , analysed and used . Your research philosophy  will serve as the core of your study and underpin all of the other research design choices, so it’s critically important that you understand which philosophy you’ll adopt and why you made that choice. If you’re not clear on this, take the time to  get clarity before you make any research design choices.

While several research philosophies exist, two commonly adopted ones are positivism and interpretivism .

Positivism is commonly the underlying research philosophy in quantitative studies. It states that the researcher can observe reality objectively and that there is only one reality, which exists independent of the observer.

Contrasted with this, interpretivism , which is often the underlying research philosophy in qualitative studies, assumes that the researcher performs a role in observing the world around them and that reality is unique to each observer . In other words, reality is observed subjectively .

These are just two philosophies (there are many) , but they demonstrate significantly different approaches to research and have a significant impact on all the research design choices. Therefore, it’s vital that you clearly outline and justify your research philosophy at the beginning of your methodology chapter, as it sets the scene for everything that follows.

The research philosophy is at the core of the methodology chapter

Design Choice #2 – Research Type

The next thing you would typically discuss in your methodology section is the research type. The starting point for this is to indicate whether the research you conducted is inductive or deductive . With inductive research, theory is generated from the ground up (i.e. from the collected data), and therefore these studies tend to be exploratory in terms of approach. Deductive research, on the other hand, starts with established theory and builds onto it with collected data, and therefore these studies tend to be confirmatory in approach.

Related to this, you’ll need to indicate whether your study adopts a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods methodology. As we’ve mentioned, there’s a strong link between this choice and your research philosophy, so make sure that your choices are tightly aligned . Again, when you write this section up, remember to clearly justify your choices, as they form the foundation of your study.

Design Choice #3 – Research Strategy

Next, you’ll need to discuss your research strategy (i.e., your research “action plan”). This research design choice refers to how you conduct your research based on the aims of your study.

Several research strategies exist, including experiments , case studies , ethnography , grounded theory, action research , and phenomenology . Let’s look at two these, experimental and ethnographic, to see how they contrast.

Experimental research makes use of the scientific method , where one group is the control group (in which no variables are manipulated ) and another is the experimental group (in which a variable is manipulated). This type of research is undertaken under strict conditions in controlled, artificial environments – for example, within a laboratory. By having firm control over the environment, experimental research often allows the researcher to establish causation between variables. Therefore, it can be a good choice if you have research aims that involve identifying or measuring cause and effect.

Ethnographic research , on the other hand, involves observing and capturing the experiences and perceptions of participants in their natural environment (for example, at home or in the office). In other words, in an uncontrolled environment.  Naturally this means that this research strategy would be far less suitable if your research aims involve identifying causation, but it would be very valuable if you’re looking to explore and examine a group culture, for example.

As you can see, the right research strategy will depend largely on your research aims and research questions – in other words, what you’re trying to figure out. Therefore, as with every other design choice, it’s essential to justify why you chose the research strategy you did.

Justify every design/methodology choice

Design Choice #4 – Time Horizon

The next thing you need to cover in your methodology chapter is the time horizon. There are two options here – cross-sectional and longitudinal . In other words, whether the data for your study were all collected at one point in time (i.e. cross-sectional) or at multiple points in time (i.e. longitudinal).

The choice you make here depends again on your research aims, objectives and research questions. If, for example, you aim to assess how a specific group of people’s perspectives regarding a topic change over time , you’d likely adopt a longitudinal time horizon.

Another important factor is simply the practical constraints – in other words, whether you have the time necessary to adopt a longitudinal approach (which could involve collecting data over multiple years). Oftentimes, the time pressures of your degree program will force your hand into adopting a cross-sectional time horizon, so keep this in mind.

Design Choice #5 – Sampling Strategy

Next, you’ll need to discuss your chosen sampling strategy . There are two main categories of sampling, probability and non-probability sampling. Probability sampling involves a random (and therefore representative) selection of participants from a population, whereas non-probability sampling entails selecting participants in a non-randomized (and therefore non-representative) manner. For example, selecting participants based on ease of access (this is called a convenience sample).

The right sampling approach depends largely on what you’re trying to achieve in your study. Specifically, whether you trying to develop findings that are generalisable to a population or not. Practicalities and resource constraints also play a large role here, as it can oftentimes be challenging to gain access to a truly random sample.

Design Choice #6 – Data Collection Method

Next up, you need to explain how exactly you’ll go about collecting the necessary data for your study. Your data collection method (or methods) will depend on the type of data that you plan to collect – in other words, qualitative or quantitative data.

Typically, quantitative research relies on surveys , data generated by lab equipment, analytics software or existing datasets. Qualitative research, on the other hand, often makes use of collection methods such as interviews , focus groups , participant observations, and ethnography.

So, as you can see, there is a tight link between this section and the design choices you outlined in earlier sections. Strong alignment between these sections is therefore very important.

Design Choice #7 – Data Analysis Methods/Techniques

The final major design choice that you need to address is that of analysis techniques . In other words, once you’ve collected your data, how will you go about analysing it. Here it’s important to be specific about your analysis methods and/or techniques – don’t leave any room for interpretation. Also, as with all choices in this chapter, you need to justify each choice you make.

What exactly you discuss here will depend largely on the type of study you’re conducting (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods). For qualitative studies, common analysis methods include content analysis , thematic analysis and discourse analysis . For quantitative studies, you’ll almost always make use of descriptive statistics, and in many cases, you’ll also use inferential statistical techniques (e.g. correlation and regression analysis).

In this section, it’s also important to discuss how you prepared your data for analysis, and what software you used (if any). For example, quantitative data will often require some initial preparation such as removing duplicates or incomplete responses . As always, remember to state both what you did and why you did it.

Time to analyse

Section 3 – The Methodological Limitations

With the key research design choices outlined and justified, the next step is to discuss the limitations of your design. No research design or methodology is perfect – there will always be trade-offs between the “ideal” design and what’s practical and viable, given your constraints. Therefore, this section of your methodology chapter is where you’ll discuss the trade-offs you had to make, and why these were justified given the context.

Methodological limitations can vary greatly from study to study, ranging from common issues such as time and budget constraints to issues of sample or selection bias . For example, you may find that you didn’t manage to draw in enough respondents to achieve the desired sample size (and therefore, statistically significant results), or your sample may be skewed heavily towards a certain demographic, thereby negatively impacting representativeness .

In this section, it’s important to be critical of the shortcomings of your study. There’s no use trying to hide them (your marker will be aware of them regardless). By being critical, you’ll demonstrate to your marker that you have a strong understanding of research design, so don’t be shy here. At the same time, don’t beat your study to death . State the limitations, why these were justified, how you mitigated their impacts to the best degree possible, and how your study still provides value despite these limitations.

Section 4 – Concluding Summary

Finally, it’s time to wrap up the methodology chapter with a brief concluding summary. In this section, you’ll want to concisely summarise what you’ve presented in the chapter. Here, it can be useful to use a figure to summarise the key design decisions, especially if your university recommends using a specific model (for example, Saunders’ Research Onion ).

Importantly, this section needs to be brief – a paragraph or two maximum (it’s a summary, after all). Also, make sure that when you write up your concluding summary, you include only what you’ve already discussed in your chapter; don’t add any new information.

Keep it simple

Wrapping up

And there you have it – the methodology chapter in a nutshell. As we’ve mentioned, the exact contents and structure of this chapter can vary between universities , so be sure to check in with your institution before you start writing. If possible, try to find dissertations or theses from former students of your specific degree program – this will give you a strong indication of the expectations and norms when it comes to the methodology chapter (and all the other chapters!).

Also, remember the golden rule of the methodology chapter – justify every choice ! Make sure that you clearly explain the “why” for every “what”, and reference credible methodology textbooks or academic sources to back up your justifications.

If you need a helping hand with your research methodology (or any other section of your dissertation or thesis), be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through every step of the research journey. Until next time, good luck!

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how to write up methodology

How to write a methodology in 8 steps (definition and types)

Updated 21 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Writing a methodology is an essential part of presenting your research findings to the public. Your methodology supports your findings by explaining your research techniques and creating a roadmap of how you reached your conclusion. Knowing how to write this section of your research paper allows you to present the case for why you chose the methods you used and explain how these methods directly lead to answers to the questions you raised in your research. In this article, we explain what a methodology is, why it's important, how to write a methodology and common types of research methodologies.

What is a methodology and why is it important?

A methodology is a detailed description of a research process that you choose to conduct your research as a scientist or a researcher. In other words, it's a contextual framework that presents a logical path for answering questions that you raise at the beginning of your thesis or paper. Typically, the methodology makes up its own section in a paper, in which you can describe your method for gathering, grouping and analysing observational, experimental, simulation and derived data.

Sharing your methodology gives legitimacy to your research. This is especially important if you're conducting scientific or academic research. In this case, your reader expects you to follow common practices that can lead you to a reliable, logical and coherent conclusion. It's also critical that your methodology is repeatable, meaning anyone who uses the same methods can reach the same conclusions you reached.

How to write a methodology

Knowing how to write a methodology may help you improve your research and make sure your results are repeatable. Although the way in which you approach choosing your methods and writing your methodology may be different depending on the type of research you're conducting, there are several basic steps that almost all researchers take to complete this section. Here are eight key steps to writing a methodology:

1. Restate your thesis or research problem

The first step to writing an effective methodology requires that you restate your initial thesis. It's an important step that allows the reader to remember the most important aspects of your research and follow each step of your methodology. Restating your thesis may also be an effective way to address any assumptions you made in your research and to list any variables you tested as a part of your research.

2. Explain the approach you chose

Once you inform the reader about your thesis or research problem by restating it, it's important that you make sure to thoroughly explain the type of research you chose for your paper or project. During this step, you can present your unique viewpoint to the reader. Consider mentioning if you chose quantitative or qualitative data collection methods. If you used both, which is known as the blended approach, or another alternative method, you can explain what led you to this decision.

3. Discuss any uncommon methodologies you use

If the research you're conducting is innovative, you may consider using less-popular research methods. You may even decide to create your own method that lies outside the realm of usual research practices in your field. In a situation like this, it's important that you clarify your choice and explain how this unique method you're working with contributes to the research.

4. Describe how you collected the data you used

There are various data collection methods that you can use to prove or disprove your research question. In this step, you can describe how you collected your data and discuss in more detail why you've decided to choose either the quantitative or qualitative method or combine them to create an alternative method. While describing your collection process, it's important that you introduce transparency to the research by stating how many experiments you conducted and what tools you used to test your subjects. It's also critical to list the criteria you used to choose existing data from other sources.

5. Explain the methods you used to analyse the data you collected

Once you explain how you collected your data, it's important to discuss how you analysed it. Consider telling the reader what tools you used to process data, but do so without sharing the results of your experiments or research yet. In this step, you may also make sure that the arguments for certain data collection and analysis techniques show that your research was accurate. For example, you can do this by listing the exact steps you took and mentioning any software you used.

6. Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made

This step allows you to spend some time reflecting on your approach, including any potential weaknesses or limitations in your methodology. It's important that you inform the reader about it, as reviewing these weaknesses helps them to better understand the viewpoint and approach that you had throughout your research. This way, you can clearly and accurately present any evidence that supports the methodology of your choice.

7. Mention any obstacles and their solutions

Although you typically want to encounter as few obstacles as possible when conducting research, it's important that you mention them in your methodology if they happen. Consider explaining what caused them and how you managed to overcome them, for example, by adjusting the properties of your research method. This shows the reader your strong problem-solving skills and, in some cases, it may even reinforce the validity of your research.

8. Cite all sources you used to determine your choice of methodology

The final step to writing an effective, complete methodology is referencing sources you used. This includes all papers and other sources that helped you develop the framework for your research and determine your overall methodology. Providing this information allows the reader to understand the bigger picture and helps them gain further knowledge in the field.

Common types of research methodologies

Depending on your research question and sometimes even the field you're in, you may consider using different research methods to draw a conclusion or answer your research question. In some instances, you may also combine several methodologies to draw more accurate conclusions. For example, you can do this if you're research is unusually extensive and summarises a few years of work. Here are 10 common types of research methodologies to consider:

Quantitative research: Quantitative research focuses on collecting and analysing numerical data. There are various subtypes of quantitative research, including surveys, correlational research and experimental research.

Qualitative research: The opposite to quantitative research is qualitative research, which focuses on analysing non-numerical data. For example, you can use it if you're researching languages.

Descriptive research: If you're researching a phenomenon or certain characteristics of a population, you may consider using descriptive research. Rather than answering how or when certain characteristics occurred, it answers the 'what' question.

Conclusive research: Conclusive research, as the name suggests, helps you draw conclusions that you can use to answer your primary research question or prove your thesis. It's also useful when making decisions about developing your methodology.

Surveys: Surveys are lists of questions that you can present to your research subjects to gather data that you want to use in your research. You can conduct surveys in almost all environments, including by phone, email, online or in-person.

Case studies: Case studies are in-depth examinations of particular real-world cases. You can use them to describe scientific phenomena in their natural settings.

Applied research: Applied research is a unique type of methodology that allows you to solve practical problems by using scientific data and study. You can consider using it, for example, when you're conducting medical or technological research.

Fundamental research: Fundamental research, also known as academic or basic research, allows you to better understand or predict phenomena, including natural phenomena. It gives you the opportunity to improve scientific theories.

Exploratory research: Using exploratory research makes it possible for you to analyse a scientific problem that you've not clearly defined. It also makes it possible for you to better understand the cause but doesn't provide an answer or results.

Analytical research: Analytical research is a unique type of research for which you use critical thinking to evaluate facts that relate to your research. In other words, it allows you to find the most relevant information.

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How to Write Research Methodology

Last Updated: March 6, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. This article has been viewed 471,044 times. Learn more...

The research methodology section of any academic research paper gives you the opportunity to convince your readers that your research is useful and will contribute to your field of study. An effective research methodology is grounded in your overall approach – whether qualitative or quantitative – and adequately describes the methods you used. Justify why you chose those methods over others, then explain how those methods will provide answers to your research questions. [1] X Research source

Describing Your Methods

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Justifying Your Choice of Methods

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Connecting Your Methods to Your Research Goals

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Template to Write Research Methodology

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About This Article

Jennifer Mueller, JD

To write a research methodology, start with a section that outlines the problems or questions you'll be studying, including your hypotheses or whatever it is you're setting out to prove. Then, briefly explain why you chose to use either a qualitative or quantitative approach for your study. Next, go over when and where you conducted your research and what parameters you used to ensure you were objective. Finally, cite any sources you used to decide on the methodology for your research. To learn how to justify your choice of methods in your research methodology, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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how to write up methodology

Examples of Methodology in Research Papers (With Definition)

Updated September 30, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When researchers record their findings, they often include a methodology section that details the research techniques used and outcomes. When writing a thesis or dissertation, or documenting a project for your employer, including details about methodology assists readers in understanding your findings. Learning more about the concept and reviewing examples of methodology is important for providing insight into the validity and reliability of research.

In this article, we explain why it's important to review examples of methodology, explore what a methodology is, highlight what it includes, learn how it differs from research methods, and discover an example of methodology in a research paper.

Why review examples of methodology?

If you're writing a thesis, it may be useful to review some examples of methodology. By reviewing these examples, you can learn more about research approaches that give credibility to studies. You can also learn more about the language used and the details included, which can help you make your own methodology sections of reports more effective.

What is a methodology in a research paper?

In a research paper, thesis, or dissertation, the methodology section describes the steps you took to investigate and research a hypothesis and your rationale for the specific processes and techniques used to identify, collect, and analyze data. The methodology element of your research report enables readers to assess the study's overall validity and reliability and provides an important insight into two key components, namely your data gathering and analysis techniques and your reason for investigating. When composing this section for a research paper, it's important to keep the topic concise and write in the past tense.

What to include in a methodology section

When developing a methodology for research papers, it's worth considering the following elements:

Type of research

The first part of a methodology section typically outlines the type of research you did, and how you established your research procedures. This section highlights the subject of your study and addresses the type of data necessary to conduct evaluations and research assessments. The methodology section commonly contains the criteria that your experimental investigations followed to provide valid and trustworthy data. The material in this section provides readers with an insight into the methods you used to assess validity and reliability throughout your investigations.

Data collection process

The methodology section also contains a description of how you collected the data. Whether you ran experimental testing on samples, conducted surveys or interviews, or created new research using existing data, this section of your methodology describes what you did and how you did it. Key aspects to mention include how you developed your experiment or survey, how you collected and organized data, and what kind of data you measured. Additionally, you may outline how you set particular criteria for qualitative and quantitative data collection.

Data analysis process

Your approach to data analysis is equally important to the processes of data collection. The term data analysis refers to the procedures you employed to organize, classify, and examine the data gathered throughout your research operations. For instance, when presenting your quantitative approaches, you may add information regarding the data preparation and organization procedures you used and a short description of the statistical tests involved. When presenting your qualitative data analysis techniques, you may prefer to concentrate on how you classified, coded, and applied language, text, and other observations throughout your study.

Resources, materials, and tools

The tools, materials, and other resources necessary for conducting your research and analysis are also important factors to include when outlining your approach. In documenting your processes, it's important to outline your use of software programs, mathematical and statistical formulae, and other instruments that assisted you in your study. Additionally, this area of your approach may describe any unique strategies you used to gather data and identify significant factors. The methods you used to investigate your hypothesis and underlying research questions are also key components of your methodology.

The rationale behind the research

Because the methodology section of your research paper demonstrates to readers why your study is legitimate and important, the final part of this section can concentrate on your justification for the research. Details such as why your studies are important, which sectors they pertain to, and how other researchers might reproduce your findings are critical components of this section. It's important to discuss any strategies you intend to employ to continue reviewing your research and to properly reference the primary and secondary sources you utilized.

Differences between the methodology and research methods

While the methodology section of your research paper contains information about the research techniques you employed, there are many distinctions between the methodology and the actual research methods you used, including:

The overall objective of your approach is distinct from the procedures you used to carry out your study. While the methodology section of your research paper describes your processes in detail, the methods section refers to the specific steps you took to collect and analyze data throughout your research. The methodology acts as a summary that proves the validity and dependability of your procedures, while the methods are the scientific ways to test and reach conclusions about the data you investigate.

The structure of the methodology section differs from how you describe and explain your research and analytic approaches. The methodology section is often located at the beginning of your article and takes the form of a summary or essay in paragraphs, outlining the validity, procedure, and justification for your study. The structure in which you discuss your methods varies according to the type of study, data, and evaluations used. For example, when presenting the methods, you may use a graph or chart to illustrate your results.

The objectives and style of your methodology and research techniques ultimately impact on the material that you present. It's important that your methodology provides a succinct review of your research, methods, and findings. As a result, the methodology section of your paper can include the elements you employed to conduct your investigations. The content of your research paper that describes your methods of data collection and analysis techniques may vary, as it's often required to clarify your scientific approaches and research procedures using lists and visual aids, such as charts or graphs, to supplement the material.

Example of a methodology in a research paper

The following example of a methodology in a research paper provides insight into the structure and content to consider when writing your own:

This research article discusses the psychological and emotional impact of a mental health support program for employees. The program provided prolonged and tailored help to job seekers via a job support agency that kept contact with applicants beyond initial job placement to give different forms of assistance. I chose a 50% random selection of respondents who participated in the employment agency's support program between April and October and met the research criteria I created based on prior and comparable studies.

My colleagues and I randomly allocated the 350 resultant patients to the treatment or control groups, which included life skills development and career training in an in-house workshop setting. My colleagues and I assessed the 350 participants upon admission and again after they reached the 90-day employment requirement. The psychological functioning and self-esteem assessments we conducted revealed considerable evidence of the impact of treatment on both measures, including results that contradicted our original premise.

We discovered that, rather than demonstrating better functioning and higher self-esteem, participants in the therapy group exhibited poorer cognitive and emotional functioning and self-esteem. These findings prompted my study team and me to conclude that people who consider themselves unfulfilled in their jobs often endure a substantial decline in performance as a consequence of increased workplace stress and lower emotional well-being, irrespective of their mental health status.

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How to Write an APA Methods Section | With Examples

Published on February 5, 2021 by Pritha Bhandari . Revised on October 17, 2022.

The methods section of an APA style paper is where you report in detail how you performed your study. Research papers in the social and natural sciences often follow APA style. This article focuses on reporting quantitative research methods .

In your APA methods section, you should report enough information to understand and replicate your study, including detailed information on the sample , measures, and procedures used.

Table of contents

Structuring an apa methods section.


Example of an APA methods section

Frequently asked questions about writing an apa methods section.

The main heading of “Methods” should be centered, boldfaced, and capitalized. Subheadings within this section are left-aligned, boldfaced, and in title case. You can also add lower level headings within these subsections, as long as they follow APA heading styles .

To structure your methods section, you can use the subheadings of “Participants,” “Materials,” and “Procedures.” These headings are not mandatory—aim to organize your methods section using subheadings that make sense for your specific study.

Note that not all of these topics will necessarily be relevant for your study. For example, if you didn’t need to consider outlier removal or ways of assigning participants to different conditions, you don’t have to report these steps.

The APA also provides specific reporting guidelines for different types of research design. These tell you exactly what you need to report for longitudinal designs , replication studies, experimental designs , and so on. If your study uses a combination design, consult APA guidelines for mixed methods studies.

Detailed descriptions of procedures that don’t fit into your main text can be placed in supplemental materials (for example, the exact instructions and tasks given to participants, the full analytical strategy including software code, or additional figures and tables).

Begin the methods section by reporting sample characteristics, sampling procedures, and the sample size.

Participant or subject characteristics

When discussing people who participate in research, descriptive terms like “participants,” “subjects” and “respondents” can be used. For non-human animal research, “subjects” is more appropriate.

Specify all relevant demographic characteristics of your participants. This may include their age, sex, ethnic or racial group, gender identity, education level, and socioeconomic status. Depending on your study topic, other characteristics like educational or immigration status or language preference may also be relevant.

Be sure to report these characteristics as precisely as possible. This helps the reader understand how far your results may be generalized to other people.

The APA guidelines emphasize writing about participants using bias-free language , so it’s necessary to use inclusive and appropriate terms.

Sampling procedures

Outline how the participants were selected and all inclusion and exclusion criteria applied. Appropriately identify the sampling procedure used. For example, you should only label a sample as random  if you had access to every member of the relevant population.

Of all the people invited to participate in your study, note the percentage that actually did (if you have this data). Additionally, report whether participants were self-selected, either by themselves or by their institutions (e.g., schools may submit student data for research purposes).

Identify any compensation (e.g., course credits or money) that was provided to participants, and mention any institutional review board approvals and ethical standards followed.

Sample size and power

Detail the sample size (per condition) and statistical power that you hoped to achieve, as well as any analyses you performed to determine these numbers.

It’s important to show that your study had enough statistical power to find effects if there were any to be found.

Additionally, state whether your final sample differed from the intended sample. Your interpretations of the study outcomes should be based only on your final sample rather than your intended sample.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Write up the tools and techniques that you used to measure relevant variables. Be as thorough as possible for a complete picture of your techniques.

Primary and secondary measures

Define the primary and secondary outcome measures that will help you answer your primary and secondary research questions.

Specify all instruments used in gathering these measurements and the construct that they measure. These instruments may include hardware, software, or tests, scales, and inventories.

Make sure to report the settings of (e.g., screen resolution) any specialized apparatus used.

For each instrument used, report measures of the following:

Giving an example item or two for tests, questionnaires , and interviews is also helpful.

Describe any covariates—these are any additional variables that may explain or predict the outcomes.

Quality of measurements

Review all methods you used to assure the quality of your measurements.

These may include:

For data that’s subjectively coded (for example, classifying open-ended responses), report interrater reliability scores. This tells the reader how similarly each response was rated by multiple raters.

Report all of the procedures applied for administering the study, processing the data, and for planned data analyses.

Data collection methods and research design

Data collection methods refers to the general mode of the instruments: surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, neuroimaging, cognitive tests, and so on. Summarize exactly how you collected the necessary data.

Describe all procedures you applied in administering surveys, tests, physical recordings, or imaging devices, with enough detail so that someone else can replicate your techniques. If your procedures are very complicated and require long descriptions (e.g., in neuroimaging studies), place these details in supplementary materials.

To report research design, note your overall framework for data collection and analysis. State whether you used an experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive (observational), correlational, and/or longitudinal design. Also note whether a between-subjects or a within-subjects design was used.

For multi-group studies, report the following design and procedural details as well:

Describe whether any masking was used to hide the condition assignment (e.g., placebo or medication condition) from participants or research administrators. Using masking in a multi-group study ensures internal validity by reducing research bias . Explain how this masking was applied and whether its effectiveness was assessed.

Participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental condition. The survey was administered using Qualtrics ( To begin, all participants were given the AAI and a demographics questionnaire to complete, followed by an unrelated filler task. In the control condition , participants completed a short general knowledge test immediately after the filler task. In the experimental condition, participants were asked to visualize themselves taking the test for 3 minutes before they actually did. For more details on the exact instructions and tasks given, see supplementary materials.

Data diagnostics

Outline all steps taken to scrutinize or process the data after collection.

This includes the following:

To ensure high validity, you should provide enough detail for your reader to understand how and why you processed or transformed your raw data in these specific ways.

Analytic strategies

The methods section is also where you describe your statistical analysis procedures, but not their outcomes. Their outcomes are reported in the results section.

These procedures should be stated for all primary, secondary, and exploratory hypotheses. While primary and secondary hypotheses are based on a theoretical framework or past studies, exploratory hypotheses are guided by the data you’ve just collected.

This annotated example reports methods for a descriptive correlational survey on the relationship between religiosity and trust in science in the US. Hover over each part for explanation of what is included.

The sample included 879 adults aged between 18 and 28. More than half of the participants were women (56%), and all participants had completed at least 12 years of education. Ethics approval was obtained from the university board before recruitment began. Participants were recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk; We selected for a geographically diverse sample within the Midwest of the US through an initial screening survey. Participants were paid USD $5 upon completion of the study.

A sample size of at least 783 was deemed necessary for detecting a correlation coefficient of ±.1, with a power level of 80% and a significance level of .05, using a sample size calculator (

The primary outcome measures were the levels of religiosity and trust in science. Religiosity refers to involvement and belief in religious traditions, while trust in science represents confidence in scientists and scientific research outcomes. The secondary outcome measures were gender and parental education levels of participants and whether these characteristics predicted religiosity levels.


Religiosity was measured using the Centrality of Religiosity scale (Huber, 2003). The Likert scale is made up of 15 questions with five subscales of ideology, experience, intellect, public practice, and private practice. An example item is “How often do you experience situations in which you have the feeling that God or something divine intervenes in your life?” Participants were asked to indicate frequency of occurrence by selecting a response ranging from 1 (very often) to 5 (never). The internal consistency of the instrument is .83 (Huber & Huber, 2012).

Trust in Science

Trust in science was assessed using the General Trust in Science index (McCright, Dentzman, Charters & Dietz, 2013). Four Likert scale items were assessed on a scale from 1 (completely distrust) to 5 (completely trust). An example question asks “How much do you distrust or trust scientists to create knowledge that is unbiased and accurate?” Internal consistency was .8.

Potential participants were invited to participate in the survey online using Qualtrics ( The survey consisted of multiple choice questions regarding demographic characteristics, the Centrality of Religiosity scale, an unrelated filler anagram task, and finally the General Trust in Science index. The filler task was included to avoid priming or demand characteristics, and an attention check was embedded within the religiosity scale. For full instructions and details of tasks, see supplementary materials.

For this correlational study , we assessed our primary hypothesis of a relationship between religiosity and trust in science using Pearson moment correlation coefficient. The statistical significance of the correlation coefficient was assessed using a t test. To test our secondary hypothesis of parental education levels and gender as predictors of religiosity, multiple linear regression analysis was used.

In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used.

You should report methods using the past tense , even if you haven’t completed your study at the time of writing. That’s because the methods section is intended to describe completed actions or research.

In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

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how to write up methodology

When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

how to write up methodology

Ensure understanding, reproducibility and replicability

What should you include in your methods section, and how much detail is appropriate?

Why Methods Matter

The methods section was once the most likely part of a paper to be unfairly abbreviated, overly summarized, or even relegated to hard-to-find sections of a publisher’s website. While some journals may responsibly include more detailed elements of methods in supplementary sections, the movement for increased reproducibility and rigor in science has reinstated the importance of the methods section. Methods are now viewed as a key element in establishing the credibility of the research being reported, alongside the open availability of data and results.

A clear methods section impacts editorial evaluation and readers’ understanding, and is also the backbone of transparency and replicability.

For example, the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology project set out in 2013 to replicate experiments from 50 high profile cancer papers, but revised their target to 18 papers once they understood how much methodological detail was not contained in the original papers.

how to write up methodology

What to include in your methods section

What you include in your methods sections depends on what field you are in and what experiments you are performing. However, the general principle in place at the majority of journals is summarized well by the guidelines at PLOS ONE : “The Materials and Methods section should provide enough detail to allow suitably skilled investigators to fully replicate your study. ” The emphases here are deliberate: the methods should enable readers to understand your paper, and replicate your study. However, there is no need to go into the level of detail that a lay-person would require—the focus is on the reader who is also trained in your field, with the suitable skills and knowledge to attempt a replication.

A constant principle of rigorous science

A methods section that enables other researchers to understand and replicate your results is a constant principle of rigorous, transparent, and Open Science. Aim to be thorough, even if a particular journal doesn’t require the same level of detail . Reproducibility is all of our responsibility. You cannot create any problems by exceeding a minimum standard of information. If a journal still has word-limits—either for the overall article or specific sections—and requires some methodological details to be in a supplemental section, that is OK as long as the extra details are searchable and findable .

Imagine replicating your own work, years in the future

As part of PLOS’ presentation on Reproducibility and Open Publishing (part of UCSF’s Reproducibility Series ) we recommend planning the level of detail in your methods section by imagining you are writing for your future self, replicating your own work. When you consider that you might be at a different institution, with different account logins, applications, resources, and access levels—you can help yourself imagine the level of specificity that you yourself would require to redo the exact experiment. Consider:

Tip: Be sure to capture any changes to your protocols

You yourself would want to know about any adjustments, if you ever replicate the work, so you can surmise that anyone else would want to as well. Even if a necessary adjustment you made was not ideal, transparency is the key to ensuring this is not regarded as an issue in the future. It is far better to transparently convey any non-optimal methods, or methodological constraints, than to conceal them, which could result in reproducibility or ethical issues downstream.

Visual aids for methods help when reading the whole paper

Consider whether a visual representation of your methods could be appropriate or aid understanding your process. A visual reference readers can easily return to, like a flow-diagram, decision-tree, or checklist, can help readers to better understand the complete article, not just the methods section.

Ethical Considerations

In addition to describing what you did, it is just as important to assure readers that you also followed all relevant ethical guidelines when conducting your research. While ethical standards and reporting guidelines are often presented in a separate section of a paper, ensure that your methods and protocols actually follow these guidelines. Read more about ethics .

Existing standards, checklists, guidelines, partners

While the level of detail contained in a methods section should be guided by the universal principles of rigorous science outlined above, various disciplines, fields, and projects have worked hard to design and develop consistent standards, guidelines, and tools to help with reporting all types of experiment. Below, you’ll find some of the key initiatives. Ensure you read the submission guidelines for the specific journal you are submitting to, in order to discover any further journal- or field-specific policies to follow, or initiatives/tools to utilize.

Tip: Keep your paper moving forward by providing the proper paperwork up front

Be sure to check the journal guidelines and provide the necessary documents with your manuscript submission. Collecting the necessary documentation can greatly slow the first round of peer review, or cause delays when you submit your revision.

Randomized Controlled Trials – CONSORT The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) project covers various initiatives intended to prevent the problems of  inadequate reporting of randomized controlled trials. The primary initiative is an evidence-based minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials known as the CONSORT Statement . 

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses – PRISMA The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses ( PRISMA ) is an evidence-based minimum set of items focusing  on the reporting of  reviews evaluating randomized trials and other types of research.

Research using Animals – ARRIVE The Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments ( ARRIVE ) guidelines encourage maximizing the information reported in research using animals thereby minimizing unnecessary studies. (Original study and proposal , and updated guidelines , in PLOS Biology .) 

Laboratory Protocols has developed a platform specifically for the sharing and updating of laboratory protocols , which are assigned their own DOI and can be linked from methods sections of papers to enhance reproducibility. Contextualize your protocol and improve discovery with an accompanying Lab Protocol article in PLOS ONE .

Consistent reporting of Materials, Design, and Analysis – the MDAR checklist A cross-publisher group of editors and experts have developed, tested, and rolled out a checklist to help establish and harmonize reporting standards in the Life Sciences . The checklist , which is available for use by authors to compile their methods, and editors/reviewers to check methods, establishes a minimum set of requirements in transparent reporting and is adaptable to any discipline within the Life Sciences, by covering a breadth of potentially relevant methodological items and considerations. If you are in the Life Sciences and writing up your methods section, try working through the MDAR checklist and see whether it helps you include all relevant details into your methods, and whether it reminded you of anything you might have missed otherwise.

Summary Writing tips

The main challenge you may find when writing your methods is keeping it readable AND covering all the details needed for reproducibility and replicability. While this is difficult, do not compromise on rigorous standards for credibility!

how to write up methodology

how to write up methodology


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What is Method Writing?

Method Writing means different things to different people. Is it a writer version of ‘method acting’? Is it a specific school of writing? Or does it just mean using a methodical or systematic approach to writing? Here’s an overview of some different definitions of the term “method writing”, and how I use it myself.

Is method writing like “method acting”?

“Method writing” sometimes refers to a creative process similar to method acting. This definition is now included in the Urban Dictionary , so clearly it’s taking hold!

So what’s method acting? It’s an acting approach that people often associate with performers such as James Dean, Marlon Brando and Daniel Day Lewis. In popular use, it means acting where the performer learns to embody their character by putting themselves into similar situations.

For example, when Day Lewis played the title role in The Boxer, he tattooed his arms and trained in boxing several times a week, so that he could embody the character more authentically.

For him, it wasn’t just about developing the right physique so he could look the part. It was about portraying the character from the inside out, after experiencing the pain, exhaustion and physical reality of the boxer’s world.

This is an over-simplification. Strictly speaking, method acting refers to a specific kind of training from an influential acting school. But how might this idea be relevant to writing?

Well, what if writers used similar immersive techniques? What if they put themselves through the mill physically to get a more authentic sense of their characters? Could they write more effectively or from a place of greater “truth” by taking a “method” approach?

Method Writers movement

Writer and journalist Thomas Hodgkinson set up his Method Writers group to promote this approach to writing. To write his novel about a stalker, for example, he shut himself in a cupboard to experience feelings of confinement, estrangement and isolation.

To me, this makes perfect sense. It’s research. You could argue it’s the writer’s job to research their characters and their world in whatever ways are accessible.

Clearly, there are limits! No writer is going to become a stalker or murderer in order to write those characters – that’s a research step too far! And not everyone who wants to write a sailor can get access to a sailing boat. Plenty of writers use their imaginations, and research in other ways, to create their version of an authentic character.

But within obvious practical constraints, writers can use physical research methods to get far closer to their characters.

Even in small ways, physical research can make a difference. For example, I was writing about rugby players. I didn’t find out what their pitch felt like until I walked on it, touched it, lay down on it. You’d think it would be hard underfoot, but it was springy and spongy, like moss. I got second-hand rugby boots so I could experience what they felt like to wear. Without that direct knowledge, I could have got it completely wrong. That sense of texture really helped to bring the description to life.

How might you use method strategies to get embody your characters more authentically? Try getting away from your writing desk and exploring the unfamiliar.

Method writing, systems and Stanislavski

Method acting goes deeper than this, however. Its foundations go back to the work of the Russian theatre director, Konstantin Stanislavski.

Stanislavski is the man behind the concept of “beats” in scriptwriting. If you’ve heard of “beat sheets” or breaking a scene into “beats”, you’ve encountered his influence.

One of his ideas was that if you analyse a scene to understand its “beats” (simply “bits” with a Russian accent!), you can put it back together and understand the whole structure much more effectively.

In a sense, he brought an engineering sensibility to acting training. This in turn has influenced writers, especially in scriptwriting. Most scriptwriters – whether for film, stage or radio – use the concept of beats when talking about chunks of dramatic action.

Beats are an incredibly useful concept for dealing with time and shifts in emotion and status between characters.

They can be used in fiction writing, too, and more writers are becoming aware of their usefulness for structural editing. Dramatic techniques can seem methodical, in some ways. But this isn’t surprising when you consider the collaborative nature of filmmaking and theatre as art forms. It’s simply more effective to have a working shorthand that everyone understands.

Writing teachers, schools and thinkers

Other writers and teachers have used the term “method writing” in different ways, including Dick Bentley (Stanislavski approach) and Jack Grapes (writing from the deep voice). Other writers using this terminology include those in the Method Writers project.


I teach dramatic writing and teach and use physical research methods and beats, so you might expect this Method Writing site to be about that. However, that’s only a part of my interest in setting up this teaching resource.

I’m interested in process and creative practice, and the different methods that writers use to develop their work. This can cover a broad spectrum of writing methods, from freewriting to the creative constraints of Oulipo; from found poetry to traditional forms; from plotting to pantsing and everything in between.

Writing methods are just as individual and gloriously diverse as methods used by other artists.

At the same time, unless your writing is highly experimental, there’s a core of process which all writers share. Drafting, editing, researching, gathering. And unless you’re writing only for yourself, reaching readers.

I’m always experimenting with process, and seeing where I can improve and learn, and helping students to develop their work. So I love hearing what methods other writers use, including new ways informed by technology. Handwriting, typewriting, computer keyboard, dictation – that, too, is part of process.

As a multidisciplinary writer, I’m also fascinated by what different writing disciplines can offer each other. For example, what can fiction writers learn from writing for performance? What can playwrights and copywriters learn from poets? What can poets learn from journalists?

Method, muse and mystery

Above all, I’m interested in the methods as well as the mystery of writing. Too much emphasis on muse rather than method suggests writing is remote, inaccessible. It suggests it can only be done by a chosen few. Demystifying writing and its techniques is important, as it puts it within reach of anyone.

Writers can learn to write in the same way that musicians learn a musical instrument , through study and deliberate practice.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

The methods section describes actions taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

Kallet, Richard H. "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004): 1229-1232.

Importance of a Good Methodology Section

You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons:

Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects . 5th edition. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2014; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Groups of Research Methods

There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:

II.  Content

The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. This is followed by situating the methods you used to gather, analyze, and process information within the overall “tradition” of your field of study and within the particular research design you have chosen to study the problem. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i.e., your review of the literature demonstrates that the method is not commonly used], provide a justification for how your choice of methods specifically addresses the research problem in ways that have not been utilized in prior studies.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following:

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should:

NOTE :   Once you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. If necessary, consider using appendices for raw data.

ANOTHER NOTE : If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data [e.g., through interviews or observations], the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.

YET ANOTHER NOTE :   If your study involves interviews, observations, or other qualitative techniques involving human subjects , you may be required to obtain approval from the university's Office for the Protection of Research Subjects before beginning your research. This is not a common procedure for most undergraduate level student research assignments. However, i f your professor states you need approval, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the office and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university. This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper.

III.  Problems to Avoid

Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but concise. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.e., the choice of a survey should include any citations to the works you used to help construct the survey].

It’s More than Sources of Information! A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.

Azevedo, L.F. et al. "How to Write a Scientific Paper: Writing the Methods Section." Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia 17 (2011): 232-238; Blair Lorrie. “Choosing a Methodology.” In Writing a Graduate Thesis or Dissertation , Teaching Writing Series. (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers 2016), pp. 49-72; Butin, Dan W. The Education Dissertation A Guide for Practitioner Scholars . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010; Carter, Susan. Structuring Your Research Thesis . New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; Kallet, Richard H. “How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper.” Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004):1229-1232; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Methods Section. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Rudestam, Kjell Erik and Rae R. Newton. “The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan.” In Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process . (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2015), pp. 87-115; What is Interpretive Research. Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah; Writing the Experimental Report: Methods, Results, and Discussion. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Writing Tip

Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them!

Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

To locate data and statistics, GO HERE .

Another Writing Tip

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods

There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world. Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce.

Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem. This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory.

Reynolds, R. Larry. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics . Part 1, Chapter 3. Boise State University; The Theory-Method Relationship. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Methods and the Methodology

Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology." As Schneider notes, a method refers to the technical steps taken to do research . Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used . This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. "Of Methods and Methodology." Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 3 (2008): 159-168; Schneider, Florian. “What's in a Methodology: The Difference between Method, Methodology, and Theory…and How to Get the Balance Right?” Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands.

How to Write a Methodology Section for Your Dissertation

Any research work requires a methodology section, which becomes a headache even for the most experienced students. Even professional writers often struggle with this section, so it is not surprising that so many scholars are looking for manuals and guidelines on completing a methodology section. By teaching you how to write a methodology we already provide a great help with research paper and dissertation writing.

Basically, it helps with understanding a philosophical background behind the research methods you have chosen for your study.  This chapter aims to show what qualitative and quantitative techniques of collecting data you have used throughout your research and why.

If you are visiting this page to get a better understanding of this chapter and need guidelines on writing a methodology section, you are in a right place! Remember that a dissertation is not a right place to say ‘I have chosen this instrument, because I thought it was good enough’. Every tool or method should be backed with reasoning and concrete arguments.

Contents of the methodology chapter

Methodology usually acts as a sort of a plan or a guideline on how you are going to conduct your future research. This is especially important for those scholars, who need to submit the chapter before conducting a research to prove that it may be useful for the field.

Chosen methodology should interlink with the sources and state why a particular analysis instrument and collection of data was used in your project.

It is impossible to learn how to write a methodology without knowing its components. They include: philosophical background, research design, limitations, methods of data collection, ethical considerations and methods of analysis.

Things every dissertation methodology should include

If you need to submit dissertation at once, your methodology section should also contain data on modifications you have made throughout the paper. This means that every choice you have made should be backed with academic reasoning.

Choosing research and methodology design

As we have written before, the theme of methodology must be related to the research and its questions.

Start with attending the library of your college or university to search for various articles or books, which have comprehensive information on widely used research methods in your particular case. When you prepare for writing a methodology it is important to devote much time to reading various books, because they will help you to create your own philosophy and choose the most relevant methods. Don’t forget to express any limitations that your method has and how you are planning to overcome them.

Be prepared that every research method has its followers and critics. You can use available arguments in your favor, discussing why you have chosen such methods and why they are the best for your work.

Research methodology dissertation structure

A common structure of your methodology should be the following:

Research strategy and design

Many students are puzzled, as they don’t know how to write a research design section. Research and design sound like two completely unrelated terms, and often confuse scholars.

According to the latest research guide, the first and the most important function of such design is to help the student (or any other researcher) to answer all of the research questions by using evidence in an effective manner.

Basically, in this section you need to tell how you have gathered data.  For example, if we’re talking about an ethnography research , in this chapter you should justify the chosen methods, including literature examination, phone and online surveys, interviews, etc. In addition, you need to explain why you have chosen people of a certain group, ethnicity, age, occupation and so on.

In this dissertation methodology chapter you need to get back to the initial questions. They will help you to continue planning the future work and set its general tone. Make sure the collected data is relevant to the examined topic.

Characteristics of a good research design section

What makes a good research design section of the dissertation methodology

Philosophical background

This part is very important for a proper methodology structure and aims to discuss the chosen philosophical background and approach to make your research model stronger. The most common philosophies, employed in researches around the globe are:

To choose a proper philosophy you will need to account multiple factors, including the type of your research, academic goals and many others. However, it doesn’t matter what philosophy you will choose: it will always be necessary to name assumptions about the surrounding world.

When you have selected your philosophy, you need to describe research context to answer the main questions: What, Where, When, Why and How. Research design dissertation is all about questions and answering them, so you need to be very attentive.

A method to choose

Being a researcher you will need to choose whether you will use a quantitative, a qualitative method or a mixture of both. Data collection process greatly differs depending on the method you choose.

For example, if you are willing to choose a positivism approach, you will need to define hypotheses and test them in real-life conditions. In such a case a quantitative approach is required and you will have to collect numerical information, starting with at least 30 respondents.

When you choose writing a methodology with the help of a qualitative method, you will need to research the topic, identifying perceptions and emotions on a given subject. In such a case, you will have to collect answers and look at them from all the angles in order to create theories in a chosen field.

You can always mix two of the given methods, which is probably the most popular approach nowadays. It is very useful if you are planning to get numerical data and test it in real life or reflect common perceptions on a quantitative matter.

Data collection and data analysis

So how to write a methodology section in the most efficient way? The best choice is to justify all of the sources you have processed and all of the data you have collected. In this section you need to give a clear explanation how you have collected information and include a brief discussion on the instruments you have used to analyze that data.

For example, for collecting data you decided to use interviews and online surveys. In the process you will need to use various programs and software, like Word or Excel. In this case the best dissertation methodology example will be justifying why the chosen software is the best in your particular case.

In this chapter you will need to explain how you found new results and what the best way to write up all of them is. Don’t forget that the reader or the supervisor will be looking for a correlation between the findings and the questions you have indicated at the beginning of your work.

Remember that assistant or a supervisor of your dissertation research plays a crucial part in writing a methodology section of a research paper according to all of the standards and requirements. That is why it is very important to consult him or her and ask for recommendations in the process.

Reliability, ethical concerns and limitations

These sections are also important for your methodology chapter and have their own peculiarities and requirements to keep in mind.

Dissertation methodology: limitations, reliability, and ethical concerns


Make sure that your findings and study are reliable for researchers in the chosen field or matter. If you want to build a strong reputation and become a reliable and trustworthy researcher, your paper should be unique, reliable and authentic. This is the answer to a common question: ‘How to write a good methodology section’.

Ethical concerns

You should always think about individuals, who may be directly or indirectly involved into your study. It is especially true for social subjects. As a reliable researcher, you need to make sure that your ideas and results are not harmful and don’t have a negative impact on others.

This part of the chapter also includes information on protection, handling and confidentiality of the collected and processed data.


A good researcher and writer is always aware of the limitations of the study. You need to understand that dissertation research methods may be limited by the sampling of data. This means that a limited location, group or any other factor may greatly influence results of your research.

A good example of such limitation is collecting survey results from people of a certain occupation, which may give a blurred picture and not reflect the whole situation in the field.

The final part of your methodology is very important and can either improve it or ruin the whole work. That is why the methodology section of thesis or its final paragraph should be concentrated on choosing a proper design and philosophical background, as well as on analysis of gathered results.

Always choose reliable sources and discuss all of your ideas with the supervisor in order to get valuable tips and save lots of your time. Remember, methodology chapter is all about facts and a clear understanding of the structure, so you should devote all of your time and attention to it.

Written by Karli Anderson

One of the most experienced writers in our team, Karli, has finished the Johns Hopkins University in Public Health. Apart from volunteering and educating children at Sunday Schools, Karli helps students worldwide and writes academic texts in such subjects as education, environmental health, and epidemiology.

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How to Write an APA Method Section of a Research Paper

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

how to write up methodology

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity,, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

how to write up methodology

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

The method section of an APA format psychology paper provides the methods and procedures used in a research study or experiment . This part of an APA paper is critical because it allows other researchers to see exactly how you conducted your research.

Method refers to the procedure that was used in a research study. It included a precise description of how the experiments were performed and why particular procedures were selected.

The method section ensures the experiment's reproducibility and the assessment of alternative methods that might produce different results. It also allows researchers to replicate the experiment and judge the study's validity.

What to Include in a Method Section

So what exactly do you need to include when writing your method section? You should provide detailed information on the following:

The method section should provide enough information to allow other researchers to replicate your experiment or study.

Components of a Method Section

The method section should utilize subheadings to divide up different subsections. These subsections typically include participants, materials, design, and procedure.


In this part of the method section, you should describe the participants in your experiment, including who they were (and any unique features that set them apart from the general population), how many there were, and how they were selected. If you utilized random selection to choose your participants, it should be noted here.

For example: "We randomly selected 100 children from elementary schools near the University of Arizona."

At the very minimum, this part of your method section must convey:

Information about participants helps other researchers understand how your study was performed, how generalizable the result might be, and allows other researchers to replicate the experiment with other populations to see if they might obtain the same results.

In this part of the method section, you should describe the materials, measures, equipment, or stimuli used in the experiment. This may include:

For example: "Two stories from Sullivan et al.'s (1994) second-order false belief attribution tasks were used to assess children's understanding of second-order beliefs."

For standard equipment such as computers, televisions, and videos, you can simply name the device and not provide further explanation.

Specialized equipment should be given greater detail, especially if it is complex or created for a niche purpose. In some instances, such as if you created a special material or apparatus for your study, you might need to include an illustration of the item in the appendix of your paper.

In this part of your method section, describe the type of design used in the experiment. Specify the variables as well as the levels of these variables. Identify:

Also, explain whether your experiment uses a  within-groups  or between-groups design.

For example: "The experiment used a 3x2 between-subjects design. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs."

The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Your procedures should explain:

For example: "An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average. The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded."

Keep this subsection concise yet detailed. Explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

Things to Remember

In addition to following the basic structure of an APA method section, there are also certain things you should remember when writing this section of your paper. Consider the following tips when writing this section:

After writing a draft of your method section, be sure to get a second opinion. You can often become too close to your work to see errors or lack of clarity. Take a rough draft of your method section to your university's writing lab for additional assistance.

A Word From Verywell

The method section is one of the most important components of your APA format paper. The goal of your paper should be to clearly detail what you did in your experiment. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your study if they wanted.

Finally, if you are writing your paper for a class or for a specific publication, be sure to keep in mind any specific instructions provided by your instructor or by the journal editor. Your instructor may have certain requirements that you need to follow while writing your method section.

Erdemir F. How to write a materials and methods section of a scientific article ? Turk J Urol . 2013;39(Suppl 1):10-5. doi:10.5152/tud.2013.047

Kallet RH. How to write the methods section of a research paper . Respir Care . 2004;49(10):1229-32. PMID: 15447808.

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

American Psychological Association. APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards . Published 2020.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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How to Write a Dissertation Methodology

Date published September 16 2020 by Stella Carter

How to Write a Dissertation Methodology

Dissertation, a nightmare, or a walk through a park?

Well, that park could be on fire and a horde of zombies might be chasing you. Although fighting zombies could be exciting if you have the right strategy and equipment. Similarly, writing a dissertation is not easy or simple but with the right guidance and strategy, you can do it easily.

So let’s see what level are you.

If you are starting up on the methodology chapter it means that you have already been through two chapters. It means you are already through the Introduction chapter ( prologue level ) and the literature review ( which we can call the mid-level boss ).

Now as we are comparing the dissertation methodology chapter to the other dissertation chapters. We can say that it is easier but it doesn’t mean that it has less importance or is not needed. It is as important and necessary as all the other chapters.

It is recommended that you work your way through a dissertation but if you want to hack your way to the top, there’s a tip. Simply find a reliable and cheap methodology dissertation writing service and you’ll be done with your dissertation without any hassle.

So before you learn how to make your way through the Methodology chapter, you have to understand it first.

How “Dissertation Proposal” Can Help You!

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Table of Contents

What is the dissertation methodology.

The methodology chapter is the third and shortest chapter in a dissertation. It weighs only 10% (considering the word count/physical weight) in a dissertation.

In a dissertation methodology, you have to explain what kind of approaches and methods you have applied for the research. It has to include multiple things such as:

As well as the methods you have used for the research.

Why Dissertation Methodology Chapter is Important?

The dissertation methodology chapter is very important. This chapter is to walk the readers through your research easily. It helps the readers to evaluate the validity and reliability of your research.

Here’s What You Should Include in a Perfect Methodology Chapter:

Everything has a recipe. Once you master the recipe, you’ll just need to get the most suitable ingredients. The recipe for a flawless dissertation methodology chapter will be yours in a bit. If you follow it up, no one can stop you from achieving greatness. A perfect methodology should state and answer the following:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the ingredients for the perfect dissertation methodology chapter besides the aspects we mentioned above.

What to Include in a Dissertation Methodology?

There is always a big question among students about what they should need to include in their dissertation’s methodology chapter.

We have listed the basic but essential points that must needs to be include in methodology chapter.

View different varieties of dissertation topics and samples on multiple subjects for every educational level

A Revision of Your Research Question(s)

You have to start your methodology by mentioning your research question(s). It will help you justify that your methodology is suitable for answering your research question(s). But it doesn’t mean that you have to copy-paste your research question. You have to explain your research question in a way it links your methodology and the literature review.

Explanation of Your Methods

Explaining the methods is the core concept of writing a methodology but it doesn’t make it the whole point of writing the methodology.  Explaining the methods is a part of methodology where you state the process of data collection and analysis and the approaches for the answer(s) of your research question(s).

The explanation of your method should be clear and valid enough that other scholars and future researchers can read it and apply it as well. You reader should also be able to read and apply your theories in other scenarios (i.e. their researches or texts) if you are proposing a new theory for the subject.

The Background and Logical Reasoning of the Selected Method

You also have to mention why you chose a certain method for your research. It is a crucial part of methodology as you have to justify the selected method as to why you thought it will give you the best insightful analyses, conclusions, and results.

You will have to draw the relation of your chosen method with the literature review giving proof of the background of the method and its successful application. It will support your dissertation and your research methods as it will explain to your reader that whatever method(s) you chose is/are most compatible to answer your questions.

Let’s be honest here. Everything has its pros and cons. So chances are that you faced some certain limitations during your research while applying the method.

You have to further evaluate your chosen method and take the limitations into consideration as well. It’s not necessary that the limitations of your research are to be called flaws. You have to be unapologetically honest about the limitations you faced and what kind of possible outcomes it may have made impossible.

While stating that, you can discuss how this method has been successful regardless of the many limitations that you faced during the research period.

Step-by-Step Guide for the Best Dissertation Methodology Structure:

Now that you know what is a methodology and what you should include in it. It’s time we learn about the dissertation methodology structure.

Here is the blueprint that can get you to the top (not literal). If you follow this research methodology example, you will be able to create an interesting and engaging methodology chapter for your dissertation.

So without any further ado, here is the formula for a successful dissertation methodology chapter:

Get Help On Your Dissertation is offering expert assistance for university students at any level. Our dissertation writing service has been serving students since 2011.

1. Explaining Your Methodological Approach

You have to start with an introduction. You know it very well that a good introduction is a key to capture attention.

For the methodology chapter. You can start by directly discussing your approach to the research. Don’t waste any time, no unnecessary details or discussion. Directly hitting the main topic will make the reader stay interested in your dissertation.

After you’re done discussing the overall approach to your research. You can elevate the discussion and rhetorically explain what was the research question or problem that you investigated.

You can further explain other aspects of your method. For example, what was your aim? Did you further explore an untouched or under-researched topic? Did you establish a cause and effect relationship? What kind of approaches and dates did you need to get to your goal?

Then you have to start explaining your research methods by answering such questions such as:

It depends on your methods and approach that you would have to start rationally explaining the assumptions supporting the base of your methodology. You can ask and answer such questions:

Further on you can state what kind of research method you used. Was it quantitative or qualitative?

If you don’t know what are those then don’t worry. You’ll shortly learn about both of them below.

Quantitative Method

In the simplest words, quantitative methods are statistical tests based on certain fixed questions. For example, a group of people will be given a questionnaire to fill out for research purposes. The answer will be analyzed to get an average percentage or a definitive number in the form of an answer.

Quantitative methods are usually applied to groups collectively instead of individuals. The most common quantitative methods are polls, questionnaires, surveys, or by manipulating existing statistical data using different techniques.

Qualitative Method

Qualitative methods are different than quantitative methods. In qualitative methods, there is no definite set of questions to ask the participants or the individuals in the focus group. There is a free-hand on questions.

Qualitative methods are commonly used when you’re interviewing people individually using different methods such as face to face interviews, on-call interviews, email interviews, and other similar methods. As you can already suggest, qualitative methods are used when interviewing individuals instead of groups at one time. Although the individuals have to belong to a certain focus group.

2. Describing the Data Collection Methods

You might be wondering that you already explained what kind of method you are using. Then why is there a need to describe the data collection method(s)?

Don’t worry and don’t get confused or frustrated. You will have your answers.

In the first step, you just stated what method you have used to conduct your research. Now it’s time you state and define the methods you used to collect the data for/during your research. Whether your research was qualitative or quantitative. There are multiple methods for each and you have to state all the details of your data collection method(s).

Considering the Gaps:

You have to propose and describe your applied quantitative methods in such manner and detail that future researcher(s) could consider your research/publication for their dissertations. Lacking detail can cause the reader a lot of confusion and trouble in understanding your research method.

You have to thoroughly explain how you turned the abstract of your research problem into measurable observation(s) to measure the variables of your research question. You also have to explain your sampling method and/or the exclusion or inclusion criteria of using any tools, materials, or procedures for gathering the data.

Here are some common quantitative research methods that you have to explain (if you are using any of them).

Conducting Surveys:

If you have done your research through a survey. You will have to state the following things in your dissertation methodology:

A tip for you. Add the whole questionnaire as an appendix in the methodology chapter to guide the reader and make the reader understand how and what data was collected exactly.


Depending on the nature of your dissertation and dissertation topic, you might need to perform some scientific or unsystematic experiments.

You have to be very meticulous while conducting experiments and explaining them in your dissertation methodology. A slight difference between your results or methods and what you explain the methodology can have a huge impact directly on the conclusion of your dissertation.

These are the things you have to mention while explaining the experiment(s) in your methodology chapter:

You have to think about the bigger picture while writing your dissertation. You should be clear and give as many details as you can so the researchers can learn and reproduce your results as well.

Using Already Existing/Published Data:

You know that you can include the data already existing.

When you use already existing data to gather information for your dissertation. You will have to include certain things in the dissertation methodology chapter such as:

Here is an example that how any quantitative method should be explained:

Example for Quantitative Method

The survey consisted of 10 multiple choice questions and 20 questions that were measured on a 5-point Likert scale. The aim was to conduct a survey on 200 mid-aged women in the USA who regularly shop from “Brand A” in New Orleans that lasted from 11 to 15 March between 12:00 and 18:30. Every participant was included on the basis of purchase history from the “Brand A” on the questioning day. All the participants had 15 minutes to fill and finish the questionnaire anonymously. Out of 200, only 173 responded but due to the incomplete responses by the participants, only 147 questionnaires, which were finished by the participants, were included in the analysis.

Describing Qualitative Methods

You know what kind of quantitative methods are there and how you can explain them in your dissertation methodology.

Qualitative methods are completely different than quantitative methods. Qualitative methods are flexible and subjective which means that quantitative methods are not definite. The same methods can differ from one research to other research.

While explaining the qualitative methods, you have to discuss everything from the criteria that you used to select participants to the role you played to collect the data.

P.S while collecting and doing research using qualitative methods, you can participate in the research as well as just be an observer.

Here are the most common and used qualitative research methods:

Focus Groups or Individual Interviews:

Focus Groups are basically a group of very specific participants. All the participants belong to a certain category but are interviewed individually instead of them altogether.

When your research method is based on focus groups or interviews you have to discuss/state such things as:

Participant Observation or Ethnography:

Observation is another common qualitative research method used for dissertations. You have to observe a community or a group of people for research purposes with consent.

Moving forward to what you have to state in your dissertation methodology if you are using an observation method or ethnography for dissertation research:

Although this was a very short introduction for ethnography. If you are struggling, you can get help online and even get your dissertation written by a reliable dissertation help service as well.

Studying Published Data:

Depending on your dissertation topics , the data you will use in your dissertation will be different as well as the sources you will use.  Although the sources and material could vary from texts to images and videos and even audiotapes.

When using already published data for your qualitative research, you will have to explain and discuss certain things such as:

Now that we discussed all the different types of qualitative methods. Here is an example for you to demonstrate how explaining a qualitative method in your dissertation methodology would and should look like:

Example of Qualitative Methods

To conduct the interview, there were 80 participants who were mid-aged women in the area of New Orleans who regularly shopped from “Brand A”. The participants were selected on the basis of frequency they had for shopping from “Brand A”. They were gathered in a room and were given a question to answer without any restrictions. They were given the time until they were finished and completely answered the question. By the end, there were different kinds of answers ranging from different sizes i.e. from one line answers to full paragraphs. After all the participants meticulously finished their answers and returned them back. The answers were piled up and then carefully analyzed to take out the similarities as the outcome of the experiment/research. The outcomes later compiled into quotes.

Prove Your Point with Evidence!

Everything you state anywhere in your dissertation should be backed up with evidence. The same goes for the literature review chapter. If you are stating any point, make sure to prove it a citation or theory in the form of evidence. Saying for like 50 th time, any statement without evidence is useless.

3. Stating the Analysis Methods

After you are done describing the data collection method(s) in the dissertation methodology chapter. You will have to state the method(s) you used to analyze the collected data.

A dissertation saving tip before you start stating your analysis methods. Never state or present the results while stating the research method(s) or the analysis method(s). The results have to be discussed by the end of the dissertation.

The analysis methods are different for both quantitative and qualitative methods. First, we will learn how to analyze the collected data from quantitative research methods and then qualitative research methods.

Analyzing Quantitative Research Methods

The quantitative research analysis is based on numbers. To make the reader clearly understand your analysis methods, make sure that:

While you state the analysis of the quantitative method you selected, you have to cite references and evidence as well. If you are using a specific rule for a process, make sure to cite it and give the credits to the author with the research name (if possible) and the year it was published.

Analyzing Qualitative Research Methods

The qualitative research analysis is based on observations, images, and language(s). The qualitative research analysis often includes some type of text-based analysis. There are a few different analysis methods for qualitative research methods such as:

Make sure to mention what analysis method you used to analyze your qualitative research method. If you refer to another analysis method that has been published in another research already, make sure to acknowledge that and give proper references and citations as well. For the 500 th time, everything you write in your dissertation should have evidence and proof.

4. Evaluation and Justification of Your Methodological Choices

This is the time you discuss the reason(s) behind why you chose a certain methodological approach. You have to state both sides of choosing your method. You have state why other methods were not apt for your research topic in contrast to why the method you selected was better and suitable for your dissertation research.

While doing so, you have to discuss the limitations you faced using your selected research method as well as state the weak points. You can do it two ways, be apologetic about it and jeopardize your whole dissertation or be confident about it and use it like a pro and state how these limitations were outweighed by the strong points in your research.

How to Evaluate and Justify Your Methods Like a Boss:

You know what to do, but you don’t know how to do it. That’s the issue with a lot of things just like I don’t know how to tie a tie (simple, yet practically confusing).

Although, this is just a simple sample and the length and the context might vary in your dissertation but the core focus is the same. Here is an example to show you how the justification section would look like:

“Lab experiments are weak in terms of accurately simulating human behavior and real-life situations but are significantly strong when used to test the causal relationship between variables.”

As you can see above, the statement shows that the selected method had its weak spot(s) but had more strong points to counter the weak spot(s).

Killer Tips to Slay the Methodology Chapter!

Now that you know everything from what is a methodology, what to include, and how to write it.

Here are some amazing tips for you that I’ve been hiding up my sleeve for a long time now. It’s time I reveal them to help you write the Methodology chapter even more easily and efficiently.

Raw Data? A Big NO!

The methodology chapter is to give an insight to the reader about your research methods and how you conducted your research. It doesn’t have to include or reproduce any raw that data you collected. If you are illustrating how the data-collection method or machine or a questionnaire or a Likert scale works.

You don’t have to include any sort of data. Just mention the information about the functionality in the appendix for the reference(s).

Consider Reader’s Perspective

When you write the methodology, you have to keep in mind that you are writing it for the readers. The number of details and information you have to write should be kept limited. You don’t have to explain unnecessary details that are not going to help the reader(s) in any sense.

For instance, when you are using standard research methods, you won’t have to explain it to a depth to justify it. Just give a concise background and you’re done with it. On the other hand, if you’re using some method that you think the reader(s) might not be aware of. You will have to fully explain the choices and reasoning and everything to justify it.

Citing Most Relevant Sources is the Key

You can either cite every single source that is barely related to your methodology to jeopardize it or you can cite the most relevant sources to make your methodology stronger.

Obviously, you’d want to make it the very best methodology, and to do that, you will have to follow a few key steps.

Present your approach and relate it to already published research methodologies addressing how you used it to fill and highlight the gap in the literature.

Final Words

Now you have learned everything about the dissertation methodology chapter. From its importance to its structure. Furthermore, these tips are enough for anyone to explain how to write an outstanding dissertation methodology structure. But if you are still struggling with writing your dissertation whether it’s the methodology or the conclusion chapter. You can buy dissertation methodology help from some cheap dissertation writing service and relax!

Good luck but not a goodbye,

May we meet again!

Author:  Stella Carter

Stella is a PhD qualified expert in student consoling working in the field for over 7 years have experience in helping students around the world regarding there dissertation also have conducting several seminars. She also one of our best dissertation writer who give best dissertation writing services .

Related Posts



How to Create a Successful Research Methodology

A research methodology is special techniques and various procedures implemented to define, choose, process, and make an analysis of data about a subject you’ve chosen. The methodology part / section in your research paper helps people to evaluate a paper’s reliability and genuineness.

It’s quite important to spend enough time to create a successful research methodology for your future academic paper . Needless to say, for many students, it’s not so easy to make a good document. In this guide, we’ve gathered the most important tips for writing this chapter successfully.

Table of Contents

Why Is It Important to Come up with a Bright Research Methodology?

When you’re creating a research paper , it's a step-by-step process that includes many stages, requirements, and long hours reading various sources. You must be concentrated on this work and keep a pile of things in mind. Writing a research methodology is a complicated thing. In the paper, you must explain to readers which methods and techniques you have chosen to use during the research and write what type of data you've received.

As we've mentioned before, it’s quite important to make a research methodology properly. The judgment of the whole paper depends on this document. If you want to get the most important secrets of how to create a perfect research methodology, follow the steps below!

1. Explain the Methodological Approach in Use

At the start, you need to mention what research question or problem you want to investigate in this document. Maybe you wish to describe the chosen object's characteristics, or explain a cause-and-effect strategy, or explore a new topic? Think thoroughly about what kind of data you have to get for this research. Here are some questions we suggest answering:

Besides, you may answer the next questions to define a methodology:

2. Provide Your Data Collection Methods

After you’ve written an overall approach, you have to define the methods of data collection.

Quantitative Methods

For quantitative research, it’s quite important to describe the methods of data collection. Include all the procedures, materials, and tools you've used to gather data for your work:

Qualitative Methods

Here you need to describe the approach you've selected and explain this choice thoroughly. Write about the criteria you used to choose sources or participants.

3. Describe Your Analysis Methods

Show to readers how you've analyzed your data. Please keep in mind that you don't have to present or discuss the results of your work here.

Your analysis must be done on numbers. Include the things below in this part:

The data was prepared thoroughly before the analysis. It was checked meticulously for outliers (using the labeling rule) and missing data. The values outside the range were defined outliers. Then this data was analyzed using statistical software Stata.

This type of research is made on observations, language, and images. These are the methods you can use for the analysis:

After the interviews, the thematic analysis was used. It means coding the information before defining the key themes. Every five themes were examined thoroughly to understand the participants' motivations and perceptions.

4. Evaluate and Justify the Methodology You Choose

The methodology must provide its readers with an explanation of why you've selected certain methods for this research. You must prove why other methods weren’t acceptable for the objectives. You may also write about the weaknesses of the chosen approach but explain why its strengths have convinced you to choose it. As for lab experiments in the research, they cannot always duplicate real-life situations. But these experiments may help to test relationships between variables. For example, it's impossible to generalize results from unstructured interviews but with them, it’s easy to see its participants’ emotions, perceptions, and motivations.

Tips to Come up with a Winning Research Methodology

Feel free to use these tips to create a successful document fast:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. what are the types of research methodology.

2. What's the difference between the research method and methodology?

3. what's the difference between the research approach and research strategies, 4. what is the research philosophy.

So, if it still sounds way too difficult for you to create a successful document, you can ask our professional writers to create a paper for your needs in the shorter terms!

Considering the fact that abstract is a short section of a research paper it can cause more troubles than you think. How simple is it to express your thoughts in a precise but informative manner?How to find a research paper ideas? If you are writing an abstract to one of your research papers, you ar...

All of us encountered the term limitations in research at least once in academic paper writing. Usually, we interpret it as something bad. However, when it comes to your studies, restraints can actually become a positive thing. We have written an article about limitations in research which would exp...

All students face different problems and challenges during their studying. Exam session is known as the most important among them like to write an essay. And writing assignments can be put in the second place. Case studies have become an essential part of university programs and an extremely useful ...

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The Academic Papers UK

6000 Words Dissertation Structure – A Detailed Guide for Students

6000 Words Dissertation Structure – A Detailed Guide for Students

Post By Nick Cooper On 16, Feb

After knowing the meaning of the dissertation and choosing the best topic for your dissertation, you will have to start the actual writing process. While crafting the winning dissertation , you should understand the structure of your dissertation. When you start understanding the structure of your dissertation, you should start with the bigger picture. After understanding the bigger picture, you should briefly describe the core contents of all the dissertation chapters. First, you will have to write the preliminary pages of the dissertation. The words of these preliminary pages are not included in the actual words of the dissertation. Here, experts of The Academic Papers UK will discuss the structure of the 6000 words dissertation.

6000 Words Dissertation Structure


After writing the preliminary pages of your dissertation , the next step is to write the main body of the dissertation. In the main body of the dissertation, first of all, you will have to create the introductory chapter. You should try to provide a strong beginning to the readers with the help of the introductory chapter of the dissertation. The introductory section provides a chance for the writers to set a stage with clear focus, purpose and direction for the rest of the dissertation. In the 6000 words dissertation, the introductory section should consist of 600 words. These 600 words make up 10% of the 6000 words dissertation. The students should commence the 600 words introductory section by introducing the topic.

They should also provide the necessary background information to the readers. After that, they can define the scope of the research. While writing the dissertation , you should also read the existing content relevant to the content of your topic. After reading the existing content, you should also explain how your dissertation is relevant to this existing content. You should also write the research questions and objectives in the introductory section of the dissertation. These questions and objectives set up the expectations for the rest of the dissertation. At last, the students can also provide the readers with an overview of the overall structure of the dissertation.

Literature Review:

In the literature review chapter of your dissertation, you will have to provide an overview of the existing knowledge relevant to the topic of your dissertation. While writing the literature review chapter of the dissertation, the writers find an opportunity to identify the existing research. When you write the literature review chapter of your dissertation, you should find the relevant publications. After finding these publications, you should analyze and explain these publications. Some students think the literature review is the name of the summarization of the resources. They should know that it is the name of these resources’ analysis, evaluation and synthesis. In the 6000 words dissertation, you will have to create 1800 words for the literature review. These 1800 words make up 30% of the 6000 words dissertation. While writing the literature review section, you should use well-structured paragraphs.

Research Methodology:

While writing a dissertation, you will have to discuss the methods you used to gather the data for your dissertation. By reading the research methodology section of a dissertation, the readers can get an idea about the validity and reliability of the research. In the 6000 words dissertation, the research methodology section should consist of 900 words. These 900 words make up 15% of the 6000 words dissertation. While writing the research methodology section, you should explain the type of research that you have done to gather the data for your research paper. You should also explain your data-gathering techniques. The students should also explain the data analysis process. They should also provide complete information about the tools they used to gather their dissertation’s data. At last, you should also explain your rationale behind choosing these research methods.

Findings or Results:

In this section, you will have to report the findings or results of your research. You can start the writing process of this section just by finishing the data collection and analysis process. After preparing a list of all the results or findings of your research, you should try to write these results and findings in a logical order. If you want to illustrate specific findings or results of your research, you can also use tables or graphs. There is no need to provide a subjective interpretation of these findings or results in this section. The reason is that you should save these evaluations for the discussion chapter of your dissertation. In the 6000 words dissertation, you should include only 300 words in this chapter. These 300 words make up 5% of the 6000 words dissertation.


The discussion section is the best place to interpret the results’ relevance, meaning and importance. You should commence this section with the evaluation of your findings. After that, you should show the relevancy of these findings with the literature review. At last, you can also make some arguments supporting these findings. The writers use various methods while writing the discussion chapter of a dissertation. You can also use one of these methods. You should stick to four essential elements while writing the discussion chapter. These four essential elements of the discussion chapter are interpretation, implication, limitation and recommendation. In 6000 words dissertation, it should consist of 1800 words. These 1800 words make up 30% of the dissertation.


The dissertation conclusion is the last section of the main body of the dissertation. It provides the last chance for the writers to last their influence on the readers’ minds. That’s why you should be very careful while creating this section of the dissertation. While writing the concluding section of the dissertation, you should clearly state the answers to the research questions. It is also the best place to make recommendations for future research. You can also show your contributions to the existing content. While explaining these things in the conclusion section, you should make its content concise and engaging. In 6000 words dissertation, it should consist of 600 words. These 600 words make up 10% of the 6000 words dissertation.

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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Methodology

Table of Contents

In the research process, writing a methodology is one of the significant steps. Basically, the researchers compose research methodology to explain how they are going to carry out their research. It is a logical and systematic plan formulated to fix a research problem. Whenever you are working on a thesis, dissertation, academic journal, or any other professional piece of research, you must prepare a methodology. Right now, are you struggling to write a research methodology? If yes, then continue reading this blog post. Here, we have explained everything about research methodology and also have shared how to write a methodology effectively.

What is a Methodology?

The term research methodology refers to the actions that you take while investigating a research problem. In simple, it denotes the procedures that you utilize for the identification, selection, processing, and analysis of information that is used for understanding a research problem.

Mostly, a methodology encompasses what data you are going to collect, from where you are collecting the data, and how the data is being collected and analyzed. Through methodology, you can explain your research approach to ensure valid results as addressed in your aims and objectives.

A well-written methodology should give detailed information on the methods you used and the reasons why you chose that. Also, it should explain how you got the answers to the questions addressed in the research paper with the method you selected.

What is Methodology

The Purpose of Writing a Methodology

Here are some important reasons why you should write a methodology.

Research Method Groups

There are two groups of research methods in social science. They include the empirical and the interpretive group. Both these groups play an important role when you handle the methods section of your research.

The Empirical Group

It is an analytical group approach to study that mainly focuses on objective knowledge, the Yes or No research questions, and the operational definition of measuring variables. In this group, you should rely on deductive reasoning which employs the existing theories as a base for the formulation of the hypothesis that you evaluate. More specifically, the empirical group approach gives close consideration to the arrangement of a clarification.

The Interpretive Group

It focuses on comprehensive and holistic ways of understanding a phenomenon. It rationally reveals the practices that deal with the importance of human subjects . It especially, explains how, by what means, and for what reasons human beings do what they do. Also, for generating notable outcomes, this method shows the arrangement of practices.

With this interpretive group, you can identify the association you have with a phenomenon that is under investigation. It gives more importance to the subject knowledge by examining your variables. To start this, you should be aware of what the methodology is.

How to Write a Research Methodology?

When you write a methodology, make sure to follow the below-mentioned steps in order.

How to Write a Research Methodology?

Restate your research problem

Your methodology’s first part should be a restatement of your research problem. The thesis restatement will help your readers to follow your methodology steps from the beginning to the end. Also, it will give you an opportunity to address the assumption and list the variables you tested in the research.

Describe your selected approach

After restarting your thesis, describe the type of research type you used. Explain why you have chosen qualitative or quantitative research or any other alternative method suitable for your field of study.

Clarify the uncommon methodology you have used

If you have used any methodology outside of the regular methods in your research field, then clarify it. To prove that the findings that you have demonstrated with your approach or methodology are valid, you need to provide a strong statement of why you have used that alternate approach for your research problem.

Explain the methods of your data collection

Mention whether or not you have used qualitative or quantitative data in your research. Here, mention how you have collected the data you have used for the research. While explaining your data collection process, make sure to mention the details about the experiment that you have conducted to collect your variable along with the design of the experiment. Also, make a note to share details about the tools you used for conducting an experiment and the list of existing data you used.

Describe your data analysis method

After explaining all the details about how you have collected the data, next you need to describe what method you have used to analyze the data you have collected. Here, don’t include details about your results. In the case of quantitative research, list the steps you have done for data accuracy, any software you have used for data analysis, and any statistical testing you implemented. For qualitative research, your analysis can be content-based, theme-based, or discourse-based.

Justify the methodological choices

Explain the criteria you have used for choosing your research approach along with a piece of evidence. Also, list the weakness of your methodology and why you have chosen that particular methodology.

Explain the obstacles and their solutions

List the obstacles you have encountered while doing your research and also share how you overcame them. Here, the problem-solving skills you mention will strengthen your research’s validity.

Citation of sources determining the methodology choices

In the final section of your methodology, mention the references or cite the sources that you have referred to or used when you determine your overall methodology.

Elements of a Good Methodology

A good research methodology should contain

When you write a methodology, remember to present all the above elements clearly with coherence. If your research needs qualitative techniques of interviews and observation, then in such instances, you may require approval from the approval board.

Read more: Enhance your knowledge of the types of research methods

Methodology Writing Tips

Here are a few important tips for writing a methodology.

Your method description should not be simple. It should explain in detail how you used them and why you used them. Remember, explaining this point in detail will stand as proof that you have conducted your research rigorously.

Prepare notes and create an outline sketch for your methodology. Drafting the content will help you capture all the details accurately without missing them. In real-time, if you record your techniques and methods in a better way, then your methodology will also be better.

Give utmost importance to your research questions. Connect your methodology choice to the central research theme in order to show that you have used the best methods to address the research problem.

Always know your audience and write for them. Your methodology should be well-crafted and structured in a way including all the necessary elements of the standard format. Be unique in your writing style and also include more technical details.

Final Words

By now, you would have gained an idea about how to write an effective research methodology. You can’t write a proper methodology if you are unaware of the concept. So, learn the insights of the methodology in research before you start writing it.

As there are many different sorts of methodologies available, choose the relevant one suitable for your field of research. The methodology part of your research should be clear and comprehensive. Also, be sure to write them in an appropriate way suitable for your readers to understand your research answers.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us now for the best online research paper help . Our team will make sure to provide whatever you want!

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How to start a business: A practical 22-step guide to success

How to start a business: A practical 22-step guide to success

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What is cash flow? An in-depth guide for business owners

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how to write up methodology

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Melissa Skaggs shares the buzz around The Hive

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Creating your own business is a rewarding opportunity to achieve  a work-life balance  while pursuing your passions, but it isn’t easy. Many business owners agree that the first year is the toughest. However, if you’re diligent when starting your business, you’ll put yourself in a much better position for success.

To help,  QuickBooks asked 965 seasoned small business owners  if they had any advice for people who are about to start their first business. These business owners recommended three things you should definitely do before you start, in this order:

Current small business owners say these three things can increase your chances of success. And yet, according to the survey, not all prospective business owners plan to follow this advice. Download the full report to find out what current business owners recommend for new business owners and what they wish they would have done differently.

how to write up methodology

New Businesses

Feel confident from day one

You're never too small, and it's never too soon to know you're on track for success.

4. Write a business plan

Nearly  70% of people  who already own a small business recommend writing a business plan before moving forward with your business idea, but  13% of prospective business owners say writing a business plan isn’t among their priorities.

Writing a business plan  can be a daunting prospect. The good news is you’ve already done some of the work by tackling the steps above. Keep in mind that your first business plan isn’t final. Parts of it will most likely change as you learn more about your market and grow your company.

Some experts recommend starting with a business model canvas: a one-page document that covers the critical information you need to get started. This option can save you time and get you up and running faster.

Once you’ve been in business for a while or are ready to seek funding, you can build a more detailed plan. Your plan should cover:

how to write up methodology

About 1 in 3  people who want to start a business admit that getting funding is one of their top three financial priorities. If you don’t have startup cash, you don’t have to seek angel investments or venture capital. You can turn to other methods instead, like personal savings, crowdfunding, or loans.

Personal savings

One of the best ways to fund your business is using your own capital. Using your savings can seem daunting, but there are some advantages to consider:


You’ve likely heard of the crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Crowdfunding is a popular route for many new business owners. You can use it to seek funds from many people, rather than one major investor.

These are small business loans , often less than $10,000, that you can use to get your business off the ground. You’ll have to research microloan options in your city, state, or country, as there are many different services to choose from.

Personal loans

If you have a good credit rating, you can take out a personal loan instead of a business loan. You can also borrow against credit cards or a personal line of credit. Just be aware of long-term interest and tax implications.

Depending on your country, you may be eligible for grants, either from your government or private organizations. Again, you’ll have to do some research to find out what you qualify for and how to apply.

Friends and family

Last but not least, plenty of businesses get their start through the help of friends and family. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out. But take those pitches seriously by outlining all the work you’ve done through your canvas or business plan.

8. Develop your product

Next, you should be moving into the research and development phase if you haven’t started already. Since you’ve already validated your product, now it’s time to get some prototypes out for the world to see. This is done by creating a sample of your product to conduct research with. During the development stage, don’t be afraid to try several times until you get a version (or several versions) of your product that you feel confident in.

9. Determine your business structure

Popular business structures

Choose the legal structure of your business entity. Are you better off as a  sole owner or proprietor ? Do you have a  partner ? Do you plan to  incorporate your business ?

If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, you’re not alone. Seasoned business owners strongly recommend getting help choosing a business structure, yet 50% of prospective business owners say they’ll be doing this on their own.

Each business structure option has its advantages, as well as associated tax reporting responsibilities and regulatory requirements. You may also want to opt for a federal tax ID number or an Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead of using your Social Security number. This is the number that the IRS uses to associate you with your business.

Sole proprietor or sole owner

This is a popular option for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of liabilities (e.g., no employees or significant investments) when they start out. As your business grows, you may wish to change legal structures. Being a sole proprietor could be an excellent option for those with a small side-hustle or day job.

Business partnership

If you’re going into business with a partner, then you will need to register as a business partnership or limited partnership. Expect to work with a lawyer and a tax professional to layout your partnership type, terms, and tax implications.

Incorporated business

Some notable benefits of incorporating your business are tax breaks and liability protection. Due to upfront costs, many sole proprietors wait until they have earned enough funds and are at the right stage to incorporate.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a U.S.-specific form of a private limited company. This structure safeguards business owners, managers, and the LLC itself against certain types of personal liability. If you plan to operate from a brick-and-mortar location, personal liability is an important consideration. Should someone get injured on your property, you may not be held personally liable for the damages.

If your business is an LLC, corporation, or partnership, you’ll likely need to register your business with any state where you conduct business activities.

There are several other business structures to choose from, depending on which country you live in. Speak with an accountant or bookkeeper to determine which option best suits your needs.

10. Investigate your legal requirements

Complying with legal regulations is a top priority for current and prospective business owners, according to the QuickBooks survey. Before you launch your business, consult a lawyer to ensure you’ve considered all the legal requirements. A reliable lawyer can help you solve legal and contract disputes and give advice before you sign a new contract.

Here are some essential questions to ask your lawyer:

Different laws apply to every type of business, product, or service. Every country, including the United States and regions within, will have its own set of rules. Your local and federal government websites are an excellent place to begin your research about legal requirements.

You should also consult national consumer and privacy laws for collecting personal customer information.

11. Apply for permits and business licenses

Visit your government services or the  Small Business Administration (SBA)  to determine whether your business requires any national or local licenses or permits.

While you’re at it, check to see if you qualify for any tax deductions and credits. Many local governments design special credits to help small businesses grow faster.

You will also need an EIN if you plan to hire employees or open a business bank account. This will also serve as your tax ID so that you can pay federal, state, and local taxes.

Your  accountant or bookkeeper  can advise you on any other tax-related applications you may need to complete. Again, this process depends on where you live and the type of business you’re operating.

12. Create and register a business name

After you’ve had a conversation with your accountant and lawyer, it’s time to register your “doing business as” name. The process may differ by country and region.

Seasoned business owners recommend consulting an expert to help you choose your business name, create your logo, and register your business. But 76% of prospective business owners say they’ll be choosing their own name, and 53% will attempt to design their own logo.

You can change your name and logo down the road, but try to start with a name and brand that you can stick with. Before you register your business name, you may run a few options past an expert.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before finalizing your choice of business name:

Once you’ve landed on a name you feel good about, make sure it’s available. The quickest way to find out is through an online search. Enter your desired name into Google and check social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Then reference your local secretary of state’s office to ensure another company isn’t using the name. If you plan to conduct business in multiple countries, check for the name’s availability in those countries as well.

You should register the name and ensure it’s valid before creating business cards, logos, websites, and other materials. Again, registration sites differ by region and country.

Finally, if you decide to register your name as a trademark, you’ll need to do so at this point. Your lawyer can guide you through this process. Keep in mind that there are additional costs associated with every registration.

13. Open a small business bank account

A  business bank account  can help you track business expenses and take advantage of  tax deductions and credits  available to small business owners. You might consider opening a business bank account as soon as you start making business transactions. If you’re an LLC or corporation, you must have a separate bank account for company finances.

Arrange a meeting with a business banking specialist to determine which type of account is right for your business. Cross-reference the bank’s advice with your accountant to determine which savings bundles or special accounts will benefit you.

You may be  planning an international business strategy  and expecting to generate a high sales volume in those overseas markets. In this case, opening a bank account in the local market makes even more sense. You’ll save money on bank transfer and currency exchange rate fees.

Plus, establishing a financial presence by country will make it easier for your bookkeeper and accountant during tax season, as they’ll be able to see separate statements for country-specific revenue.

There are other benefits to opening a business bank account including:

14. Set up accounting and payment systems

Current business owners say setting up financial systems is the first thing you should get help with when starting a new business. If your accounting system is set up correctly from the start—with future growth in mind—you’ll save yourself time and money in the long run.

Many small business owners outsource their accounting to a bookkeeper or chartered accountant. While that can save you a lot of time, you still need access to tools to help you review your finances month to month.

The top three financial processes current business owners say they wish they’d invested in sooner are expense tracking, inventory tracking, and invoicing. Since cash flow is critical in starting a business, don’t launch without a  cash flow spreadsheet  and a  balance sheet . You might also consider  accounting software  that automates this process and can help you visualize the money coming in and going out.

Regardless of your choice, maintain a complete record of all of your finances in one place. Every level of business has legal and record-keeping tax obligations. Nailing down your bookkeeping from day one frees you up to work on growing your business.

15. Keep your finances current

For small business owners, tax time is all the time. Ultimately, small business owners claim tax breaks on their tax returns, but year-round tax planning is important to maximize tax benefits. In order to make the most of this tax season, keeping your finances current is imperative.

No matter how you file taxes, small business owners need to keep an accurate record of financial activities throughout the year. If you’re not quite sure where to start, consider  working with a tax professional . If you’d prefer to do your taxes on your own, you might invest in tax preparation classes to help you get it right.

16. Outsource essential functions early

When starting a business, you might be tempted to do everything yourself to save money. But spending time on tasks that aren’t in your skill set can cost you even more time and money.

Delegate or outsource tasks  that aren’t your area of expertise, like accounting, administrative work, or public relations. If you have the funds and legalities worked out, you can hire a few employees to share the workload.

In fact, new business owners plan to hire 10 employees and seven contractors on average within the next 12 months, according to the QuickBooks survey.

It might be tough at first to trust other people with your business. But if you  hire great employees , you’ll question why you didn’t hire them sooner.

If money is tight but you still need help, you can enlist contractors or freelancers. Managing your sanity is just as important as managing your time.

17. Learn how to hire and pay employees

If you decide to  hire someone  instead of outsourcing to a contractor, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with:

You must withhold taxes from employee paychecks. Speak with your accountant to ensure you meet all your tax responsibilities. Ask  common payroll questions  to understand  payroll basics .

Digital  payroll services  offer both self-service and full-service options. Using payroll software can help you:

Overall, payroll software can help you  manage payroll  effectively and better understand  how to process payroll .

18. Find a business location

How to find a business location

Nearly 1 in 4 small businesses starting soon will have a 100% remote workforce. The majority of small businesses will still operate from a business location to some extent.

If you’re preparing to open a brick-and-mortar food or retail business, picking the right location is extremely important. As you scout locations, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

No matter what type of business you plan to start, make sure your location can meet your present and future needs. Look for adequate electrical wiring and utilities, space for your employees or any special equipment, and even zoning ordinances.

Finally, keep the cost in mind. Rent is a major monthly expense for many small businesses, and there may be other location-related expenses like insurance, cleaning services, and parking fees.

19. Market your business and launch a website

New small business owners say building a business website is their top marketing priority. In an increasingly digital world, it’s a smart move. In fact, 28% of small businesses say they are selling more products and services online than last year. The majority of them are doing so as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And experts predict that this shift to e-commerce is here to stay.

Whether you run an online business or a brick-and-mortar location, you must include a website as part of your marketing strategy. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to  set up your business for online sales . There are lots of easy-to-build, affordable  website options . A few things to think about are:

When you have the time and resources, you can begin creating social media profiles to  boost your social media presence  and bring in new customers. From there, consider investing in  digital marketing tactics  like paid ads, reviews, and search engine optimization. As your business grows, you can budget for a stronger, more impactful digital marketing strategy.

20. Explore business partnerships

We discussed reasons to enter a business partnership, but we should also address partnering with other companies for collective growth. There are several ways to form partnerships, like using referrals or joint ventures.

Referrals and revenue share

Some work with partners to help them sell services in exchange for a commission or revenue share wherein one business gives a percentage of a sale. Revenue shares are common for small sales teams and business owners who want to expand without hiring more full-time employees.

With referrals, you might offer a commission to a partner who helps introduce and assist you in closing a prospective customer.

Revenue sharing is usually better for businesses that help a customer use your product or service better. For example, software vendors have expert partners who might help a mutual customer use the software more effectively. As a result, the customer may spend more money with the software vendor. And the expert partner would get a percentage of sales based on agreeable terms.

Joint ventures

If you plan to build a tower for office space or make a movie, consider forming a joint venture with another business or group of companies.

Let’s say you have all the equipment and staff to film the story but want to add computer graphics. That’s where a partnership with another production company with those capabilities makes sense.


If two businesses have similar target customers, it often makes sense to partner on a cross-promotion.

Spend some time thinking about whether there are businesses in your community you can partner with. When approaching them:

Just like when you’re hiring employees, place trust at a premium. You can always ask their existing or past partners whether they were happy with a recent joint venture or cross-promotional experience.

21. Drive customers to your business

While creating a website can be made simple with plenty of online tools to assist you in your journey, driving customers to your business can be much more tricky. Depending on your type of business you’ll need:

Even with these tools, both time and commitment are required to build brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Asking for help may sometimes be a challenge, but don’t underestimate the power of utilizing your network or teaming up with a mentor for help. Take advantage of your social and business circle of friends for better insight.

How much does it cost to start a business?

There’s no easy answer. The cost of starting a new business varies by business type, industry, and location.  Estimate your startup costs  on the SBA website before starting your business to determine how much you’ll need and whether you should apply for funding.

There are a few costs every business can expect to incur upon startup. These include things like:

If you plan to open a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll need to pay for office space, equipment and supplies, and utilities.

Regardless of your business structure, you still need to pay for things like:

It’s a good idea for every new business owner to invest in an accountant or legal professional. And if you plan to hire employees or contractors, they’ll expect to be paid too. If you work in a trade, you may need to purchase special equipment or machinery to get started, or you may need to outsource your production.

Start by identifying all your business expenses and how much they’ll cost. Some will have well-defined costs. You’ll have to estimate others to the best of your ability. From there, organize your expenses into one-time expenses and ongoing expenses.

Track these expenses carefully because they may be tax-deductible. The SBA recommends counting at least one year of monthly expenses in your startup costs.

When should you start a business?

Are you ready to start a business?

There’s never going to be a perfect time to start a business. Unless you have a crystal ball, you can’t predict what’s in store for the economy or your life. So the best time to start a business is when you feel you have the time and energy to devote to it. You’re passionate about your idea, and you’re ready to take the leap.

But there are a few other indicators that you might be ready.

Of course, these are no hard and fast rules. Many would argue that a pandemic isn’t a great time to start a business. But 28% of people say that the coronavirus only accelerated their plans to start a business within the next 12 months. And 72% of prospective business owners feel optimistic about the road ahead. They affirm that the best time to start a business is when you feel ready.

Is starting a business difficult?

Starting a business can be difficult, but it’s easier with help.

Seasoned business owners recommend getting help setting up financial systems, choosing a business structure, registering your new business, and even choosing a business name. But prospective entrepreneurs aren’t totally eager to follow that advice.

Nearly half of prospective business owners say they plan to set up their financial systems on their own. Another 50% say they’re going to choose their own business structure and hope for the best. And 76% say they don’t need help choosing a business name.

It might seem like a frivolous cost to invest in help in these areas. But current business owners emphasize the importance of getting these things right the first time. Many said they wish they would have invested in financial management sooner, including expense tracking and invoicing solutions. And while registering your business might seem simple, structuring a business incorrectly can have costly consequences.

There are lots of steps you must take when starting a new business, but no one expects you to be an expert right off the bat. Finding a mentor or investing in outside help increases your odds of success.

How to start a business with confidence

This article outlines the necessary steps you must follow to launch a new business, but we’ve only scratched the surface. You will need to chart your own course. Remember to start with your vision, research your opportunities, and record it all in a  business plan  or journal.

It’s critical to understand and manage your startup costs and cash flow wisely. If you aren’t self-funded, find out which investment options make the most sense for your business.

Outsourcing or hiring employees who are experts in their field can free up your time to focus on what you do best and drive growth. Plus, you can utilize services to automate processes, like  accounting software  to help with your books and closing. You can also lean on business partners in your community to support and grow your customer base collectively.

When in doubt, ask for help. Expert advice can take your business to greater heights. And remember that fortune favors the bold, but it smiles on the prepared.

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How to write a professional follow-up email after an interview with examples

Charlotte Grainger

Don’t forget to drop the hiring manager a line after you’ve said your goodbyes! 

The interview is over and the waiting game has officially started. While you’re sitting around twiddling your thumbs, there’s something you could do. Sending a professional follow-up email after an interview is common practice. Not only is this a professional move but it also lets the hiring manager know that you’re serious about the position. You might say it’s a win-win.

Before you rush to your laptop and start bashing the keyboard, you need some expert advice. A poorly written, all-too-casual email may do more harm to your application than good. Here at, we have all the resources you need to supercharge your job search and help you get hired faster. In the following guide, we will be covering: 

What to include in a follow-up interview email

You don’t have to be an every day Shakespeare to write a follow-up interview email. If you’re feeling frazzled and don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. As you might imagine, this email has simple elements you need to include. Here’s a quick rundown: 

1. Subject line 

First up, you need to conquer the subject line of the email. You know where this is — it’s the small box at the top of the email page that says “subject”. 

You may want to include the job title for which you’re applying and the reason for your email. For example, you might write “Following up re: marketing coordinator role” or “Checking in about the marketing coordinator position.” This approach works well if you are applying to work at a large company where the hiring manager will be filling multiple vacancies. If you have a job application number, you can slide it into the mix here too. 

Want to go down a more casual route? You don’t always have to include the job position name when writing a follow-up email after an interview. If the company is relatively small and you have the hiring manager’s direct email, you can get straight to the point. It’s polite to go with a quick and easy “Thank you for your time” or even merely a “Thank you.”

2. Greeting 

Let’s say you and the hiring manager really hit it off during the interview. You were laughing, joking, and generally being all buddy-buddy. That friendly vibe may trick you into thinking you can drop them a “Hi Steve” greeting. Don’t make that rookie mistake. 

The safest bet is to keep things formal in this email. That means using “Dear” and the hiring manager’s title and surname. So, you can write “Dear Mr. Jenkins,” for example. 

3. Introduction 

Gratitude is everything when writing this email. Kick things off by first saying thank you to the hiring manager. On average, only 20% of applicants make it to the interview stage of the hiring process. Acknowledge that at this point by saying something like “Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the position of marketing coordinator.”

4. Body text 

The body text depends on your main reason for following up with the hiring manager. That may be because you haven’t heard back about the role or because you want to share your enthusiasm for it. Either way, there are some things you may want to include here: 

You don’t have to tick all of the above boxes. Ultimately, what you write will depend on what you need to know from the hiring manager. Don’t panic if you don’t know what to say. Later in this guide, we will share a few email examples to get your creative juices flowing. 

5. Signing off 

Once you’ve written the bulk of your email, it’s time to sign off your email. This line doesn’t need to be too long. Remember, time is of the essence here. You want to end things on a positive note but keep it simple. You might go with “Looking forward to hearing from you.” 

How long should a follow-up email be?

When you’re following up after an interview, you might have a lot to say. However, waxing lyrical about how much you enjoyed learning about the job, how you can see yourself fitting right in, and how you can’t wait to get started might be overkill. 

As a general rule, keep this email short, sweet, and to the point. Aim for no more than a paragraph — with an intro line and signing-off line on either side of it. The words you choose matter as the hiring manager won’t have loads of time to read your email.

How to write a follow-up email after an interview: 4 tips

Now that you know what to include in a follow-up interview email, you’ve got the basics down. However, if you want your email to stand out from the crowd (for the right reasons), you need some extra advice. Here are four writing tips that will help you along the way.

1. Keep the tone formal 

You might feel like you and the hiring manager are on good terms. That’s great! However, when writing your follow-up email, you still need to adopt a formal approach. There’s no room for jesting or casual remarks here. It doesn’t matter how well you and the interviewer got along, keep in mind that the email is still a professional piece of correspondence 

2. Don’t write too much

Repeat after us: Your follow-up email is not a place to cover everything you think you missed in the interview. Sure, if there is a crucial nugget of information you need to share, you can include it. However, don’t make the mistake of cramming the email with anything that pops to mind. As we’ve mentioned, you should stick to around one paragraph. 

3. Be specific about your reason

Why are you emailing the hiring manager? You should be specific about this. The last thing you want is to leave them scratching their head. If you’re emailing to hear back about the job, say so. If you’re reaching out because you want to keep in touch professionally, say so. Don’t leave any doubt in the reader’s mind about the purpose of your message.

4. Check the spelling and grammar 

Before you click that “send” button, you need to make sure that you haven’t made any silly mistakes. Poor spelling and grammar are unlikely to impress anybody. Make sure that you proofread your email in the first instance. You can also use Grammarly to check it too. 

20 questions to ask at the end of an interview

As the interview comes to a close, you may feel that you have told a worthy career story, but there is one last challenge to negotiate: the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Here are 20 of the best questions to ask.

Follow-up interview email examples

Ready to shoot a quick message to the interviewer? If you’re looking for some creative inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got three interview email examples here.

Dear Mr. Jenkins, 

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the marketing coordinator role last week. I was interested to learn more about the position and enjoyed meeting the wider team. I’m emailing to inquire as to when I can expect an update on my application and the next steps. Please let me know if you need any more information from me to help make this decision. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Kind regards, 

Sally Pearson

I am emailing to thank you for interviewing me yesterday. I relished learning more about the marketing coordinator role and hearing about your goals for next quarter. I wanted to note that I am currently undertaking a Hootsuite refresher course, which may be beneficial for your upcoming social media campaigns. I believe I would be an excellent fit for this position. Let me know if you require any further information. 

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the role of marketing coordinator. I was elated to make it to this stage in the hiring process. Upon learning more about the position, I believe that I am well-suited to it and can fulfil the requirements. I would love to know when I can expect an update and look forward to hearing back.

The takeaway 

20 questions to ask at the end of an interview


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  23. How to write a professional follow-up email after an interview with

    The safest bet is to keep things formal in this email. That means using "Dear" and the hiring manager's title and surname. So, you can write "Dear Mr. Jenkins," for example. 3. Introduction. Gratitude is everything when writing this email. Kick things off by first saying thank you to the hiring manager.