Writing the methodology section of a dissertation
Our consultants are skilled in both quantitative and qualitative methods and can
assist students choose and defend an appropriate research design.
The purpose of the methodology chapter is to give an experienced investigator enough information to replicate the study. Some advisors do not understand this and require students to write what is, in effect, a textbook. A research design is used to structure the research and to show how all of the major parts of the research project, including the sample, measures, and methods of assignment, work together to address the central research questions in the study. The chapter should begin with a paragraph reiterating the purpose of the study. The following subjects may or may not be in the order required by a particular institution of higher education, but all of the subjects constitute a defensible methodology chapter.
Appropriateness of the Research Design
This section is optional in some institutions, but required by others. Specify that the research for the dissertation is experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational, causal-comparative, quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, or another design. Be specific. The designated approach should be defended by contrasting and comparing it with alternate methods and rejecting those that do not meet the
needs of the study. This section should not be a textbook description of various research designs, but a
focused effort to match a rational research design with the purpose of the study.
A qualitative study does not have variables. A scientific study has variable, which are sometimes mentioned in Chapter 1 and defined in more depth in Chapter 3. Spell out the independent and dependent, variables. An unfortunate trend in some institutions is to repeat the research questions and/or hypotheses in both Chapter 1 and Chapter 3, a needless redundancy. Sometimes an operational statement of the research hypotheses in null form is given to set the stage for later statistical inferences. In a quantitative study, state the level of significance that will be used to accept or reject the hypotheses.