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tips for writing a good research methodology

It is important to note very early that when writing your thesis or dissertation; you would need to discuss the methods employed in doing your research work;  this is usually written in your research methodology section. The method section allows your readers to evaluate how valid your research is and hence its reliability.  A good research methodology must include the type of research you did; how you collected and/or selected your data; how you analyzed your data; any tools or materials you used in the research and your rationale for choosing these methods. Generally, you have to write your methodology section  in past tense.

>> Read: tips on how to write an excellent executive summary for thesis project dissertation

>> Read: how to write the statement of prblem for your research work

You can start your writing by giving an introduction on your overall approach to the research; it may be by by stating the research questions; or problems investigated and the kind of data you needed if to get them answered. When it involves ranking; identification of patterns; measuring and making generalizations; it is usually best to make use of qualitative methods like survey; while  qualitative methods such interview are necessary for describing, contextualizing and gaining insights into specific concept or phenomena. For a combination for both the numerical measurement and exploration, a mixed method is most appropriate.

Quantitative Experimental Study

In a quantitative experimental study, aim for generalized knowledge about the causes of a phenomenon. You would require a designed study with controlled variables for any valid research. Accurately stating the survey is necessary and here; you describe where, when and how the survey was conducted. You may include the full questionnaire as an appendix so that readers can see how the data was collected. Give details of the tools, the techniques and the step wise procedure for conducting your experiment; give enough information so that another researcher can reproduce your results. Also explain how you selected and gathered the materials you included in your analysis. Your analysis in quantitative research will be based on numbers. You might include how you prepared the data before analyzing it; the software used in the data analysis (e.g. SPSS); and the statistical method used (e.g. regression analysis).

Qualitative case study

In a qualitative case study, the aim is to give real world knowledge about the behavior; social structure and common belief of a specific group of people. This methodology is more interpretive and less controlled; hence you will have to take into account how your perceptions and participations may have influenced the result. For the interview or focus groups: you will need to describe where, when and how the interviews were conducted; the group or community that you observed and how you gained access to them; how long you spent conducting the research;  where it was located; how you recorded your data (e.g note taking, audiovisual recording); how you selected your case study materials (such as texts or images) for the focus of your analysis. In your analysis; your quantitative research will be based on language, images and observation. This might include coding and categorizing themes and ideas (content analysis); looking at storytelling structures; trope and interpreting their meaning (narrative analysis); and looking at communication and meaning in relation to their social context (discourse analysis).

Method Clarity

Ensure that your method explains why you choose your particular method; especially if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic; also explain how your choice approach contributes new knowledge. The section should show why your research method suits your objective; and convince the reader that your approach to answering your problem statement and research question was the best approach; and also that you made the research as rigorous as possible. In either case, your methodology must be a clear and a well-structured text making an argument for your approach and not just a list of technical details and procedures. How you dealt with all problems encountered while collecting and analyzing your data should be well explained. Also show how you reduced the impact of any unforeseen obstacles. Show how you minimized the impact of any unexpected obstacles.

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