The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions. Throughout the section, relate your choices back to the central purpose of your dissertation.
But if you take an approach that is less common in your field, you might need to explain and justify your methodological choices. In either case, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures. If you encountered difficulties in collecting or analyzing data, explain how you dealt with them.
Show how you minimized the impact of any unexpected obstacles. Pre-empt any major critiques of your approach and demonstrate that you made the research as rigorous as possible. Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research project.
It involves studying the methods used in your field and the theories or principles behind them, in order to develop an approach that matches your objectives. Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyze data for example, experiments, surveys , and statistical tests.
In shorter scientific papers, where the aim is to report the findings of a specific study, you might simply describe what you did in a methods section. In a longer or more complex research project, such as a thesis or dissertation , you will probably include a methodology section , where you explain your approach to answering the research questions and cite relevant sources to support your choice of methods.
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.
Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings. Quantitative methods allow you to test a hypothesis by systematically collecting and analyzing data, while qualitative methods allow you to explore ideas and experiences in depth. Reliability and validity are both about how well a method measures something:.
If you are doing experimental research, you also have to consider the internal and external validity of your experiment. A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research. For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of students.
In statistics, sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. Home Knowledge Base Dissertation How to write a research methodology. It should include: The type of research you did How you collected your data How you analyzed your data Any tools or materials you used in the research Your rationale for choosing these methods The methodology section should generally be written in the past tense.
What can proofreading do for your paper? Where does the methodology section go in a research paper? Reliability and validity are both about how well a method measures something: Reliability refers to the consistency of a measure whether the results can be reproduced under the same conditions. Validity refers to the accuracy of a measure whether the results really do represent what they are supposed to measure.
What is sampling? Is this article helpful? Shona McCombes Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing. Other students also liked. Developing your theoretical framework In the theoretical framework, you define key concepts and discuss relevant theories, showing how your research fits in with established ideas.
How to create a research design The research design is a strategy for answering your research questions. A literature review principally has three functions. First to deliver to the reader what knowledge and ideas have been recognized on a subject, and what their strengths and lacking part in the particular theme of the research. The common final function is to present the ideas in a specific problem and the theories for to support the phenomenon.
Schrijven, This juncture serve as starting point for context for research. As per Uma and Roger , a critical review of the literature guide the researcher to find out the wide-range understanding of particular concept, meaning of phenomenon, formulation of conceptual framework, instruments, and analytical tools for respective research theme. Further they emphasized that a review of the literature helps researcher to formulate a theoretical background which will provide comprehensive understanding of relevant subject.
Furthermore, earlier related research finding, methodological issues and foremost conclusion of the past studies and latest finding furnish updated knowledge on the topic. Next function is review of the literature uses to the researcher to formulate theoretical background, which allowing scholar to identify the relevant variables that are related to the study.
As a result conceptual framework would be established for pertinent study. Based on the past literate, relationship between variables identified and tools for measurement also could be operationalist to find the solution for the specific research problems. Literature review helps researcher to construct the arguments for the relationship between variables which lead to formulate conceptual model.
In addition to that, hypothesis can be generated through conceptual model. The literature review paly main five functions: a to build a foundation, b to demonstrate how a study advances knowledge, c to conceptualize the study, d to assess research design and instrumentation, and e to provide a reference point for interpretation of findings.
It could further explain that building a foundation requires using prior research in such a way as to validate connections, show trends, and deliver an outline of an idea, theory, or literature base. Next function is demonstrating how any study advances knowledge uses the works to present prevailing knowledge construct a situation that clearly depicts the gap in what is known that a study will address.
The common function of conceptualizing a study arises by describing hypothesis and propositions of preceding studies, defining terms, and clarifying assumptions and limitations citing relevant work to build a rationale for a study. Another function of this section of a manuscript is to provide support for the research design, method, and instruments to be used in a study.
This is done by making a case for the method the researcher believes appropriate and by illustrating why other methods are not appropriate, citing related work. The last function is to provide a reference point the findings can be compared with and the implications connected to this previously presented work. Martin explain some important function for literature review: First researcher familiarity with the literature which is straightly pertinent to the topic matters. Without referring of available source for particular phenomenon that could misguide and cheat reader proclaiming that this is the evidence.
Secondly for adaptation of theory and framework there are several available in relevant theme of the research. So, literature review guides which is most appropriate for the relevant study. Third function is critical review helps the authors to compare the studies finding in relation with country, industry and context. This aid the author to construct the similarities, differences and further advancement in the relevant field of study.
This helps to find out the gap in the knowledge. Research Methodology. Farwis Mahrool Author. Add to cart. Table of Contents 1. Function of Literature Review 3. This types of literature review advanced by De Souza Function of Literature Review A literature review principally has three functions. Further, there are many sub function of literature review. Sign in to write a comment. Read the ebook. Popper and Lakatos in Economic Method The use of literature as a medium for Methodological Justification.
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Meta-synthesis literature review is conducted usually when following inductive research approach. Argumentative literature review , as the name implies, examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. It should be noted that a potential for bias is a major shortcoming associated with argumentative literature review.
Integrative literature review reviews , critiques, and synthesizes secondary data about research topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. If your research does not involve primary data collection and data analysis, then using integrative literature review will be your only option. Theoretical literature review focuses on a pool of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena.
Theoretical literature reviews play an instrumental role in establishing what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. At the earlier parts of the literature review chapter, you need to specify the type of your literature review and provide reasons for your choice. Your choice of a specific type of literature review should be based upon your research area, research problem and research methods.
Also, you can briefly discuss other most popular types of literature review mentioned above. My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection to the research area to submitting the completed version of the work within the deadline.
For the academic journal, see Systematic Reviews journal. Comprehensive review of research literature using systematic methods. List of academic fields. Research design. Research proposal Research question Writing Argument Referencing.
Research strategy. Interdisciplinary Multimethodology Qualitative Quantitative. Tools and software. GET-IT glossary. Retrieved 18 November Journal of Public Health. PMID Centre for Evidence Based Medicine. Archived from the original on Retrieved Advising on Research Methods: A consultant's companion.
Johannes van Kessel Publishing. ISBN Retrieved 17 June Systematic reviews in the social sciences PDF. Wiley Blackwell. Archived from the original PDF on Health Information and Libraries Journal. Medical Education. S2CID Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
BMJ Best Practice. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. May Guidance on choosing qualitative evidence synthesis methods for use in health technology assessments of complex interventions. OCLC Journal of Advanced Nursing. PMC International Journal of Social Research Methodology.
International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare. Implementation Science. December Frontiers in Public Health. Research Involvement and Engagement. Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach". October Annals of Internal Medicine. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. University of York. Cochrane Consumers and Communication. Retrieved 1 June The Cochrane Collaboration. Retrieved 2 June Bibcode : PLoSO.. Journal of the Medical Library Association.
September EASE ' Nanjing, China: Association for Computing Machinery: 1—6. BMJ Global Health. Systematic Reviews. PLOS Medicine. Far West Lab. The Class Size and Instruction Project. Washington, D. The New England Journal of Medicine. Effectiveness and efficiency: random reflections on health services PDF. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Testing treatments : better research for better healthcare Second ed.
Version 5. Cochrane Library. Part II". Sao Paulo Medical Journal. Retrieved 6 October Cochrane Library in Spanish. November April Health Research Policy and Systems. BMJ Open. Cochrane Training. Cochrane Community. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. The Campbell Collaboration. Archived from the original on February 3, Retrieved March 26, Campbell Collaboration.
British Journal of Management. CiteSeerX Journal of Supply Chain Management. Overseas Development Institute. Environmental Health Perspectives. Environment International. A survival analysis". American Journal of Epidemiology. IFL Science! Retrieved 29 June Retraction Watch. How to Perform a Systematic Literature Review: a guide for healthcare researchers, practitioners and students.
Springer Nature. February Health Technology Assessment. Cochrane Methodology Review Group February The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Journal of Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. Research Synthesis Methods. Thombs BD ed. January Clinical research and experimental design. Clinical trial Trial protocols Adaptive clinical trial Academic clinical trials Clinical study design. Randomized controlled trial Scientific experiment Blind experiment Open-label trial.
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Philosophy portal. A mapping review maps existing literature and categorizes data. The method characterizes quantity and quality of literature, including by study design and other features.
Scoping reviews are helpful when it is not possible to carry out a systematic synthesis of research findings, for example, when there are no published clinical trials in the area of inquiry. Scoping reviews are helpful when determining if it is possible or appropriate to carry out a systematic review, and are a useful method when an area of inquiry is very broad,  for example, exploring how the public are involved in all stages systematic reviews.
There is still a lack of clarity when defining the exact method of a scoping review as it is both an iterative process and is still relatively new. While there are multiple kinds of systematic review methods, the main stages of a review can be summarised into five stages:. Defining an answerable question and agreeing an objective method is required to design a useful systematic review. Planning how the review will search for relevant data from research that matches certain criteria is a decisive stage in developing a rigorous systematic review.
Relevant criteria can include only selecting research that is good quality and answers the defined question. The methodology section of a systematic review should list all of the databases and citation indices that were searched. The titles and abstracts of identified articles can be checked against pre-determined criteria for eligibility and relevance.
Each included study may be assigned an objective assessment of methodological quality, preferably by using methods conforming to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses PRISMA statement,  or the high-quality standards of Cochrane. Common information sources used in searches include scholarly databases of peer-reviewed articles such as MEDLINE , Web of Science , Embase , and PubMed as well as sources of unpublished literature such as clinical trial registries and grey literature collections.
Key references can also be yielded through additional methods such as citation searching, reference list checking related to a search method called ' pearl growing ' , manually searching information sources not indexed in the major electronic databases sometimes called 'hand-searching' ,  and directly contacting experts in the field.
To be systematic, searchers must use a combination of search skills and tools such as database subject headings, keyword searching, Boolean operators , proximity searching, while attempting to balance the sensitivity systematicity and precision accuracy. Inviting and involving an experienced information professional or librarian can notably improve the quality of systematic review search strategies and reporting.
Relevant data are 'extracted' from the data sources according to the review method. It is important to note that the data extraction method is specific to the kind of data, and data extracted on 'outcomes' is only relevant to certain types of reviews.
For example, a systematic review of clinical trials might extract data about how the research was done often called the method or 'intervention' , who participated in the research including how many people , how it was paid for for example funding sources and what happened the outcomes. This stage involves assessing the eligibility of data for inclusion in the review, by judging it against criteria identified at the first stage. Software can be used to support the selection process including text mining tools and machine learning, which can automate aspects of the process.
Analysing and combining data can provide an overall result from all the data. Because this combined result uses qualitative or quantitative data from all eligible sources of data, it is considered more reliable as it provides better evidence, as the more data included in reviews, the more confident we can be of conclusions. When appropriate, some systematic reviews include a meta-analysis, which uses statistical methods to combine data from multiple sources.
A review might use quantitative data, or might employ a qualitative meta-synthesis, which synthesises data from qualitative studies. The combination of data from a meta-analysis can sometimes be visualised. One method uses a forest plot also called a blobbogram. An example of a 'forest plot' is the Cochrane Collaboration logo.
Recent visualisation innovations include the albatross plot, which plots p-values against sample sizes, with approximate effect-size contours superimposed to facilitate analysis. Such visualisations may have advantages over other types when reviewing complex interventions. Assessing the quality or certainty of evidence is an important part of some reviews. GRADE Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations is a transparent framework for developing and presenting summaries of evidence and is used to grade the quality of evidence.
Living systematic reviews are a relatively new kind of high quality, semi-automated, up-to-date online summaries of research which are updated as new research becomes available. Living systematic reviews are 'dynamic, persistent, online-only evidence summaries, which are updated rapidly and frequently'. While living systematic reviews seek to maintain current evidence, the automation or semi-automation of the systematic process itself is increasingly being explored.
While little evidence exists to demonstrate it is as accurate or involves less manual effort, efforts that promote training and using artificial intelligence for the process are increasing. He used a meta-analytic approach to aggregate the outcomes of multiple clinical studies. Many organisations around the world use systematic reviews, with the methodology depending on the guidelines being followed.
Most notable among international organisations is Cochrane , a group of over 37, specialists in healthcare who systematically review randomised trials of the effects of prevention, treatments and rehabilitation as well as health systems interventions. When appropriate, they also include the results of other types of research. There are several types of Cochrane Review, including:    . The Cochrane Collaboration provides a handbook for systematic reviewers of interventions which 'provides guidance to authors for the preparation of Cochrane Intervention reviews.
The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contains different types of independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. It contains a database of systematic review and meta-analyses which summarize and interpret the results of multi-disciplinary research. The Cochrane Library is owned by Cochrane. There are 3. Cochrane has several tasks that the public or other 'stakeholders' can be involved in doing, associated with producing systematic reviews and other outputs.
Tasks can be organised as 'entry level' or higher. Tasks include:. A recent systematic review of how people were involved in systematic reviews aimed to document the evidence-base relating to stakeholder involvement in systematic reviews and to use this evidence to describe how stakeholders have been involved in systematic reviews.
The ACTIVE framework provides a way to consistently describe how people are involved in systematic review, and may be used as a way to support the decision-making of systematic review authors in planning how to involve people in future reviews. While there has been some criticism of how Cochrane prioritises systematic reviews,  a recent project involved people in helping identify research priorities to inform future Cochrane Reviews.
This supports the inclusion of relevant evidence within all Wikipedia medical articles, as well as other processes to help ensure that medical information included in Wikipedia is of the highest quality and accuracy. Cochrane has produced many learning resources to help people understand what systematic reviews are, and how to do them.
Most of the learning resources can be found at the 'Cochrane Training' webpage,  which also includes a link to the book Testing Treatments , which has been translated into many languages. In addition, an animated storyboard version was produced and all the video resources were released in multiple versions under Creative Commons for others to use and adapt.
The quasi-standard for systematic review in the social sciences is based on the procedures proposed by the Campbell Collaboration, which is one of several groups promoting evidence-based policy in the social sciences. The Campbell Collaboration: 'helps people make well-informed decisions by preparing, maintaining and disseminating systematic reviews in education, crime and justice, social welfare and international development.
Due to the different nature of research fields outside of the natural sciences, the aforementioned methodological steps cannot easily be applied in all areas of business research. Some attempts to transfer the procedures from medicine to business research have been made,  including a step-by-step approach,  and developing a standard procedure for conducting systematic literature reviews in business and economics.
Systematic reviews are increasingly prevalent in other fields, such as international development research. The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence CEE works to achieve a sustainable global environment and the conservation of biodiversity.
The CEE has a journal titled Environmental Evidence which publishes systematic reviews, review protocols and systematic maps on impacts of human activity and the effectiveness of management interventions. Systematic reviews are a relatively recent innovation in the field of environmental health and toxicology.
Although mooted in the mids, the first full frameworks for conduct of systematic reviews of environmental health evidence were only published in by the US National Toxicology Program's Office of Health Assessment and Translation  and the Navigation Guide at the University of California San Francisco's Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.
A publication identified 15 systematic review tools and ranked them according to the number of 'critical features' as required to perform a systematic review, including: . While systematic reviews involve a highly rigorous approach to synthesizing the evidence, they still have several limitations. While systematic reviews are regarded as the strongest form of evidence, a review of studies found that not all systematic reviews were equally reliable, and that their reporting can be improved by a universally agreed upon set of standards and guidelines.
Some authors have highlighted problems with systematic reviews, particularly those conducted by Cochrane , noting that published reviews are often biased, out of date and excessively long. They proposed several solutions, including limiting studies in meta-analyses and reviews to registered clinical trials , requiring that original data be made available for statistical checking, paying greater attention to sample size estimates, and eliminating dependence on only published data.
DG Altman, . Methodological limitations of meta-analysis have also been noted. The ' AllTrials ' campaign highlights that around half of clinical trials have never reported results and works to improve reporting. In addition, 'positive' trials were twice as likely to be published as those with 'negative' results. A recent systematic review of industry sponsorship and research outcomes concluded that 'sponsorship of drug and device studies by the manufacturing company leads to more favorable efficacy results and conclusions than sponsorship by other sources' and that the existence of an industry bias that cannot be explained by standard 'Risk of bias' assessments.
The rapid growth of systematic reviews in recent years has been accompanied by the attendant issue of poor compliance with guidelines, particularly in areas such as declaration of registered study protocols, funding source declaration, risk of bias data, issues resulting from data abstraction, and description of clear study objectives. A key challenge for using systematic reviews in clinical practice and healthcare policy is assessing the quality of a given review. Consequently, a range of appraisal tools to evaluate systematic reviews have been designed.
The two most popular measurement instruments and scoring tools for systematic review quality assessment are AMSTAR 2 a measurement tool to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews     and ROBIS Risk Of Bias In Systematic reviews ; however, these are not appropriate for all systematic review types. This article is adapted from a peer-reviewed version of this article from the WikiJournal of Medicine.
This article was submitted to WikiJournal of Medicine for external academic peer review in reviewer reports. The version of record as reviewed is: Jack Nunn; Steven Chang; et al. WikiJournal of Medicine. ISSN Wikidata Q From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the academic journal, see Systematic Reviews journal.
Comprehensive review of research literature using systematic methods. List of academic fields. Research design. Research proposal Research question Writing Argument Referencing. Research strategy. Interdisciplinary Multimethodology Qualitative Quantitative. Tools and software. GET-IT glossary. Retrieved 18 November Journal of Public Health. PMID Centre for Evidence Based Medicine. Archived from the original on Retrieved Advising on Research Methods: A consultant's companion.
Johannes van Kessel Publishing. ISBN Retrieved 17 June Systematic reviews in the social sciences PDF. Wiley Blackwell. Archived from the original PDF on Health Information and Libraries Journal. Medical Education. S2CID Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. BMJ Best Practice. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. May Guidance on choosing qualitative evidence synthesis methods for use in health technology assessments of complex interventions.
OCLC Journal of Advanced Nursing. PMC International Journal of Social Research Methodology. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare. Implementation Science. December Frontiers in Public Health. Research Involvement and Engagement. Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach". October Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm Call or Text: lmccoy laverne. A literature review is both the process and the product. Bangert-Drowns, R. Literature review.
Mathison Ed. Reference to prior literature is a defining feature of academic and research writing. Why review the literature? Feak, C. Telling a research story: Writing a literature review. Ann Arbor, Mich. Search this Guide Search. Literature Review Basics. Liberty McCoy. Email Me. Schedule Appointment. Jennifer Cady. Contact: Hours: Mon-Fri ampm jesteron laverne. Subjects: How To Guides. What is a literature review?
There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:. The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i. 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. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used. 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. 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.
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. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers , pp. Structuring Your Research Thesis. Methods Section. Writing Center. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, , pp. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. Department of Biology. Bates College. 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.
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. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics. Part 1, Chapter 3. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom. Methods and the Methodology.
Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology. 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. Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands. The Methodology. Search this Guide Search. Revised on 12 June In your dissertation or thesis, you will have to discuss the methods you used to undertake your research. The methodology or methods section explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.
It should include:. The methodology section should generally be written in the past tense. Begin by introducing your overall approach to the research. What problem or question did you investigate, and what kind of data did you need to answer it? Depending on your discipline and approach, you might also begin with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology.
In a quantitative experimental study, you might aim to produce generalisable knowledge about the causes of a phenomenon. Valid research requires a carefully designed study with controlled variables that can be replicated by other researchers. In a qualitative participant observation, you might aim to produce ethnographic knowledge about the behaviours, social structures and shared beliefs of a specific group of people.
As this methodology is less controlled and more interpretive, you will need to reflect on your position as researcher, taking into account how your participation and perception might have influenced the results. Once you have introduced your overall methodological approach, you should give full details of the methods you used to conduct the research.
Outline the tools, procedures and materials you used to gather data, and the criteria you used to select participants or sources. Surveys Describe where, when and how the survey was conducted. You might want to include the full questionnaire as an appendix so that your reader can see exactly what data was collected. Experiments Give full details of the tools, techniques and procedures you used to conduct the experiment.
In experimental research, it is especially important to give enough detail for another researcher to reproduce your results. Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected material such as publications or archival data for inclusion in your analysis. The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions that the respondents had to answer with a 7-point Lickert scale. The aim was to conduct the survey with customers of Company X on the company premises in The Hague from July between and A customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from Company X on the day of questioning.
Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously, and customers responded. Because not all surveys were fully completed, survey results were included in the analysis. Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when and how the interviews were conducted. Participant observation Describe where, when and how you conducted the observation. Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials such as texts or images for the focus of your analysis.
In order to gain a better insight into the possibilities for improvement of the product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers from the main target group of Company X. A returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from Company X.
The surveys were used to select returning customer participants who belonged to the target group years old. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register, and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent.
One interviewee preferred not to be filmed. Scribbr Plagiarism Checker. Next, you should indicate how you processed and analysed the data. Avoid going into too much detail — y ou should not start presenting or discussing any of your results at this stage.
In quantitative research, your analysis will be based on numbers. In the methods section you might include:. Before analysis the gathered data was prepared. The dataset was checked for missing data and outliers. The data was then analysed using statistical software SPSS.
In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images and observations. Methods might include:. The interviews were transcribed and open coded to categorise key themes and identify patterns. Your methodology should make the case for why you chose these particular methods, especially if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic.
Discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding. You can acknowledge limitations or weaknesses in the approach you chose, but justify why these were outweighed by the strengths. Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them and to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted.
The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions. Throughout the section, relate your choices back to the central purpose of your dissertation.
But if you take an approach that is less common in your field, you might need to explain and justify your methodological choices. In either case, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures. If you encountered difficulties in collecting or analysing data, explain how you dealt with them. Show how you minimised the impact of any unexpected obstacles. Pre-empt any major critiques of your approach and demonstrate that you made the research as rigorous as possible.
Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your objectives. Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyse data e.