Dissertation Methodology Help-Sample & Examples by UK, USA & Australia Experts
In the dissertation methodology section, you have to justify and explain your choice of methodologies employed in your research. But you don’t have to explain the methodological approaches that you could have taken. In other words, say why you chose the ones you have applied in your dissertation; don’t say why you did not choose the others that were at your disposal. It is mainly the way that you approach your question that directly affects the structure of your dissertation. This article is dedicated to the aspects of dissertation methodology along with a practical example. Here you will find everything you want to know about dissertation methodology .
Types of Methodology: Qualitative or Quantitative?
Dissertation can be based on qualitative or quantitative or on a combination of both. The choice depends on your preferences, abilities and suitability of your topic. You need to be careful with the type of methodology because you need to justify your choice in your dissertation.
- Quantitative data is particularly used when you intend to discover the common form of behavior such as illegal drug use in a certain age group.
- Qualitative data, on the other hand, is used when you want to know why people engage in such crime.
Condition 1: What if I want to discover about social trends or the measurable effects of particular policies?
In this scenario, you have to undertake quantitative data analysis. The approach towards the topic would be realist. When you write a quantitative dissertation, your dissertation length would be the lower end of the range of approved length for the dissertation (for example, if the approved length is 5,000–8,000 words, your dissertation would be nearer to 5,000 words in length). This also includes tables and figures with important findings.
Condition 2: What if I want to record people’s views and use it in favor of the research?
In this case, you have to use in-depth qualitative data. You have to adopt a realist, phenomenologist or a constructional approach to the topic. When you write a qualitative dissertation, it usually encompasses extracts from interviews, conversations and documents and field notes.
Condition 3: How can I combine quantitative and qualitative approaches together?
There are many ways in which quantitative and qualitative data can be combined. Here is one practical example for your reference:
You want to take quantitative approach to analysis the social trends and policy implications. However, you may want to introduce ‘human touch’ in it by taking several interviews of people to find out what these trends mean to them. After doing quantitative analysis, you should include a chapter on the qualitative data you have collected. In your discussions and findings, you can use the qualitative data to help understand the patterns in the quantitative analysis.
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Dissertation methodology is one of the pillars of a dissertation writing that decide the quality of a dissertation. Essentially, research design a.k.a. methodology is very important in conducting a good piece of work. There are several types of research designs that can be used while composing, but you need to select one research design and explain the reasons for your choice. For a student, it is sometimes hard to execute as he/she has the pressure of accomplishing a large amount of writing work. Hence, our custom dissertation writing services offer tailored dissertation help that allows you to have your dissertation methodology written by a Ph.D. qualified writer.
Methodology illustrates the way you approach your dissertation and aim to answer the dissertation questions. This way, your examiner can know how you got hold of the data, the sources of the information and lastly how you intend to analyze the data in later part of your dissertation. However, it is not easy to deal with. You need to take a serious endeavor to achieve success in your dissertation writing. Therefore, without taking risks, you need to consult an expert who has the experience to deal with the most difficult assignment writing.
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A sample dissertation methodology
Normally methodology chapter comes after introduction and literature review. At the beginning of the methodology chapter, you need to describe what the chapter is all about.
Dissertation Topic: An investigation on the nature and impact of national or local initiatives on geography teaching in schools under ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
Chapter 3: Methodology
This chapter is written with the purpose of describing and explaining the methodology deployed in this study.
Establishing the focus of the study
This was straightforward as it stemmed from my interest in geography as a school subject with ICT as a tool of teaching and learning.
Identifying the specific objectives of the study
Cohen and Manion (1994) identify the first stage in the research process as being identification and formulation of the ‘problem’. The problem identified is that despite statutory requirement in curriculum and governments initiatives to support the development of teachers skills and to provide curriculum materials, ‘the use of ICT is underdeveloped’ and ‘new technology is used effectively in geography in only three schools in three (Ofsted, 2001 a, p.1.)……
When, I started this work in January 1999, the Government announced details of NFO training (funded through proceeds from the National Lottery) to all teachers. After noticing this particularly interesting development that raised expectations for the integration of ICT in geography teaching, I determined that NOF training would become the focus of my research…..
Later you describe how other sources inspired you to choose the certain research angle. In this part, you also have to include information regarding your background study related to the subject.
Selecting the research method
With help from Johnson (1994, p. 174), I found that selecting the research methods was a crucial part in the research process. I decided to use a variety of complementary research methods that are mainly qualitative methods. I intended to project interviews with teachers and observations and examination of documentary evidence in order to form case studies, but with initial quantitative research to gather background evidence of the teachers’ experience and attitudes in order to set the scene.
Later you describe in what other ways you gathered your data to get better insights of the varied nature of the schools and reflect the individual perception and personal accounts of the teachers at the time of their NOF training.
Arranging research access
Through my work as Geography Adviser and as a member of the NOF Approved Training Provider, SIfT, I was ‘totally enmeshed in the subject’ of my research and ‘an active participant’ (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p. 11). My straight involvement allowed me to gain access to geography teachers. I gave out questionnaire to teachers, embarking on their NOF training with SIfT during the period September 2000 to April 2001. This work has been ‘affected by teachers’ own motivations and values’ (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p. 15). But it did not mean to investigate the quality of a single training provider, the SIfT schedule and materials, but the wider impact and strategies…….
Developing the research instrument
Three main research instruments were used during this work. One: questionnaires. The questionnaire was evolved after being trialed with a teacher who was not part of the sample. The questionnaires were designed to be simple, quick and easy for teachers to complete, with several questions involving a choice of tick boxes. Twenty-nine questionnaires were returned, so it was relatively a small sample. The questionnaire can be found in Appendix i.
The data from the answers of the questionnaires was collated and analyzed and the findings can be found in chapter four.
At the next stage, the research is to form the case studies. I decided to visit each of the six schools and interviewed one or two members of the geography department with a prolonged questionnaire....
Define more information about references related to data collection.
Collecting the data
Questionnaires were distributed to and collected from the teachers at the start of their NOF training, from September 2000 to April 2001. I thought it was important to record the experiences of prior to the start of their NOF training in order to collect information to provide the background to the case studies. The initial questionnaire was confidential, but teachers who were offering to take part in a follow up questionnaires and school visit were invited to give their names. The questionnaires provided a mixture of data. Some of the data was subsequently analyzed in quantitative way, through the background and experience of the teachers and the ICT resources according to their experiences.
Later in this paragraph, you can describe the period when the investigation took, and detailed information of the setting in which you conducted the interviews.
Pulling out of the investigative phase
The fieldwork period was the most significant part of the research and the part in which in which I found myself ‘investing most in the study, by the way of time and personal involvement’ (Johnson, 1994, p. 117). I intended to include six case studies at the beginning. However, because this stage is the most interesting and rewarding one, it was tempting to visit more schools, but time was limited. Each visit lasted on an average three hours including a general tour of the geography department, the interview, the classroom observation and talking to students…..
You can also involve your experience while talking to the teachers and their reactions in brief.
Ordering the data
All questionnaires were ‘collected and classified’ and kept for subsequent analysis and held on file after the research was complete, so that the researcher was ‘prepared to be accountable or investigations’ (Johnson, 1994, p. 179). I have taken help of interviews and classroom observations in order to write the field notes.
Analyzing the data
The data gathered from the answers of questionnaires and school visits are used to evaluate the specific experienced of some teachers in order to generalize the findings. The findings from my research are compared to findings from my background reading and of official reports, Ofshed and TTA. The initial questionnaires were analyzed and the data represented in chapter four in statistical and tabular format where appropriate. The data collected from interviews and classrooms observations during school visits form the basis of case studies partly through questions from teachers and to make recommendations that are mentioned in chapter five.
Writing it down
The aim of this stage was so that “the overall conclusions or ‘message’ of the research be summarized in an assimilable and memorable form” (Johnson, 1994, p. 179) and to communicate ‘the researchers empirical experience’ to a wider audience (Johnson, 1994, p.180). The case studies on Chapter Four are ‘ideally suited to the needs and resources of the small scale researcher.’ (Blaxter et. al. 1999, p.66).
It was important to research to an aspect of education that was topical and relevant to today’s teachers. It was a significant part of the research process that the findings and recommendations be made should be relevant and effective to a wider audience of teachers. I feel that we have a ‘duty to make dissemination possible’ (Johnson, 1994, p.180) to the rest of the SifT Geography team in order to take it to a refiner level and implement strategies for future development.
The above is a full-length example of dissertation methodology. The length of a methodology solely depends on the nature and factors related to the topic.
Tips for Writing a Dissertation Methodology
- Problem: Define and explain the problems you seek to address
- Approach: Give an overview of your approach of primary research in order to guide the readers through your methodology
- Reproducibility: Reflect the results of the experiment from the collected data in a proper scientific method
- Precedence: Find out whether your research methodology is a typical comparable research project within your particular subject area
- Justification: It is very important that you explain the reasons of choosing certain research methodology for your dissertation writing
- Rationale: Critically evaluate the alternate approaches in order to defend the methods you have finally chosen. Do not forget to weigh up pros and cons of all relevant approaches
- Reliability and validity: Before choosing an approach, you should consider all types of research; the issues of validity and reliability must be explicitly discussed
- Generalization: Include a section in your methodology which directly questions how far the data obtained through your approach can be generalized
- Appendix: Attach the relevant material at the end of your dissertation. Copies of questionnaires and other methodologies material should be usually placed in the chapter of appendix.
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