A dissertation, which is also known as a thesis has a methodology which forms a major part of the whole. It does not refer to methods, but instead, methodology describes the broad philosophical message for your chosen research methods. This includes whether you will use qualitative or quantitative methods, a mixture of both and the reason why.

Methodology section

The section for methodology on your thesis describes the actions that need to be taken to dole out the investigation to research a problem and the rationale for the application of a specific procedure or technique that has been selected. This technique will be used to identify, select, process and then analyze the information being collected and then applied to understand the problem. Giving the reader a chance to critically evaluate the study at hand.


The methodology should always link back to the literature. Take time to explain why you are using certain methods and how it reflects on your academics. If you are making your submission as a single thesis, then explain the methodology and what you did and if any modifications were made to your work as you progressed. It should always have a clear academic justification for the readers to relate to.

Selected Method

A good methodology section makes it easy for the readers to understand your work. They will need to know how the data was obtained, and the results as well, being careful to explain the contribution and significance of your work. Now methodology is crucial at any academic level because an unreliable method leads to unreliable results. This is why students need to take the time to assess the right methodology for their projects. Clearly, demonstrate your reasons for choosing that particular technique.

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Data collection

In most cases, the reader wants to know how the data was collected and that it was within the acceptable standards for their area of study. Be clear if it was an interview-based study if you used questionnaires and the likes. An interview is a qualitative method of study, for collecting information based on subjective views, feelings, and experiences of people. It can be referred to as a guided conversation between a researcher and the selected person, who can be taken as your ‘informant’. The level of structure can vary, to become a semi-structured format which means that the interviewer can develop questions to cover in the conversation and perhaps write out a number of questions. However, the interviewer is free to ask different questions as the conversation builds.

Observations are made when the researcher wants to know what people do in certain situations, and how they behave. In most cases, the best way to learn is to watch them while under those circumstances to make the best assessment by understanding the information that you, as the researcher, is able to collect. Many anthropologists lean on this type of qualitative methodology, as well as researchers engaged in the arts and history subjects.

However, observations can form part of both the quantitative and qualitative research. It can be descriptive when regarding reactions and quantitative when observing, perhaps ‘the number of red cars in a certain state area’. Questionnaires for another kind of methodology, which is intended on collecting comparable results to later standardize them based on the information from a specific number of people. This is how questionnaires work. It is not a suitable method when trying to get detailed information, as you would otherwise get by using an interview. Questionnaires also need a great deal of design and delivery. The questions need to be relevant and yet not so intrusive that they would discourage the subjects from participating. This methodology does very well when trying to measure the parameters regarded to a group of people or for making comparisons. Finally, a documentary analysis can be used when obtaining data from existing information without having to conduct interviews, go through questionnaires or make observations. It can be a valuable tool for contemporary social scientists as it was for historians.