How to Write your Dissertation: Research Methodology

Research methodologies are the methods that you are going to use in collecting data that is meant for dissertation writing. It is always important to consider theories and concepts behind the methods that you use in your research.

While describing the research method, it would be important to explain how you were able to disseminate the research questions as well as the hypotheses. We are going to guide you step by step on how to write a great dissertation.

What should be included in methodology section.

In some instances, you may be required to submit your dissertation in bits. In this case, you will submit the research methodology section before you can embark on research work.  This section should be linked to literature where you should explain the reasons behind using certain methods as well as the academic basis behind using those methods.

Common research methods used in social sciences.

There are a few research methods that you can during your research. It is therefore very appropriate for you to discuss with your lecturer so that you can choose a method that best suited for your kind of project. In this article, we are going to briefly look at the different methods that you can use in your research,

  1. Interview

It is the most widely used method due to its flexibility nature. It is the most appropriate method when you want to gather qualitative information with regard to people’s feelings, views as well as experiences.  An interview in simple terms means a guided conversation between two parties where one is the researcher and the other one the informant.  The interviewer will write a guide on the topics that he wishes to cover as well as the specific questions that he intends to ask during the interview.

It is important to note that the interviewer is free to divulge from the questions he has written down depending on the direction the interview takes. The range of answers expected is wide. An interview is a great way to collect detailed information regarding a particular topic.

It is important to note that interviews are not appropriate when you want to collect information from many respondents. This is due to the fact that they are time consuming and also you are required to be very careful so that you are able to choose the right informants who are well versed with the information that you are looking for. Such informants will be able to answer all your questions in the right manner.

Also read: how to write dissertation abstract

2. Questionnaires

This method of research is most appropriate when you want to collect standardized responses from a large group of respondents.  You can use questionnaires to collect both quantitative and qualitative data.   However, you should know that you will not get detailed qualitative responses in questionnaires as you would get from an interview.  Questionnaires require a great deal of care in their preparation and delivery. But once they are properly structured, you can easily distribute them to a large number of responded much than you could ever achieve with an interview.

Questionnaires serve best when you want to measure certain parameters in the population. For example level of education, average age, percentage of ageing and so on.  You can use questionnaired when you want to make comparisons between groups of people. For example does member of different age groups harbor the same feelings regarding an increase in taxes by the government.

3. Documentary analysis

This method is different from questionnaires and interviews in that it does not involve going to the field to collect data. Documentary analysis involves obtaining data from existing materials such as journals and books. It is the main method used by historians in their research.  This tool can also be used by social scientists while writing their dissertation.

This process involves using information that has already been recorded. The information may have been recorded in magazines, government policy records, newspapers articles, minutes of meetings and so on. Other items such as songs, poems, photographs, films and websites may also be used as tools for documentary analysis. Some documents are in the public domain and therefore they are easily accessible.

Some documents are classified, unavailable to public or simply confidential. If you intend to use such classified documents, you should talk to the holder of such documents. Agree with them how the contents can and cannot be used and also ways through which the confidentiality aspect will be maintained.

How to choose methodology and research methods

It is important to ensure that the methodology used links back to previous research and also your research questions.  You should visit the university library and the librarian may be able to help you in identifying research methods books in your respective field. Such textbooks will help you in identifying the broad research philosophy as well as the appropriate research methods related top that field.

Your methodology should explain weaknesses in the method you have chosen and also how you plan to avoid falling into research pitfalls e.g. through triangulating your data with other research methods. Or explaining why you think that those weaknesses are not relevant to your research.

Structuring the research methodology

It is important that you come up with a conceptual framework. This is what you will rely on during the process of writing your dissertation. Pay attention to the weaknesses and strengths of the approaches that you have decided to use. And also explain you intend to deal with the said weaknesses.

After developing the conceptual framework, the next important is to discuss your research questions. Ensure that you also explain how you plan to address them.

This is the section where you set out on the research methods that you have chosen.  Do not to forget their theoretical backgrounds as well as any literature that will support them.  You should explain whether the method that you are using on has been tried and tested before. Or you will be  experimenting them for the first time. Your research could also be seeking to test is a research methodology can be used in every circumstance.

You will conclude the methodology section by summarizing your research methods and the underpinning approach. You will also outline the key challenges you are likely to face during the course of your research.


The research methods that you decide to use in the research will be very crucial aspect that will determine the success of your dissertation. Do not worry to spend so much time but ensure that you do it right. Discuss your plans in details with your lecturer. He will advise you if there are any flaws in the research methods that you have decided to use.

Further reading: Thesis writing services, proposal writing services, dissertation writing services