How to Write a Methodology

Students need to submit a research paper or dissertation when they are writing their thesis. Most of the research papers follow the same format. There are different sections and chapters that they need to cover when writing a research paper. Students always stumble when they come to the research methodology chapter for their thesis. We shall have a look at how to write a methodology for a research paper in the following paragraphs and learn the correct way to do so.

What is a Methodology Chapter

When you are writing a research paper or dissertation, there is a general layer or research paper format to be followed. This means you need to cover the following chapters when writing your proposal:

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Chapter I – Introduction
  • Chapter II – Background
  • Chapter III – Methodology
  • Chapter IV – Results
  • Chapter V – Conclusions and Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix

Each of the chapters are divided into subtitles or contents. Students know how to write the introduction part, but may find it difficult to explain their methodology of research. This is the most important part of your research paper as you will be giving an insight to your readers about how you conducted the research and came up with the conclusion. In a research methodology chapter, you have to provide the reader with a quick overview of the way you were able to gather information as well as material for your paper. This chapter is where you need to include the techniques undertaken to collect data. This means explain the surveys, data mining, interviews and experiments you may have conducted to propose your conclusion. Also, include the procedures for data analysis like an analysis formula. You should also be able to justify your methods as to give it more credibility. This is true, especially for students who are writing a scientific research paper. A methodology is the most crucial point and should be presented thoroughly and in a concise way.

How Do You Write a Methodology

If you want to make your research appear more credible there is no option but to understand in detail, how to write a methodology. A research methodology will help you showcase your knowledge of using alternative methods that help in presenting your research topic more valid. The best way to demonstrate your research is by using a qualitative or quantitative research process. The following are the general guidelines that you should follow depending on the type of dissertation or research paper you are writing.

Tips on Writing a Methodology for a Research Paper

When you are writing a methodology, keep in mind you are supposed to explain your basic research plan. You need to begin with a few introductory lines that restate your purpose for research. It is alright to use the basic phrases and statements you used for the Introduction chapter. Then you need to begin writing the following information for your methodology chapter:

Participants

This is the part where you explain your basic research conducted using population or samples considered. You need to define the population or sample you have taken into consideration. Then you need to explain how many participants or samples were included in the study and the way you selected them.

For example:
The population considered for this study is defined is the number of OPD patients who have made a purchase from the hospital pharmacy during the time frame of this sampling.

You can explain the population considered using just one statement or short explanation. However, when it comes to the procedure of sampling you need to explain in detail. You will also have to detail how you selected the sample, the place, time, specific names (if possible or needed), number of participants or samples considered, etc. Do not miss out on any detail as it very important to explain the representation of your population to the reader.

Instrumentation:
The instrumentation part is where you explain the calculations, techniques, procedures, calibration plots and equipment used, whichever is applicable for your paper. If you have conducted a survey, explain how, when, why you conducted it and if you are using a survey conducted by someone else, make sure you state the source. You should include the original copy of the survey in the appendix and state in your methodology that the survey is included in the appendix.

Time Period and Procedure:

Another important aspect of methodology is to explain when you began conducting your research and the time it ended or will end. You should also explain any of the procedures you followed while conducting the research such as filling consent forms by the participants, instructions handed out to the participants, etc.

Analysis
Now comes the most significant part of writing a methodology. You need to analyze the data you acquired in detail. You need to answer each of the research questions you have to address. Perform statistical tests specifically that helps identify the dependent and independent variables in the data (if present). You can even explain the computer software that was used to help you come to the conclusion.

Assessment:
In case of the instruments you have used for your research, for example, a survey, you need to prove its validity as well as reliability. Validity is the accuracy of your measurement. You need to include the face validity of your survey, content validity that covers the topic and construct validity that refers to the theories you have used to explore the survey. Reliability is the stability of your research over time. If your survey consists of a measurement that can undergo random error, your survey loses its reliability.

Assumptions:
Obviously as you are writing a research paper, you will need to propose assumptions. You will need to specifically state the different assumptions made to support your research questions.

Limitation and Scope:
Limitation and scope is the part and parcel of every research study. Scope is the extent to which the research can be expanded and limitations include the time constraints, loss of participants, etc. The quality of the research takes a downfall with the increasing number of limitations.

When writing a methodology, always use past tense. Provide detailed information for your research, so that another researcher can use it for his/her experiments. Do not include any unnecessary information or outcomes that do not hold enough relevancy.

by Batul Nafisa Baxamusa.

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