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Include your hypotheses, if applicable, or what you are setting out to prove through your research. These assumptions will also inform the research methods you've chosen. Generally, state the variables you'll test and the other conditions you're controlling or assuming are equal. Establish your overall methodological approach. Your overall approach will be either qualitative or quantitative. Occasionally, you may also use a mix of both approaches. Briefly explain why you chose your approach.


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If you want to evaluate people's views or understanding of a particular issue, choose a more qualitative approach. You can also combine the two. For example, you might look primarily at a measurable social trend, but also interview people and get their opinions on how that trend is affecting their lives. Define how you collected or generated data.

This portion of your methodology section tells your readers when and where you conducted your research, and what basic parameters were put into place to ensure the relative objectivity of your results. Include enough detail that your study can be replicated by others in your field, even if they may not get the same results you did.

Provide background for uncommon methods. Particularly in the social sciences, you may be using methods that aren't typically used, or that don't seem to fit with your research problem.

These methods may require additional explanation. Basic investigative procedures don't need to be explained in detail. Generally, you can assume that your readers have a general understanding of common research methods that social scientists use, such as surveys or focus groups. Cite any sources that contributed to your choice of methodology. If you used anyone else's work to help you craft or apply your methodology, discuss those works and how they contributed to your own work, or how your work is building on theirs.

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You would mention those as contributing sources. Explain your selection criteria for data collection. If you're collecting primary data, you likely set eligibility parameters. State those parameters clearly and let your readers know why you set those parameters and how they are important to your research. Justify the size of your sample, if applicable, and describe how this affects whether your study can be generalized to larger populations.

Writing Methodology

For example, if you conducted a survey of 30 percent of the student population of a university, you could potentially apply those results to the student body as a whole, but maybe not to students at other universities. Distinguish your research from any weaknesses in your methods. Every research method has strengths and weaknesses. Briefly discuss the weaknesses or criticisms of the methods you've chosen, then explain how those are irrelevant or inapplicable to your particular research. State whether you actually encountered any of these common problems during your research.

Describe how you overcame obstacles. Overcoming obstacles in your research can be one of the most important parts of your methodology. 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.


  1. Research Methodology Format.
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  6. 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.

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    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. EssayOneDay provides students with professionally written essays, research papers, term papers, reviews, theses, dissertations and more. Thank you! I would surely recommend your services to all my friends.

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