Writing Methods Section Of Dissertation

Like me, for many, the task of coming to understand methodology begins with reading.

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This is one of those cases where books hold their own.

If you consider yourself an absolute beginner (i.e., you need to start with background reading), ask a librarian (or Wikipedia) for an introductory research methods text.

Establishing credibility through story-telling and self-revelation One of the key objectives of the chapter is to establish the reliability of the research and the credibility of the researcher.

Building a picture of an authoritative and competent researcher is crucial for building confidence in the research. On the other hand, employing too many passive constructions (e.g., ‘the interviews occurred…’ ‘data was collected and analysed’) can make it difficult to understand the role of the researcher in relation to how things actually happened.

Headings can help facilitate the dumping of ideas into the relevant sections and can enable items to be collected and written in any sequence.

Headings can be removed later if they don’t fit the style of the thesis.Generally, a Methodology chapter will have two components: the big picture that describes the theoretical orientation and justification (sometimes called the Research Approach), and another section that gives an account of the particularities of how the research was undertaken (e.g. In the ‘hard’ sciences ‘Methodology’ is rarely required; instead, the chapter is called Methods and the focus is on the tools and procedures of data collection and analysis.Paltridge and Starfield (2007) give a good account of the associated writing practices.The chapter that gives an account of the approach and conduct of the research generally lies after the Literature Review and before the chapters describing the findings.For social scientists, the chapter is likely to be named Methodology and contains methods within.And also, almost inevitably, coming to understand methodology and its application to a particular study is a transformational step, a threshold concept that is arrived at after considerable intellectual challenge. Read to know As must be clear, I believe you cannot (and I recommend, do not) begin writing without doing preliminary reading.Yes, reading your way into methodology important; and mostly because the breadth and depth you need cannot be found in journal articles.Seek advice from your supervisors and mine your networks–especially other doctoral students doing similar research.Look at the methodology chapters of recent theses in your field for guidance about who is cited.I commonly advise students to seek out two types of key resources: aim for big names in research methods (for example, for social scientists, Creswell) and secondly a big name in your particular field of research (for example, Hammersley and Atkinson for ethnography).You can’t go wrong knowing and citing these folk, especially when you connect their say-so to your particular work or intentions.


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