Guide on How to Write a Research Methodology Chapter
After sorting through several ideas to choose your research topic, you must consider your methodology. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a research paper, a thesis, or a dissertation; methodology is essential to approaching research findings.
But what does the methodology section of your research paper require? What’s it all about – and how do you write one from scratch? Not to worry, in this post, we unpack these questions one by one and give you a detailed guide on how to write methods in research paper.
How can you define methodology in research?
How do you define the methodology or methods of a research paper? Well, methodology in research is a concise description of all the processes involved in gathering information, including the techniques and methods of execution. Additionally, all these create a road map that supports your findings and establishes connections between your techniques and your conclusions.
Think of the methods for a research paper as the tactics you used to obtain your findings. This chapter will need to highlight the philosophical undertones of your research while telling the reader your research choices and why they are justified. It normally includes the type of research you conducted, the method of data collection, the method of data analysis, and the various sampling techniques applied.
This process allows your readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your study and your research topic. Typically, a sample of writing methodology should include the following:
- The research form you conducted
- Your data collection and analysis process
- Materials and tools used throughout the research process
- Justifications for your research methods
Why is the methodology chapter essential in a paper?
The methodology chapter is essential in a paper for different reasons. However, two reasons stand out the most from others.
Firstly, the methodology section comprehensively outlines your understanding of the research design theory you adopted. A flawed research design theory automatically translates to a flawed methodology, which means your entire paper is in question. You get unmatched results that are flawed, and your work comes off as unreliable. This is why this section of your paper is vital – it establishes the credibility of your entire work.
Secondly, the methodology section is the data bank of your entire paper. It is the one chapter that helps to make your entire research replicable. Through a methodology chapter, other researchers can undertake your study using the same techniques and compare their findings to yours. This is a key aspect of academic research, as every study you see today builds on previous studies.
Other reasons why this chapter is vital are:
- It gives the ability to identify and evaluate any problems encountered during research
- It addresses research limitations and shortcomings
- It comprehensively demonstrates your understanding of research design
How to write a methodology
Before you start writing a research methodology, you must take note of your field of research. The simple reason is that the contents and the exact structure of a methodology chapter can vary depending on your research field.
Before you begin to learn how to write methods for research paper, check the guidelines your university provides to be sure. You could also review past research papers in your library archives for clarity. Below, we’ll explore how to write a methodology from scratch:
- Create an outline and have a plan behind it
Before you start writing, it is always helpful to write a rough outline. This gives you a concrete plan in mind with a clear pathway to follow. Never go head first into writing without knowing what exact points to put in specific places. Start with the conclusion in mind, so you won’t have to stitch incorrect pieces together.
As with all sections in a paper, the methodology should have a brief introduction. There, you remind your readers about your study’s focus and the research’s aims.
- Research design
The next part of your methodology section should be the research design. You justify all the major design choices taken clearly and intuitively in this part. This is like the main body of your methodology chapter, so don’t hold back on the details. You’ll talk about aspects like research philosophy, type, strategy, time, sampling methods, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
- The methodological limitations
This portion of your methodology chapter will go through the techniques you had to adopt and why they were justifiable given the circumstances. Methodological limits can vary considerably amongst studies, such as time and money constraints to selection bias.
- Concluding remarks
Here, it would be best if you summarised everything you’ve delivered throughout the chapter. It should be brief and concise – it shouldn’t be more than a paragraph or two. Also, only incorporate content previously covered in your chapter; do not offer any new information.
Remember to defend every decision! Clearly explain the “why” for each “what.” Also, add trustworthy methodological textbooks or academic sources to support your claims.