A research methodology is special techniques and various procedures implemented to define, choose, process, and make an analysis of data about a subject you’ve chosen. The methodology part / section in your research paper helps people to evaluate a paper’s reliability and genuineness.
It’s quite important to spend enough time to create a successful research methodology for your future paper. Needless to say, for many students, it’s not so easy to make a good document. In this guide, we’ve gathered the most important tips for writing this chapter successfully.
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Why Is It Important to Come up with a Bright Research Methodology?
When you’re creating a research paper, it's a step-by-step process that includes many stages, requirements, and long hours reading various sources. You must be concentrated on this work and keep a pile of things in mind. Writing a research methodology is a complicated thing. In the paper, you must explain to readers which methods and techniques you have chosen to use during the research and write what type of data you've received.
As we've mentioned before, it’s quite important to make a research methodology properly. The judgment of the whole paper depends on this document. If you want to get the most important secrets of how to create a perfect research methodology, follow the steps below!
1. Explain the Methodological Approach in Use
At the start, you need to mention what research question or problem you want to investigate in this document. Maybe you wish to describe the chosen object's characteristics, or explain a cause-and-effect strategy, or explore a new topic? Think thoroughly about what kind of data you have to get for this research. Here are some questions we suggest answering:
- Do you need qualitative or quantitative data for this research?
- Do you need to gather it by yourself or you need help?
- Do you select descriptive or experimental data?
Besides, you may answer the next questions to define a methodology:
- Why is it the most suitable method to solve your research problem or to find an answer for the research question?
- Do you use a standard methodology?
- Does your document have any philosophical or ethical considerations?
- What are the main criteria for the reliability and validity of this research?
2. Provide Your Data Collection Methods
After you’ve written an overall approach, you have to define the methods of data collection.
For quantitative research, it’s quite important to describe the methods of data collection. Include all the procedures, materials, and tools you've used to gather data for your work:
- Surveys. Provide readers with details about how, when, and where your survey was made.
- What's the type of questions in your survey? (multiple choice, scale, etc.)
- What kind of method did you use to choose participants for this survey?
- Were your surveys conducted by mail, in person, or online, and what time frames its participants had to answer?
- What were the response rate and sample size?
- Experiments. Provide all the details about the procedures, techniques, and tools you used for your experiment.
- How your experiment was designed?
- How did you measure the variables in it?
- What tools did you use for measuring?
- Existing data. Provide your readers with details on how you have gathered the material for your research.
- Where did you find this material?
- How the data was produced?
- What criteria were used to select the material?
Here you need to describe the approach you've selected and explain this choice thoroughly. Write about the criteria you used to choose sources or participants.
- Interviews. Provide the readers with details on when, how, and where the interviews were made.
- How were your participants gathered and chosen?
- What number of participants participated in an interview?
- What was the interview's form?
- How were interviews recorded and how many hours did it take?
- Participant observation. Provide the details about the observation.
- What community or group of people did you choose and why?
- How long and where did the observation take?
- What was your role in this group of people?
- What method did you choose to record your data?
- Existing data. Provide your readers with the methods you've selected to choose the materials for this research.
- What materials were analyzed and why?
- How were these materials chosen?
3. Describe Your Analysis Methods
Show to readers how you've analyzed your data. Please keep in mind that you don't have to present or discuss the results of your work here.
Your analysis must be done on numbers. Include the things below in this part:
- How was your data prepared for the analysis?
- What kind of software have you used?
- Which tests have you used for this analysis?
The data was prepared thoroughly before the analysis. It was checked meticulously for outliers (using the labeling rule) and missing data. The values outside the range were defined outliers. Then this data was analyzed using statistical software Stata.
This type of research is made on observations, language, and images. These are the methods you can use for the analysis:
- Content: discuss and category the words and phrases meaning.
- Thematic: code and examine the data to define themes and patterns.
- Discourse: study communications and meaning to the social context.
After the interviews, the thematic analysis was used. It means coding the information before defining the key themes. Every five themes were examined thoroughly to understand the participants' motivations and perceptions.
4. Evaluate and Justify the Methodology You Choose
The methodology must provide its readers with an explanation of why you've selected certain methods for this research. You must prove why other methods weren’t acceptable for the objectives. You may also write about the weaknesses of the chosen approach but explain why its strengths have convinced you to choose it. As for lab experiments in the research, they cannot always duplicate real-life situations. But these experiments may help to test relationships between variables. For example, it's impossible to generalize results from unstructured interviews but with them, it’s easy to see its participants’ emotions, perceptions, and motivations.
Tips to Come up with a Winning Research Methodology
Feel free to use these tips to create a successful document fast:
- Be focused on the research question. Remember that the methodology part must explain why you've selected certain methods for the research and ensure people that you’ve chosen the best approach for solving the problem.
- Cite sources properly. With proper referencing, you'll make the whole work stronger, show your understanding of methodologies, and demonstrate skills to pick up the right approach.
- Write for readers. Include the most important details in the document. Try to write about how you've selected the methodology and make it understandable for readers. A methodology must be structured properly and clear.
- Discuss unexpected obstacles. If during gathering the data you've met any difficulties and problems, write about how you've solved this issue. Your main task is to show to readers that your work was made with a great attention to details.
- Make your work well-structured. Organize your paper thoroughly to keep it understandable for readers. Create a clear outline and follow it during writing. It'll help to make your methodology good organized.
- Justify your methods. Provide reasons why you've selected particular methods to convince readers.
- Draft your methods as you perform them. The right way to create a good methodology is to write it during your research. In this case, it will be easier for you to provide and describe research methods meticulously. Needless to say, it will make your whole paper more professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Observational - can be received through your observation of activity.
- Experimental - can be collected as a result of the experiment.
- Simulation - can be generated as a result of a process that simulates a real-world system or process.
- Compiled or derived - can be obtained by using existing data that needs to be generated into new data by transformation (aggregation or a formula).