Dissertation Methodology – Definition & Guide

12.03.23 Dissertation structure & sections Time to read: 5min

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The dissertation methodology is an essential part of your research paper. It shows the reader whether your study is reliable and credible. The methodology outlines the specific research methods and tools you employed, allowing others to replicate or challenge your findings. A well-constructed dissertation methodology not only enhances the integrity of your research but also paves the way for future scholars in your field. This guide will show you how to write the dissertation methodology.

Dissertation Methodology – In a Nutshell

  • The dissertation methodology shows the reader how you carried out the research.
  • In the dissertation methodology, you have to convince the reader that your chosen research method was the most suitable for the study.
  • Mixed research methods are rarely used. If you pick this option, your dissertation methodology should clearly show why you thought mixed research would be ideal.

Definition: Dissertation methodology

The dissertation methodology explains how you carried out the research, as well as the source of your data. It also shows the methods you used to gather and analyze data. A well-written dissertation methodology section should allow the reader to create methods that are very similar to the ones used in your research.

Why is a methods section important?

This chapter is meant to convince the author that the research is authentic. It shows readers that the research was thoroughly done. Since it completely indicates how the research was done, other researchers can replicate it and confirm your results. In case your readers have any critiques and questions, they can always refer to the dissertation methodology section of your paper. Overall, this part of your paper will help readers evaluate the validity and reliability of the study.

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How to write a dissertation methodology

You should start with a recap of the research problem or question. You can reword the questions to link the literature review and methodology. At this point, you also need to indicate the type of data you needed to study the phenomenon. When covering the methodological approach, you can also explain the reasons why you chose certain methods for the research.

Now that the reader is familiar with the methodological approach, you can describe the data collection methods in detail. If you’re doing qualitative research, you should start by explaining how you selected the data.

It is essential to describe the context in which the data was collected. You should also indicate the role you played in the data collection process.


Interviews were conducted in classrooms and took about 40 minutes. All questions were open-ended.

If you used quantitative data, your dissertation methodology should indicate the sampling methods, the materials used, the procedure followed, and how you measured your variables.

The descriptions will vary depending on the methods used. For example, with surveys, your dissertation methodology must indicate the form the survey questions took, as well as the sample size. The questionnaire can also be included as an appendix.

If you used experiments, the dissertation methodology should show the methods you used to design the experiment. It should also indicate the tools used and methods you used to recruit participants.

For secondary data, your dissertation methodology will have to show the procedure you used when gathering the material for the analysis. You should also state the date the material was originally produced.

In some cases, researchers may use mixed methods to carry out studies. This is necessary in cases where qualitative or quantitative research methods alone may not be sufficient to answer the research question.

Mixed researches are quite rare since they require a lot of effort to complete. The dissertations methodology section has to indicate the reasons why you chose a particular type of data.

When writing the dissertation methodology, you also need to indicate the analysis method you used.

Quantitative researches

If you used quantitative data, your dissertation methodology must include the methods you used to gather and clean the data. This is usually done through data validation, data editing, and data coding. You also have to offer details on the software you used to analyze the data. For example, you may have used Stata or R. Finally, your dissertation methodology should show the statistical tests you used. Here are some common statistical tests used to analyze quantitative data:

  • Standard deviation
  • Skewness
  • Regression analysis
  • Analysis of Variance

Qualitative researches

Analysis of qualitative data can be done using methods like content analysis, thematic analysis, and discourse analysis. It usually involves the evaluation of the language used and the identification of patterns.

Mixed methods

Mixed methods combine both qualitative and quantitative data.

This is an essential part of the dissertation methodology. It shows the reader why you chose a particular research method. After reading this part of the dissertation methodology, other researchers should be convinced that your methods would lead to results that are valid and reliable. In other words, you have to show that the method you selected has more pros and cons and is better suited to your study.

Quantitative research

The main strength of quantitative research is that bias is less likely to occur as the researcher doesn’t need to use subjective reasoning. Quantitative research is also easy to analyze and can be generalized. It is great for determining participant opinions and experiences. Its main weakness is that it requires a large number of participants.

Mixed research

While mixed research can overcome the weaknesses of both qualitative and quantitative research, it can be difficult to perform.

Qualitative research

This research method can capture changing attitudes in a target group. It is also quickly adaptable as the researcher can adjust certain variables to improve the quality of the responses. The researcher can also be more speculative. The main issue with qualitative research is that it uses small sample sizes.

Tips for writing a strong dissertation methodology

  • Reference existing research in your field
  • The dissertation methodology should contain information that would be obvious to your audience
  • Keep the research questions in mind and make sure everything in the dissertation methodology leads back to these questions


A dissertation methodology should contain the following parts: the methodological approach, research setting and participants, data collection methods, data analysis methods, and evaluation of the methodological choices.

Your study can use qualitative data, quantitative data, or mixed methods.

The dissertation methodology is meant to show the credibility of your study.

You can use this method if the chosen research method can’t conclusively answer the research question.

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