How to choose the right methodology for a dissertation

How to choose the right methodology for a dissertation
Table of Contents
  1. How to choose the right methodology for a dissertation
  2. What is a methodology?
  3. What should it look like?
  4. What to include in your methodology?
  5. Common types of research methods
  6. Interviews
  7. Observations
  8. Questionnaires
  9. Documentary analysis
  10. How to choose your methodology?
  11. How to structure your methodology

The methodology is an important part of your dissertation. It describes a broad philosophical underpinning to your chosen research methods, either quantitative or qualitative, to explain to readers your approach better. Make sure that you’re clear about an academic basis for your choice of research methodology because you need to have good reasons for it.

How to write the best thesis? It’s one of the most common questions of students. You won’t be able to submit a winning dissertation and earn the grade you deserve without a correct research methodology. Read this guide to find helpful answers and information or seek help with writing thesis form academic professionals.

What is a methodology?

Methodology should appear right after a literature review in your thesis and follow from it organically to help you achieve excellent results. Before writing it, take enough time to determine your research question and undertake your search to understand what other scholars can say about the same subject. How to write a research question and tackle it properly? Use these observations and discussions with your supervisor to set goals for conducting your primary research and making a detailed analysis.

What should it look like?

Your methodology in any written research paper type, including a dissertation or a case study, must establish clear connections between your question, existing information in this field, and the method that you use to come to valuable conclusions. This important thesis chapter should include the following:

  • Research question;
  • Description of your method or research design in thesis;
  • Rationale and background for your choice;
  • Its evaluation.

What to include in your methodology?

If you write your dissertation in sections, use its methodology to set your goals and what you intend to do in your research before you actually undertake it. Link your methodology back to literature to explain why you choose specific methods. When submitting a single thesis, this section should explain what you did. Ensure that your methodology has a clear academic justification of all the research choices you make and you link it back to literature or sources.

Common types of research methods

There are many methods that you can use to write your dissertation on scientific topics:


What are they? Interviews are popular and flexible methods to gain qualitative information about other people’s views, experiences, and feelings for your thesis project. It’s a guided conversation and its level or structure may vary. Many students follow a semi-structured format with a guide to specific topics that they want to cover in this conversation.

You’re free to follow other paths to clarify different points. Interviews are excellent tools to gather detailed information based on open-ended research questions, but they aren’t good for large groups. They consume a lot of time and your careful attention must be given.


If you need to know what people do under specific circumstances, watching them is the most effective method to get important information. Observations can form either quantitative or qualitative study. There are certain ethical concerns that may arise with this study. You may need to let people know that they’re under observation and get their consent because some of them can be unhappy with that.


If your research question asks you to gather standardized information from people to write a good dissertation, questionnaires offer the best method. How to use them? You can use them to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, but the main problem is that you won’t get the same level of detail as with interviews. They also require a lot of care. Questionnaires are perfect for any research that measures parameters for a group or makes comparisons, such as:

  • Level of awareness;
  • Percentage agreeing with propositions;
  • Average age.

Documentary analysis

It involves gaining your data from existing documents without questioning and interviewing any people or observing their behavior. Documents are tangible materials with recorded ideas or facts. They can reveal a lot of information about organizations and people. Some of them belong to public domains and are easily accessible, while others are confidential, classified, and unavailable to public access.

How to choose your methodology?

You should link a methodology back to your thesis goals and previous research. Go to local or university libraries and ask librarians for help with identifying interesting textbooks in your discipline to get further ideas. They can help you identify broad research philosophy.

A methodology should explain the weak sides of your research approach and how you will avoid these common pitfalls in your dissertation. Use both supporting and opposing arguments to explain your stance.

How to structure your methodology

Start this thesis chapter with determining a conceptual framework to operate on it with references to key sources on your chosen approach. Be clear about its weak and strong sides. Decide how you will address them in your dissertation and set out your methods, their theoretical basis, and sources to support them. Your project may aim to test them to define if they work.

Conclude this dissertation section by summing up all research methods, your underpinning approach, and any key challenges that you’ll face in the process. Your methodology and tools that you choose for your research play an important role in the future success of your dissertation. Spend enough time on this section to get it right.

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