How Should You Write the Methodology Section of Your Dissertation?

To write the methodology section of your dissertation, include five major sections: philosophy; approach; strategy and research design; data collection and analysis; and ethics, reliability, validity, generalizability and limitations. Expound on the details that are particularly relevant to your research for each section.

  1. Describe your research philosophy

    Describe your philosophical approach to research. This philosophy drives your research method. For example, a positivist approach focuses heavily on quantitative research, while an interpretivist approach relies on qualitative methods. Use this section to justify your methodological approach.

  2. Articulate your approach

    After you have described your philosophy, explicitly outline your approach as quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods.

  3. Describe your research design

    Explain and justify the method in which you collected your data. Use this section to justify your choices for sampling and data collection tools. Tie your explanations back to your original research question.

  4. Outline your analysis methods

    Once you have outlined your data collection methods, you need to also explain how you are going to analyze the data. For quantitative research, include a description of the statistical methods you apply to the data. For qualitative research, include a description of the interpretation method.

  5. Address potential objections to your method

    Describe the steps you've taken to ensure ethical treatment of human subjects. Outline the reliability and validity of your data. Finally, acknowledge limitations of your research method.