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The Methodology Chapter of the Dissertation
Posted On 01/22/2021 05:31:28 by janewhite005

Not all dissertations require a dissertation methodology section and so you should check with your supervisor and/or course handbook as to whether your individual department expects one to be included. Customarily, the methodology section will comprise ten to fifteen per cent of the dissertation. As a general rule, undergraduate dissertations in subjects such as law, politics and history do not require methodology sections (as such dissertations tend to be focused on the reinterpretation of existing data) whereas dissertations that involve the collection of new data, via interviews or experiments, for example, do require explicit methodology sections (for instance, in risk management, business, or chemistry). In dissertations that do not feature a methodology chapter, the word count released is divided among the other sections order a methodology paper.

There are two main research types and three main types of research analysis. These are, respectively, primary and secondary research, and quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research analysis methods.

Primary research relates to the collection of primary (new) data or the use, in history, of sources written at the time of the event you are studying by actors within that period. A questionnaire that you conduct as part of your research would be primary research and a letter written by Henry VIII would also be a primary source.

Secondary research refers to data that has already been published and the re-examination of that data and further utilisation of it within your study. The reusing of a questionnaire and the results that have already been published would be secondary research in the same way that a book explaining the aforementioned letter by Henry VIII would also be a secondary source.

Quantitative research only produces results on the specific issue that is being investigated and uses statistical, mathematical, and computational programmes. A closed-ended questionnaire would be analysed using quantitative research if the researcher merely computed the results and produced a series of comments as to the percentages of respondents who gave specific answers. A common programme by which to analyse quantitative research is SPSS.

Qualitative research tends to be used more in the social sciences and the arts and is when a researcher seeks to ask ‘why’ and ‘how’ something has happened and explains the reasons with recourse to empirical mathematical models. Within primary research that uses qualitative research, small focus groups can often be employed. An open-ended questionnaire that collates and assesses a range of verbal responses would be analysed using qualitative techniques as the answers given do not lend themselves to being processed in the manner described above relating to closed questionnaires.

A mixed methodology features aspects of each or all of the above techniques. In a dissertation where one is assessing, for instance, the effects of flooding in the Wirral peninsula, it is likely that all the research techniques mentioned above would be used. Secondary data would be used through a literature review, closed-ended questionnaires could be analysed using a statistical panel and interviews with experts would be commented upon with reference to existing literature. Accordingly, both primary and secondary research techniques would be utilised as well as qualitative and quantitative mechanisms.

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