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Writing the Research Methodology Section of Your Thesis

component of thesis methodology

This article explains the meaning of research methodology and the purpose and importance of writing a research methodology section or chapter for your thesis paper. It discusses what to include and not include in a research methodology section, the different approaches to research methodology that can be used, and the steps involved in writing a robust research methodology section.

What is a thesis research methodology?

A thesis research methodology explains the type of research performed, justifies the methods that you chose   by linking back to the literature review , and describes the data collection and analysis procedures. It is included in your thesis after the Introduction section . Most importantly, this is the section where the readers of your study evaluate its validity and reliability.

What should the research methodology section in your thesis include?

  • The aim of your thesis
  • An outline of the research methods chosen (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods)
  • Background and rationale for the methods chosen, explaining why one method was chosen over another
  • Methods used for data collection and data analysis
  • Materials and equipment used—keep this brief
  • Difficulties encountered during data collection and analysis. It is expected that problems will occur during your research process. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities by explaining how you overcame all obstacles. This builds your readers’ confidence in your study findings.
  • A brief evaluation of your research explaining whether your results were conclusive and whether your choice of methodology was effective in practice

What should not be included in the research methodology section of your thesis?

  • Irrelevant details, for example, an extensive review of methodologies (this belongs in the literature review section) or information that does not contribute to the readers’ understanding of your chosen methods
  • A description of basic procedures
  • Excessive details about materials and equipment used. If an extremely long and detailed list is necessary, add it as an appendix

Types of methodological approaches

The choice of which methodological approach to use depends on your field of research and your thesis question. Your methodology should establish a clear relationship with your thesis question and must also be supported by your  literature review . Types of methodological approaches include quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. 

Quantitative studies generate data in the form of numbers   to count, classify, measure, or identify relationships or patterns. Information may be collected by performing experiments and tests, conducting surveys, or using existing data. The data are analyzed using  statistical tests and presented as charts or graphs. Quantitative data are typically used in the Sciences domain.

For example, analyzing the effect of a change, such as alterations in electricity consumption by municipalities after installing LED streetlights.

The raw data will need to be prepared for statistical analysis by identifying variables and checking for missing data and outliers. Details of the statistical software program used (name of the package, version number, and supplier name and location) must also be mentioned.

Qualitative studies gather non-numerical data using, for example, observations, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.   Open-ended questions are often posed. This yields rich, detailed, and descriptive results. Qualitative studies are usually   subjective and are helpful for investigating social and cultural phenomena, which are difficult to quantify. Qualitative studies are typically used in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) domain.

For example, determining customer perceptions on the extension of a range of baking utensils to include silicone muffin trays.

The raw data will need to be prepared for analysis by coding and categorizing ideas and themes to interpret the meaning behind the responses given.

Mixed methods use a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to present multiple findings about a single phenomenon. T his enables triangulation: verification of the data from two or more sources.

Data collection

Explain the rationale behind the sampling procedure you have chosen. This could involve probability sampling (a random sample from the study population) or non-probability sampling (does not use a random sample).

For quantitative studies, describe the sampling procedure and whether statistical tests were used to determine the  sample size .

Following our example of analyzing the changes in electricity consumption by municipalities after installing LED streetlights, you will need to determine which municipal areas will be sampled and how the information will be gathered (e.g., a physical survey of the streetlights or reviewing purchase orders).

For qualitative research, describe how the participants were chosen and how the data is going to be collected.

Following our example about determining customer perceptions on the extension of a range of baking utensils to include silicone muffin trays, you will need to decide the criteria for inclusion as a study participant (e.g., women aged 20–70 years, bakeries, and bakery supply shops) and how the information will be collected (e.g., interviews, focus groups, online or in-person questionnaires, or video recordings) .

Data analysis

For quantitative research, describe what tests you plan to perform and why you have chosen them. Popular data analysis methods in quantitative research include:

  • Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, medians, modes)
  • Inferential statistics (e.g., correlation, regression, structural equation modeling)

For qualitative research, describe how the data is going to be analyzed and justify your choice. Popular data analysis methods in qualitative research include:

  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Narrative analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)

Evaluate and justify your methodological choices

You need to convince the reader that you have made the correct methodological choices. Once again, this ties back to your thesis question and  literature review . Write using a persuasive tone, and use  rhetoric to convince the reader of the quality, reliability, and validity of your research.

Ethical considerations

  • The young researcher should maintain objectivity at all times
  • All participants have the right to privacy and anonymity
  • Research participation must be voluntary
  • All subjects have the right to withdraw from the research at any time
  • Consent must be obtained from all participants before starting the research
  • Confidentiality of data provided by individuals must be maintained
  • Consider how the interpretation and reporting of the data will affect the participants

Tips for writing a robust thesis research methodology

  • Determine what kind of knowledge you are trying to uncover. For example, subjective or objective, experimental or interpretive.
  • A thorough literature review is the best starting point for choosing your methods.
  • Ensure that there is continuity throughout the research process. The authenticity of your research depends upon the validity of the research data, the reliability of your data measurements, and the time taken to conduct the analysis.
  • Choose a research method that is achievable. Consider the time and funds available, feasibility, ethics, and access and availability of equipment to measure the phenomenon or answer your thesis question correctly.
  • If you are struggling with a concept, ask for help from your supervisor, academic staff members, or fellow students.

A thesis methodology justifies why you have chosen a specific approach to address your thesis question. It explains how you will collect the data and analyze it. Above all, it allows the readers of your study to evaluate its validity and reliability.

A thesis is the most crucial document that you will write during your academic studies. For professional thesis editing and thesis proofreading services, visit  Enago Thesis Editing for more information.

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Introduce your methodological approach , for example, quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.

Explain why your chosen approach is relevant to the overall research design and how it links with your  thesis question.

Justify your chosen method and why it is more appropriate than others.

Provide background information on methods that may be unfamiliar to readers of your thesis.

Introduce the tools that you will use for data collection , and explain how you plan to use them (e.g., surveys, interviews, experiments, or existing data).

Explain how you will analyze your results. The type of analysis used depends on the methods you chose. For example, exploring theoretical perspectives to support your explanation of observed behaviors in a qualitative study or using statistical analyses in a quantitative study.

Mention any research limitations. All studies are expected to have limitations, such as the sample size, data collection method, or equipment. Discussing the limitations justifies your choice of methodology despite the risks. It also explains under which conditions the results should be interpreted and shows that you have taken a holistic approach to your study.

What is the difference between methodology and methods? +

Methodology  refers to the overall rationale and strategy of your thesis project. It involves studying the theories or principles behind the methods used in your field so that you can explain why you chose a particular method for your research approach.  Methods , on the other hand, refer to how the data were collected and analyzed (e.g., experiments, surveys, observations, interviews, and statistical tests).

What is the difference between reliability and validity? +

Reliability refers to whether a measurement is consistent (i.e., the results can be reproduced under the same conditions).  Validity refers to whether a measurement is accurate (i.e., the results represent what was supposed to be measured). For example, when investigating linguistic and cultural guidelines for administration of the Preschool Language Scales, Fifth Edition (PLS5) in Arab-American preschool children, the normative sample curves should show the same distribution as a monolingual population, which would indicate that the test is valid. The test would be considered reliable if the results obtained were consistent across different sampling sites.

What tense is used to write the methods section? +

The methods section is written in the past tense because it describes what was done.

What software programs are recommended for statistical analysis? +

Recommended programs include Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) ,  Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) ,  JMP ,  R software,  MATLAB , Microsoft Excel,  GraphPad Prism , and  Minitab .

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  • What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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component of thesis methodology

The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

Research bias

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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  • What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Published on 25 February 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022.

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analysed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).

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Table of contents

How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, frequently asked questions about methodology.

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Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .

It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.

You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.

Option 1: Start with your “what”

What research problem or question did you investigate?

  • Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
  • Explore an under-researched topic?
  • Establish a causal relationship?

And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?

  • Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
  • Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
  • Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?

Option 2: Start with your “why”

Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?

  • Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ?

Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .

Quantitative methods

In order to be considered generalisable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.

Here, explain how you operationalised your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion/exclusion criteria, as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.

Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.

  • How did you design the questionnaire?
  • What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
  • Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • What was your sample size and response rate?

Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment ?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
  • What tools did you use?

Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced?
  • What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.

The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on 4–8 July 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.

Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

Qualitative methods

In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.

Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)

Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many participants took part?
  • What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
  • How long were the interviews?
  • How were they recorded?

Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .

  • What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
  • How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?

Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.

  • What type of materials did you analyse?
  • How did you select them?

In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness shop’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.

Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.

Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.

Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods here.

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Next, you should indicate how you processed and analysed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.

In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:

  • How you prepared the data before analysing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
  • Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
  • Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).

Specific methods might include:

  • Content analysis : Categorising and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
  • Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context

Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.

Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .

  • Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviours, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
  • Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalised beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
  • Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalisable.

Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.

1. Focus on your objectives and research questions

The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives  and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .

2. Cite relevant sources

Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:

  • Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
  • Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
  • Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature

3. Write for your audience

Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.

Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your objectives.

Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyse data (e.g. interviews, experiments , surveys , statistical tests ).

In a dissertation or scientific paper, the methodology chapter or methods section comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to test a hypothesis by systematically collecting and analysing data, while qualitative methods allow you to explore ideas and experiences in depth.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research.

For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

Statistical sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. There are various sampling methods you can use to ensure that your sample is representative of the population as a whole.

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Home » Thesis – Structure, Example and Writing Guide

Thesis – Structure, Example and Writing Guide

Table of contents.

Thesis

Definition:

Thesis is a scholarly document that presents a student’s original research and findings on a particular topic or question. It is usually written as a requirement for a graduate degree program and is intended to demonstrate the student’s mastery of the subject matter and their ability to conduct independent research.

History of Thesis

The concept of a thesis can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was used as a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge of a particular subject. However, the modern form of the thesis as a scholarly document used to earn a degree is a relatively recent development.

The origin of the modern thesis can be traced back to medieval universities in Europe. During this time, students were required to present a “disputation” in which they would defend a particular thesis in front of their peers and faculty members. These disputations served as a way to demonstrate the student’s mastery of the subject matter and were often the final requirement for earning a degree.

In the 17th century, the concept of the thesis was formalized further with the creation of the modern research university. Students were now required to complete a research project and present their findings in a written document, which would serve as the basis for their degree.

The modern thesis as we know it today has evolved over time, with different disciplines and institutions adopting their own standards and formats. However, the basic elements of a thesis – original research, a clear research question, a thorough review of the literature, and a well-argued conclusion – remain the same.

Structure of Thesis

The structure of a thesis may vary slightly depending on the specific requirements of the institution, department, or field of study, but generally, it follows a specific format.

Here’s a breakdown of the structure of a thesis:

This is the first page of the thesis that includes the title of the thesis, the name of the author, the name of the institution, the department, the date, and any other relevant information required by the institution.

This is a brief summary of the thesis that provides an overview of the research question, methodology, findings, and conclusions.

This page provides a list of all the chapters and sections in the thesis and their page numbers.

Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the research question, the context of the research, and the purpose of the study. The introduction should also outline the methodology and the scope of the research.

Literature Review

This chapter provides a critical analysis of the relevant literature on the research topic. It should demonstrate the gap in the existing knowledge and justify the need for the research.

Methodology

This chapter provides a detailed description of the research methods used to gather and analyze data. It should explain the research design, the sampling method, data collection techniques, and data analysis procedures.

This chapter presents the findings of the research. It should include tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate the results.

This chapter interprets the results and relates them to the research question. It should explain the significance of the findings and their implications for the research topic.

This chapter summarizes the key findings and the main conclusions of the research. It should also provide recommendations for future research.

This section provides a list of all the sources cited in the thesis. The citation style may vary depending on the requirements of the institution or the field of study.

This section includes any additional material that supports the research, such as raw data, survey questionnaires, or other relevant documents.

How to write Thesis

Here are some steps to help you write a thesis:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step in writing a thesis is to choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. You should also consider the scope of the topic and the availability of resources for research.
  • Develop a Research Question: Once you have chosen a topic, you need to develop a research question that you will answer in your thesis. The research question should be specific, clear, and feasible.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: Before you start your research, you need to conduct a literature review to identify the existing knowledge and gaps in the field. This will help you refine your research question and develop a research methodology.
  • Develop a Research Methodology: Once you have refined your research question, you need to develop a research methodology that includes the research design, data collection methods, and data analysis procedures.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: After developing your research methodology, you need to collect and analyze data. This may involve conducting surveys, interviews, experiments, or analyzing existing data.
  • Write the Thesis: Once you have analyzed the data, you need to write the thesis. The thesis should follow a specific structure that includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.
  • Edit and Proofread: After completing the thesis, you need to edit and proofread it carefully. You should also have someone else review it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and free of errors.
  • Submit the Thesis: Finally, you need to submit the thesis to your academic advisor or committee for review and evaluation.

Example of Thesis

Example of Thesis template for Students:

Title of Thesis

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Chapter 4: Results

Chapter 5: Discussion

Chapter 6: Conclusion

References:

Appendices:

Note: That’s just a basic template, but it should give you an idea of the structure and content that a typical thesis might include. Be sure to consult with your department or supervisor for any specific formatting requirements they may have. Good luck with your thesis!

Application of Thesis

Thesis is an important academic document that serves several purposes. Here are some of the applications of thesis:

  • Academic Requirement: A thesis is a requirement for many academic programs, especially at the graduate level. It is an essential component of the evaluation process and demonstrates the student’s ability to conduct original research and contribute to the knowledge in their field.
  • Career Advancement: A thesis can also help in career advancement. Employers often value candidates who have completed a thesis as it demonstrates their research skills, critical thinking abilities, and their dedication to their field of study.
  • Publication : A thesis can serve as a basis for future publications in academic journals, books, or conference proceedings. It provides the researcher with an opportunity to present their research to a wider audience and contribute to the body of knowledge in their field.
  • Personal Development: Writing a thesis is a challenging task that requires time, dedication, and perseverance. It provides the student with an opportunity to develop critical thinking, research, and writing skills that are essential for their personal and professional development.
  • Impact on Society: The findings of a thesis can have an impact on society by addressing important issues, providing insights into complex problems, and contributing to the development of policies and practices.

Purpose of Thesis

The purpose of a thesis is to present original research findings in a clear and organized manner. It is a formal document that demonstrates a student’s ability to conduct independent research and contribute to the knowledge in their field of study. The primary purposes of a thesis are:

  • To Contribute to Knowledge: The main purpose of a thesis is to contribute to the knowledge in a particular field of study. By conducting original research and presenting their findings, the student adds new insights and perspectives to the existing body of knowledge.
  • To Demonstrate Research Skills: A thesis is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their research skills. This includes the ability to formulate a research question, design a research methodology, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions based on their findings.
  • To Develop Critical Thinking: Writing a thesis requires critical thinking and analysis. The student must evaluate existing literature and identify gaps in the field, as well as develop and defend their own ideas.
  • To Provide Evidence of Competence : A thesis provides evidence of the student’s competence in their field of study. It demonstrates their ability to apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems, and their ability to communicate their ideas effectively.
  • To Facilitate Career Advancement : Completing a thesis can help the student advance their career by demonstrating their research skills and dedication to their field of study. It can also provide a basis for future publications, presentations, or research projects.

When to Write Thesis

The timing for writing a thesis depends on the specific requirements of the academic program or institution. In most cases, the opportunity to write a thesis is typically offered at the graduate level, but there may be exceptions.

Generally, students should plan to write their thesis during the final year of their graduate program. This allows sufficient time for conducting research, analyzing data, and writing the thesis. It is important to start planning the thesis early and to identify a research topic and research advisor as soon as possible.

In some cases, students may be able to write a thesis as part of an undergraduate program or as an independent research project outside of an academic program. In such cases, it is important to consult with faculty advisors or mentors to ensure that the research is appropriately designed and executed.

It is important to note that the process of writing a thesis can be time-consuming and requires a significant amount of effort and dedication. It is important to plan accordingly and to allocate sufficient time for conducting research, analyzing data, and writing the thesis.

Characteristics of Thesis

The characteristics of a thesis vary depending on the specific academic program or institution. However, some general characteristics of a thesis include:

  • Originality : A thesis should present original research findings or insights. It should demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct independent research and contribute to the knowledge in their field of study.
  • Clarity : A thesis should be clear and concise. It should present the research question, methodology, findings, and conclusions in a logical and organized manner. It should also be well-written, with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Research-Based: A thesis should be based on rigorous research, which involves collecting and analyzing data from various sources. The research should be well-designed, with appropriate research methods and techniques.
  • Evidence-Based : A thesis should be based on evidence, which means that all claims made in the thesis should be supported by data or literature. The evidence should be properly cited using appropriate citation styles.
  • Critical Thinking: A thesis should demonstrate the student’s ability to critically analyze and evaluate information. It should present the student’s own ideas and arguments, and engage with existing literature in the field.
  • Academic Style : A thesis should adhere to the conventions of academic writing. It should be well-structured, with clear headings and subheadings, and should use appropriate academic language.

Advantages of Thesis

There are several advantages to writing a thesis, including:

  • Development of Research Skills: Writing a thesis requires extensive research and analytical skills. It helps to develop the student’s research skills, including the ability to formulate research questions, design and execute research methodologies, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions based on their findings.
  • Contribution to Knowledge: Writing a thesis provides an opportunity for the student to contribute to the knowledge in their field of study. By conducting original research, they can add new insights and perspectives to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Preparation for Future Research: Completing a thesis prepares the student for future research projects. It provides them with the necessary skills to design and execute research methodologies, analyze data, and draw conclusions based on their findings.
  • Career Advancement: Writing a thesis can help to advance the student’s career. It demonstrates their research skills and dedication to their field of study, and provides a basis for future publications, presentations, or research projects.
  • Personal Growth: Completing a thesis can be a challenging and rewarding experience. It requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. It can help the student to develop self-confidence, independence, and a sense of accomplishment.

Limitations of Thesis

There are also some limitations to writing a thesis, including:

  • Time and Resources: Writing a thesis requires a significant amount of time and resources. It can be a time-consuming and expensive process, as it may involve conducting original research, analyzing data, and producing a lengthy document.
  • Narrow Focus: A thesis is typically focused on a specific research question or topic, which may limit the student’s exposure to other areas within their field of study.
  • Limited Audience: A thesis is usually only read by a small number of people, such as the student’s thesis advisor and committee members. This limits the potential impact of the research findings.
  • Lack of Real-World Application : Some thesis topics may be highly theoretical or academic in nature, which may limit their practical application in the real world.
  • Pressure and Stress : Writing a thesis can be a stressful and pressure-filled experience, as it may involve meeting strict deadlines, conducting original research, and producing a high-quality document.
  • Potential for Isolation: Writing a thesis can be a solitary experience, as the student may spend a significant amount of time working independently on their research and writing.

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What’s Included: Methodology Template

This template covers all the core components required in the research methodology chapter or section of a typical dissertation or thesis, including:

  • The opening section
  • Research philosophy
  • Research type
  • Research strategy
  • Time horizon
  • Sampling strategy
  • Data collection methods
  • Data analysis methods
  • Conclusion & summary

The purpose of each section is explained in plain language, followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. The template also includes practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required, along with links to additional free resources (articles, videos, etc.) to help you along your research journey.

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

PS – if you’d like a high-level template for the entire thesis, you can we’ve got that too .

What format is the template (DOC, PDF, PPT, etc.)?

The methodology chapter template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?

The methodology template follows the standard format for academic research projects, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of dissertations and theses (especially those within the sciences), whether they adopt a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods approach. The template is loosely based on Saunders’ research onion , which is recommended as a methodological framework by many universities.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the methodology chapter/section will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalize your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the methodology chapter to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

How long should the methodology chapter be?

This can vary a fair deal, depending on the level of study (undergrad, Master or Doctoral), the field of research, as well as your university’s specific requirements. Therefore, it’s best to check with your university or review past dissertations from your program to get an accurate estimate. 

How detailed should my methodology be?

As a rule of thumb, you should provide enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study. This includes clear descriptions of procedures, tools, and techniques you used to collect and analyse your data, as well as your sampling approach.

How technical should my language be in this chapter?

In the methodology chapter, your language should be technical enough to accurately convey your research methods and processes, but also clear and precise to ensure it’s accessible to readers within your field.

Aim for a balance where the technical aspects of your methods are thoroughly explained without overusing jargon or overly complex language.

Should I include a pilot study in my methodology?

If you conducted a pilot study, you can include it in the methodology to demonstrate the feasibility and refinement of your methods. Be sure to obtain the necessary permissions from your research advisor before conducting any pilot studies, though. 

Can I share this template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, we kindly request that you reference this page as your source.

Do you have templates for the other chapters?

Yes, we do. We are constantly developing our collection of free resources to help students complete their dissertations and theses. You can view all of our template resources here .

Can Grad Coach help me with my methodology?

Yes, we can assist with your methodology chapter (or any other chapter) on a coaching basis. If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch to discuss our private coaching services .

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

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The methods section describes actions taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

Kallet, Richard H. "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004): 1229-1232.

Importance of a Good Methodology Section

You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons:

  • Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper.
  • Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings.
  • In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique.
  • The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from.
  • The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings.
  • The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.
  • In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized.

Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects . 5th edition. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2014; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Groups of Research Methods

There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:

  • The e mpirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences . This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation.
  • The i nterpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way . Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes. Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge.

II.  Content

The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. This is followed by situating the methods you used to gather, analyze, and process information within the overall “tradition” of your field of study and within the particular research design you have chosen to study the problem. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i.e., your review of the literature demonstrates that the method is not commonly used], provide a justification for how your choice of methods specifically addresses the research problem in ways that have not been utilized in prior studies.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following:

  • Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined,
  • Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables,
  • The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and
  • The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should:

  • Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem . Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both (mixed method)? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?
  • Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design . Your methods for gathering data should have a clear connection to your research problem. In other words, make sure that your methods will actually address the problem. One of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is not suitable to achieving the stated objective of your paper.
  • Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use , such as, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. If you are analyzing existing data, such as a data set or archival documents, describe how it was originally created or gathered and by whom. Also be sure to explain how older data is still relevant to investigating the current research problem.
  • Explain how you intend to analyze your results . Will you use statistical analysis? Will you use specific theoretical perspectives to help you analyze a text or explain observed behaviors? Describe how you plan to obtain an accurate assessment of relationships, patterns, trends, distributions, and possible contradictions found in the data.
  • Provide background and a rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers . Very often in the social sciences, research problems and the methods for investigating them require more explanation/rationale than widely accepted rules governing the natural and physical sciences. Be clear and concise in your explanation.
  • Provide a justification for subject selection and sampling procedure . For instance, if you propose to conduct interviews, how do you intend to select the sample population? If you are analyzing texts, which texts have you chosen, and why? If you are using statistics, why is this set of data being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate to addressing the research problem.
  • Provide a justification for case study selection . A common method of analyzing research problems in the social sciences is to analyze specific cases. These can be a person, place, event, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis that are either examined as a singular topic of in-depth investigation or multiple topics of investigation studied for the purpose of comparing or contrasting findings. In either method, you should explain why a case or cases were chosen and how they specifically relate to the research problem.
  • Describe potential limitations . Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? How will you attempt to control for potential confounding variables and errors? If your methodology may lead to problems you can anticipate, state this openly and show why pursuing this methodology outweighs the risk of these problems cropping up.

NOTE :   Once you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. If necessary, consider using appendices for raw data.

ANOTHER NOTE : If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data [e.g., through interviews or observations], the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.

YET ANOTHER NOTE :   If your study involves interviews, observations, or other qualitative techniques involving human subjects , you may be required to obtain approval from the university's Office for the Protection of Research Subjects before beginning your research. This is not a common procedure for most undergraduate level student research assignments. However, i f your professor states you need approval, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the office and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university. This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper.

III.  Problems to Avoid

Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but concise. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.e., the choice of a survey should include any citations to the works you used to help construct the survey].

It’s More than Sources of Information! A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.

Azevedo, L.F. et al. "How to Write a Scientific Paper: Writing the Methods Section." Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia 17 (2011): 232-238; Blair Lorrie. “Choosing a Methodology.” In Writing a Graduate Thesis or Dissertation , Teaching Writing Series. (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers 2016), pp. 49-72; Butin, Dan W. The Education Dissertation A Guide for Practitioner Scholars . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010; Carter, Susan. Structuring Your Research Thesis . New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; Kallet, Richard H. “How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper.” Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004):1229-1232; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Methods Section. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Rudestam, Kjell Erik and Rae R. Newton. “The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan.” In Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process . (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2015), pp. 87-115; What is Interpretive Research. Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah; Writing the Experimental Report: Methods, Results, and Discussion. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Writing Tip

Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them!

Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

To locate data and statistics, GO HERE .

Another Writing Tip

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods

There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world. Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce.

Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem. This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory.

Reynolds, R. Larry. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics . Part 1, Chapter 3. Boise State University; The Theory-Method Relationship. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Methods and the Methodology

Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology." As Schneider notes, a method refers to the technical steps taken to do research . Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used . This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. "Of Methods and Methodology." Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 3 (2008): 159-168; Schneider, Florian. “What's in a Methodology: The Difference between Method, Methodology, and Theory…and How to Get the Balance Right?” PoliticsEastAsia.com. Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands.

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Guide for Thesis Research

  • Introduction to the Thesis Process
  • Project Planning
  • Literature Review
  • Theoretical Frameworks
  • Research Methodology
  • GC Honors Program Theses
  • Thesis Submission Instructions This link opens in a new window
  • Accessing Guilford Theses from 1898 to 2020 This link opens in a new window

Basics of Methodology

Research is a process of inquiry that is carried out in a pondered, organized, and strategic manner. In order to obtain high quality results, it is important to understand methodology.

Research methodology refers to how your project will be designed, what you will observe or measure, and how you will collect and analyze data. The methods you choose must be appropriate for your field and for the specific research questions you are setting out to answer.

A strong understanding of methodology will help you:

  • apply appropriate research techniques
  • design effective data collection instruments
  • analyze and interpret your data
  • develop well-founded conclusions

Below, you will find resources that mostly cover general aspects of research methodology. In the left column, you will find resources that specifically cover qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research.

General Works on Methodology

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Qualitative Research

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Quantitative Research

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Mixed Methods Research

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component of thesis methodology

Writing the Dissertation - Guides for Success: The Methodology

  • Writing the Dissertation Homepage
  • Overview and Planning
  • The Literature Review
  • The Methodology
  • The Results and Discussion
  • The Conclusion
  • The Abstract
  • Getting Started
  • What to Avoid

Overview of writing the methodology

The methodology chapter precisely outlines the research method(s) employed in your dissertation and considers any relevant decisions you made, and challenges faced, when conducting your research. Getting this right is crucial because it lays the foundation for what’s to come: your results and discussion.

Disciplinary differences

Please note: this guide is not specific to any one discipline. The methodology can vary depending on the nature of the research and the expectations of the school or department. Please adapt the following advice to meet the demands of your dissertation and the expectations of your school or department. Consult your supervisor for further guidance; you can also check out our  Writing Across Subjects guide .

Guide contents

As part of the Writing the Dissertation series, this guide covers the most common conventions found in a methodology chapter, giving you the necessary knowledge, tips and guidance needed to impress your markers!  The sections are organised as follows:

  • Getting Started  - Defines the methodology and its core characteristics.
  • Structure  - Provides a detailed walk-through of common subsections or components of the methodology.
  • What to Avoid  - Covers a few frequent mistakes you'll want to...avoid!
  • FAQs  - Guidance on first- vs. third-person, secondary literature and more.
  • Checklist  - Includes a summary of key points and a self-evaluation checklist.

Training and tools

  • The Academic Skills team has recorded a Writing the Dissertation workshop series to help you with each section of a standard dissertation, including a video on writing the method/methodology .
  • For more on methods and methodologies, you can check out USC's methodology research guide  and Huddersfield's guide to writing the methodology of an undergraduate dissertation .
  • The dissertation planner tool can help you think through the timeline for planning, research, drafting and editing.
  • iSolutions offers training and a Word template to help you digitally format and structure your dissertation.

What is the methodology?

The methodology of a dissertation is like constructing a house of cards. Having strong and stable foundations for your research relies on your ability to make informed and rational choices about the design of your study. Everything from this point on – your results and discussion –  rests on these decisions, like the bottom layer of a house of cards.

The methodology is where you explicitly state, in relevant detail, how you conduced your study in direct response to your research question(s) and/or hypotheses. You should work through the linear process of devising your study to implementing it, covering the important choices you made and any potential obstacles you faced along the way.

Methods or methodology?

Some disciplines refer to this chapter as the research methods , whilst others call it the methodology . The two are often used interchangeably, but they are slightly different. The methods chapter outlines the techniques used to conduct the research and the specific steps taken throughout the research process. The methodology also outlines how the research was conducted, but is particularly interested in the philosophical underpinning that shapes the research process. As indicated by the suffix, -ology , meaning the study of something, the methodology is like the study of research, as opposed to simply stating how the research was conducted.

This guide focuses on the methodology, as opposed to the methods, although the content and guidance can be tailored to a methods chapter. Every dissertation is different and every methodology has its own nuances, so ensure you adapt the content here to your research and always consult your supervisor for more detailed guidance.

What are my markers looking for?

Your markers are looking   for your understanding of the complex process behind original (see definition) research. They are assessing your ability to...

  • Demonstrate   an understanding of the impact that methodological choices can have on the reliability and validity of your findings, meaning you should engage with ‘why’ you did that, as opposed to simply ‘what’ you did.
  • Make   informed methodological choices that clearly relate to your research question(s).

But what does it mean to engage in 'original' research? Originality doesn’t strictly mean you should be inventing something entirely new. Originality comes in many forms, from updating the application of a theory, to adapting a previous experiment for new purposes – it’s about making a worthwhile contribution.

Structuring your methodology

The methodology chapter should outline the research process undertaken, from selecting the method to articulating the tool or approach adopted to analyse your results. Because you are outlining this process, it's important that you structure your methodology in a linear way, showing how certain decisions have impacted on subsequent choices.

Scroll to continue reading, or click a link below to jump immediately to that section:

The 'research onion'

To ensure you write your methodology in a linear way, it can be useful to think of the methodology in terms of layers, as shown in the figure below.

Oval diagram with these layers from outside to in: philosophy, approach, methodological choice, strategies, time horizon, and techniques/procedures.

Figure: 'Research onion' from Saunders et al. (2007).

You don't need to precisely follow these exact layers as some won't be relevant to your research. However, the layered 'out to in' structure developed by Saunders et al. (2007) is appropriate for any methodology chapter because it guides your reader through the process in a linear fashion, demonstrating how certain decisions impacted on others. For example, you need to state whether your research is qualitative, quantitative or mixed before articulating your precise research method. Likewise, you need to explain how you collected your data before you inform the reader of how you subsequently analysed that data.

Using this linear approach from 'outer' layer to 'inner' layer, the next sections will take you through the most common layers used to structure a methodology chapter.

Introduction and research outline

Like any chapter, you should open your methodology with an introduction. It's good to start by briefly restating the research problem, or gap, that you're addressing, along with your research question(s) and/or hypotheses. Following this, it's common to provide a very condensed statement that outlines the most important elements of your research design. Here's a short example:

This study adopted qualitative research through a series of semi-structured interviews with seven experienced industry professionals.

Like any other introduction, you can then provide a brief statement outlining what the chapter is about and how it's structured (e.g., an essay map ).

Restating the research problem (or gap) and your research question(s) and/or hypotheses creates a natural transition from your previous review of the literature - which helped you to identify the gap or problem - to how you are now going to address such a problem. Your markers are also going to assess the relevance and suitability of your method and methodological choices against your research question(s), so it's good to 'frame' the entire chapter around the research question(s) by bringing them to the fore.

Research philosophy

A research philosophy is an underlying belief that shapes the way research is conducted. For this reason, as featured in the 'research onion' above, the philosophy should be the outermost layer - the first methodological issue you deal with following the introduction and research outline - because every subsequent choice, from the method employed to the way you analyse data, is directly influenced by your philosophical stance.

You can say something about other philosophies, but it's best to directly relate this to your research and the philosophy you have selected - why the other philosophy isn't appropriate for you to adopt, for instance. Otherwise, explain to your reader the philosophy you have selected (using secondary literature), its underlying principles, and why this philosophy, therefore, is particularly relevant to your research.

The research philosophy is sometimes featured in a methodology chapter, but not always. It depends on the conventions within your school or discipline , so only include this if it's expected.

The reason for outlining the research philosophy is to show your understanding of the role that your chosen philosophy plays in shaping the design and approach of your research study. The philosophy you adopt also indicates your worldview (in the context of this research), which is an important way of highlighting the role you, the researcher, play in shaping new knowledge.

Research method

This is where you state whether you're doing qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods research before outlining the exact instrument or strategy (see definition) adopted for research (interviews, case study, etc.). It's also important that you explain why you have chosen that particular method and strategy. You can also explain why you're not adopting an alternate form of research, or why you haven't used a particular instrument, but keep this brief and use it to reinforce why you have chosen your method and strategy.

Your research method, more than anything else, is going to directly influence how effectively you answer your research question(s). For that reason, it's crucial that you emphasise the suitability of your chosen method and instrument for the purposes of your research.                       

Data collection

The data collection part of your methodology explain the process of how you accessed and collected your data. Using an interview as a qualitative example, this might include the criteria for selecting participants, how you recruited the participants and how and where you conducted the interviews. There is often some overlap with data collection and research method, so don't worry about this. Just make sure you get the essential information across to your reader.

The details of how you accessed and collected your data are important for replicability purposes - the ability for someone to adopt the same approach and repeat the study. It's also important to include this information for reliability and consistency purposes (see  validity and reliability  on the next tab of this guide for more).

Data analysis

After describing how you collected the data, you need to identify your chosen method of data analysis. Inevitably, this will vary depending on whether your research is qualitative or quantitative (see note below).

Qualitative research tends to be narrative-based where forms of ‘coding’ are employed to categorise and group the data into meaningful themes and patterns (Bui, 2014). Quantitative deals with numerical data meaning some form of statistical approach is taken to measure the results against the research question(s).

Tell your reader which data analysis software (such as SPSS or Atlast.ti) or method you’ve used and why, using relevant literature. Again, you can mention other data analysis tools that you haven’t used, but keep this brief and relate it to your discussion of your chosen approach. This isn’t to be confused with the results and discussion chapters where you actually state and then analyse your results. This is simply a discussion of the approach taken, how you applied this approach to your data and why you opted for this method of data analysis.

Detail of how you analysed your data helps to contextualise your results and discussion chapters. This is also a validity issue (see next tab of guide), as you need to ensure that your chosen method for data analysis helps you to answer your research question(s) and/or respond to your hypotheses. To use an example from Bui (2014: 155), 'if one of the research questions asks whether the participants changed their behaviour before and after the study, then one of the procedures for data analysis needs to be a comparison of the pre- and postdata'.

Validity and reliability

Validity simply refers to whether the research method(s) and instrument(s) applied are directly suited to meet the purposes of your research – whether they help you to answer your research question(s), or allow you to formulate a response to your hypotheses.

Validity can be separated into two forms: internal and external. The difference between the two is defined by what exists inside the study (internal) and what exists outside the study (external).

  • Internal validity is the extent to which ‘the results obtained can be attributed to the manipulation of the independent variable' (Salkind, 2011: 147).
  • External validity refers to the application of your study’s findings outside the setting of your study. This is known as generalisability , meaning to what extent are the results applicable to a wider context or population.

Reliability

Reliability refers to the consistency with which you designed and implemented your research instrument(s). The idea behind this is to ensure that someone else could replicate your study and, by applying the instrument in the exact same way, would achieve the same results. This is crucial to quantitative and scientific based research, but isn’t strictly the case with qualitative research given the subjective nature of the data.

With qualitative data, it’s important to emphasise that data was collected in a consistent way to avoid any distortions. For example, let’s say you’ve circulated a questionnaire to participants. You would want to ensure that every participant receives the exact same questionnaire with precisely the same questions and wording, unless different questionnaires are required for different members of the sample for the purposes of the research.

Ethical considerations

Any research involving human participants needs to consider ethical factors. In response, you need to show your markers that you have implemented the necessary measures to cover the relevant ethical issues. These are some of the factors that are typically included:

  • How did you gain the consent of participants, and how did you formally record this consent?
  • What measures did you take to ensure participants had enough understanding of their role to make an informed decision, including the right to withdraw at any stage?
  • What measures did you take to maintain the confidentiality of participants during the research and, potentially, for the write-up?
  • What measures did you take to store the raw data and protect it from external access and use prior to the write-up?

These are only a few examples of the ethical factors you need to write about in your methodology. Depending on the nature of your research, ethical considerations might form a significant part of your methodology chapter, or may only constitute a few sentences. Either way, it’s imperative that you show your markers that you’ve considered the relevant ethical implications of your research.

Limitations

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the limitations of your study (see the next tab, 'What to Avoid', for more on this) – it’s a common part of research and should be confronted. Limitations of research can be diverse, but tend to be logistical issues relating to time, scope and access . Whilst accepting that your study has certain limitations, the key is to put a positive spin on it, like the example below:

Despite having a limited sample size compared to other similar studies, the number of participants is enough to provide sufficient data, whilst the in-depth nature of the interviews facilitates detailed responses from participants.

  • Bui, Y. N. (2014) How to Write a Master’s Thesis. 2dn Edtn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Guba, E. G. and Lincoln, Y. S. (1994) ‘Competing paradigms in qualitative research’, in Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, N. S. (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 105-117.
  • Salkind, N. J. (2011) ‘Internal and external validity’, in Moutinho, L. and Hutchenson, G. D. (eds.) The SAGE Dictionary of Quantitative Management Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 147-149.
  • Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2007) Research Methods for Business Students . 4th Edtn. Harlow: Pearson.

What to avoid

This portion of the guide will cover some common missteps you should try to avoid in writing your methodology.

Ignoring limitations

It might seem instinctive to hide any flaws or limitations with your research to protect yourself from criticism. However, you need to highlight any problems you encountered during the research phase, or any limitations with your approach. Your markers are expecting you to engage with these limitations and highlight the kind of impact they may have had on your research.

Just be careful that you don’t overstress these limitations. Doing so could undermine the reliability and validity of your results, and your credibility as a researcher.

Literature review of methods

Don’t mistake your methodology chapter as a detailed review of methods employed in other studies. This level of detail should, where relevant, be incorporated in the literature review chapter, instead (see our Writing the Literature Review guide ). Any reference to methodological choices made by other researchers should come into your methodology chapter, but only in support of the decisions you made.

Unnecessary detail

It’s important to be thorough in a methodology chapter. However, don’t include unnecessary levels of detail. You should provide enough detail that allows other researchers to replicate or adapt your study, but don’t bore your reader with obvious or extraneous detail.

Any materials or content that you think is worth including, but not essential in the chapter, could be included in an appendix (see definition). These don’t count towards your word count (unless otherwise stated), and they can provide further detail and context for your reader. For instance, it’s quite common to include a copy of a questionnaire in an appendix, or a list of interview questions.

Q: Should the methodology be in the past or present tense?

A: The past tense. The study has already been conducted and the methodological decisions have been implemented, meaning the chapter should be written in the past tense. For example...

Data was collected over the course of four weeks.

I informed participants of their right to withdraw at any time.

The surveys included ten questions about job satisfaction and ten questions about familial life (see Appendix).

Q: Should the methodology include secondary literature?

A: Yes, where relevant. Unlike the literature review, the methodology is driven by what you did rather than what other people have done. However, you should still draw on secondary sources, when necessary, to support your methodological decisions.

Q: Do you still need to write a methodology for secondary research?

A: Yes, although it might not form a chapter, as such. Including some detail on how you approached the research phase is always a crucial part of a dissertation, whether primary or secondary. However, depending on the nature of your research, you may not have to provide the same level of detail as you would with a primary-based study.

For example, if you’re analysing two particular pieces of literature, then you probably need to clarify how you approached the analysis process, how you use the texts (whether you focus on particular passages, for example) and perhaps why these texts are scrutinised, as opposed to others from the relevant literary canon.

In such cases, the methodology may not be a chapter, but might constitute a small part of the introduction. Consult your supervisor for further guidance.

Q: Should the methodology be in the first-person or third?

A: It’s important to be consistent , so you should use whatever you’ve been using throughout your dissertation. Third-person is more commonly accepted, but certain disciplines are happy with the use of first-person. Just remember that the first-person pronoun can be a distracting, but powerful device, so use it sparingly. Consult your supervisor for further guidance.

It’s important to remember that all research is different and, as such, the methodology chapter is likely to be very different from dissertation to dissertation. Whilst this guide has covered the most common and essential layers featured in a methodology, your methodology might be very different in terms of what you focus on, the depth of focus and the wording used.

What’s important to remember, however, is that every methodology chapter needs to be structured in a linear, layered way that guides the reader through the methodological process in sequential order. Through this, your marker can see how certain decisions have impacted on others, showing your understanding of the research process.

Here’s a final checklist for writing your methodology. Remember that not all of these points will be relevant for your methodology, so make sure you cover whatever’s appropriate for your dissertation. The asterisk (*) indicates any content that might not be relevant for your dissertation. You can download a copy of the checklist to save and edit via the Word document, below.

  • Methodology self-evaluation checklist

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SciSpace Resources

What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples

Madalsa

Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.

title-page-of-a-thesis

Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.

Abstract-section-of-a-thesis

This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.

Acknowledgments

Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.

Acknowledgement-section-of-a-thesis

This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.

Table-of-contents-of-a-thesis

By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.

List-of-tables-and-figures-in-a-thesis

It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.

Introduction

Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.

Introduction-section-of-a-thesis

  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.

Literature-review-section-thesis

It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.

Methodology

In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.

Methodology-section-thesis

Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.

Results-section-thesis

Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.

Conclusion-section-thesis

Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.

References-section-thesis

In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.

Appendices-section-thesis

Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.

Glossary-section-of-a-thesis

By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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How to structure a thesis

component of thesis methodology

A typical thesis structure

1. abstract, 2. introduction, 3. literature review, 6. discussion, 7. conclusion, frequently asked questions about structuring a thesis, related articles.

Starting a thesis can be daunting. There are so many questions in the beginning:

  • How do you actually start your thesis?
  • How do you structure it?
  • What information should the individual chapters contain?

Each educational program has different demands on your thesis structure, which is why asking directly for the requirements of your program should be a first step. However, there is not much flexibility when it comes to structuring your thesis.

Abstract : a brief overview of your entire thesis.

Literature review : an evaluation of previous research on your topic that includes a discussion of gaps in the research and how your work may fill them.

Methods : outlines the methodology that you are using in your research.

Thesis : a large paper, or multi-chapter work, based on a topic relating to your field of study.

The abstract is the overview of your thesis and generally very short. This section should highlight the main contents of your thesis “at a glance” so that someone who is curious about your work can get the gist quickly. Take a look at our guide on how to write an abstract for more info.

Tip: Consider writing your abstract last, after you’ve written everything else.

The introduction to your thesis gives an overview of its basics or main points. It should answer the following questions:

  • Why is the topic being studied?
  • How is the topic being studied?
  • What is being studied?

In answering the first question, you should know what your personal interest in this topic is and why it is relevant. Why does it matter?

To answer the "how", you should briefly explain how you are going to reach your research goal. Some prefer to answer that question in the methods chapter, but you can give a quick overview here.

And finally, you should explain "what" you are studying. You can also give background information here.

You should rewrite the introduction one last time when the writing is done to make sure it connects with your conclusion. Learn more about how to write a good thesis introduction in our thesis introduction guide .

A literature review is often part of the introduction, but it can be a separate section. It is an evaluation of previous research on the topic showing that there are gaps that your research will attempt to fill. A few tips for your literature review:

  • Use a wide array of sources
  • Show both sides of the coin
  • Make sure to cover the classics in your field
  • Present everything in a clear and structured manner

For more insights on lit reviews, take a look at our guide on how to write a literature review .

The methodology chapter outlines which methods you choose to gather data, how the data is analyzed and justifies why you chose that methodology . It shows how your choice of design and research methods is suited to answering your research question.

Make sure to also explain what the pitfalls of your approach are and how you have tried to mitigate them. Discussing where your study might come up short can give you more credibility, since it shows the reader that you are aware of its limitations.

Tip: Use graphs and tables, where appropriate, to visualize your results.

The results chapter outlines what you found out in relation to your research questions or hypotheses. It generally contains the facts of your research and does not include a lot of analysis, because that happens mostly in the discussion chapter.

Clearly visualize your results, using tables and graphs, especially when summarizing, and be consistent in your way of reporting. This means sticking to one format to help the reader evaluate and compare the data.

The discussion chapter includes your own analysis and interpretation of the data you gathered , comments on your results and explains what they mean. This is your opportunity to show that you have understood your findings and their significance.

Point out the limitations of your study, provide explanations for unexpected results, and note any questions that remain unanswered.

This is probably your most important chapter. This is where you highlight that your research objectives have been achieved. You can also reiterate any limitations to your study and make suggestions for future research.

Remember to check if you have really answered all your research questions and hypotheses in this chapter. Your thesis should be tied up nicely in the conclusion and show clearly what you did, what results you got, and what you learned. Discover how to write a good conclusion in our thesis conclusion guide .

🔲 Introduction

🔲 Literature review

🔲 Discussion

🔲 Conclusion

The basic elements of a thesis are: Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion.

It's recommended to start a thesis by writing the literature review first. This way you learn more about the sources, before jumping to the discussion or any other element.

It's recommended to write the abstract of a thesis last, once everything else is done. This way you will be able to provide a complete overview of your work.

Usually, the discussion is the longest part of a thesis. In this part you are supposed to point out the limitations of your study, provide explanations for unexpected results, and note any questions that remain unanswered.

The order of the basic elements of a thesis are: 1. Abstract, 2. Introduction, 3. Literature Review, 4. Methods, 5. Results, 6. Discussion, and 7. Conclusion.

component of thesis methodology

What is Research Methodology? Definition, Types, and Examples

component of thesis methodology

Research methodology 1,2 is a structured and scientific approach used to collect, analyze, and interpret quantitative or qualitative data to answer research questions or test hypotheses. A research methodology is like a plan for carrying out research and helps keep researchers on track by limiting the scope of the research. Several aspects must be considered before selecting an appropriate research methodology, such as research limitations and ethical concerns that may affect your research.

The research methodology section in a scientific paper describes the different methodological choices made, such as the data collection and analysis methods, and why these choices were selected. The reasons should explain why the methods chosen are the most appropriate to answer the research question. A good research methodology also helps ensure the reliability and validity of the research findings. There are three types of research methodology—quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method, which can be chosen based on the research objectives.

What is research methodology ?

A research methodology describes the techniques and procedures used to identify and analyze information regarding a specific research topic. It is a process by which researchers design their study so that they can achieve their objectives using the selected research instruments. It includes all the important aspects of research, including research design, data collection methods, data analysis methods, and the overall framework within which the research is conducted. While these points can help you understand what is research methodology, you also need to know why it is important to pick the right methodology.

Why is research methodology important?

Having a good research methodology in place has the following advantages: 3

  • Helps other researchers who may want to replicate your research; the explanations will be of benefit to them.
  • You can easily answer any questions about your research if they arise at a later stage.
  • A research methodology provides a framework and guidelines for researchers to clearly define research questions, hypotheses, and objectives.
  • It helps researchers identify the most appropriate research design, sampling technique, and data collection and analysis methods.
  • A sound research methodology helps researchers ensure that their findings are valid and reliable and free from biases and errors.
  • It also helps ensure that ethical guidelines are followed while conducting research.
  • A good research methodology helps researchers in planning their research efficiently, by ensuring optimum usage of their time and resources.

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Types of research methodology.

There are three types of research methodology based on the type of research and the data required. 1

  • Quantitative research methodology focuses on measuring and testing numerical data. This approach is good for reaching a large number of people in a short amount of time. This type of research helps in testing the causal relationships between variables, making predictions, and generalizing results to wider populations.
  • Qualitative research methodology examines the opinions, behaviors, and experiences of people. It collects and analyzes words and textual data. This research methodology requires fewer participants but is still more time consuming because the time spent per participant is quite large. This method is used in exploratory research where the research problem being investigated is not clearly defined.
  • Mixed-method research methodology uses the characteristics of both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the same study. This method allows researchers to validate their findings, verify if the results observed using both methods are complementary, and explain any unexpected results obtained from one method by using the other method.

What are the types of sampling designs in research methodology?

Sampling 4 is an important part of a research methodology and involves selecting a representative sample of the population to conduct the study, making statistical inferences about them, and estimating the characteristics of the whole population based on these inferences. There are two types of sampling designs in research methodology—probability and nonprobability.

  • Probability sampling

In this type of sampling design, a sample is chosen from a larger population using some form of random selection, that is, every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. The different types of probability sampling are:

  • Systematic —sample members are chosen at regular intervals. It requires selecting a starting point for the sample and sample size determination that can be repeated at regular intervals. This type of sampling method has a predefined range; hence, it is the least time consuming.
  • Stratified —researchers divide the population into smaller groups that don’t overlap but represent the entire population. While sampling, these groups can be organized, and then a sample can be drawn from each group separately.
  • Cluster —the population is divided into clusters based on demographic parameters like age, sex, location, etc.
  • Convenience —selects participants who are most easily accessible to researchers due to geographical proximity, availability at a particular time, etc.
  • Purposive —participants are selected at the researcher’s discretion. Researchers consider the purpose of the study and the understanding of the target audience.
  • Snowball —already selected participants use their social networks to refer the researcher to other potential participants.
  • Quota —while designing the study, the researchers decide how many people with which characteristics to include as participants. The characteristics help in choosing people most likely to provide insights into the subject.

What are data collection methods?

During research, data are collected using various methods depending on the research methodology being followed and the research methods being undertaken. Both qualitative and quantitative research have different data collection methods, as listed below.

Qualitative research 5

  • One-on-one interviews: Helps the interviewers understand a respondent’s subjective opinion and experience pertaining to a specific topic or event
  • Document study/literature review/record keeping: Researchers’ review of already existing written materials such as archives, annual reports, research articles, guidelines, policy documents, etc.
  • Focus groups: Constructive discussions that usually include a small sample of about 6-10 people and a moderator, to understand the participants’ opinion on a given topic.
  • Qualitative observation : Researchers collect data using their five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing).

Quantitative research 6

  • Sampling: The most common type is probability sampling.
  • Interviews: Commonly telephonic or done in-person.
  • Observations: Structured observations are most commonly used in quantitative research. In this method, researchers make observations about specific behaviors of individuals in a structured setting.
  • Document review: Reviewing existing research or documents to collect evidence for supporting the research.
  • Surveys and questionnaires. Surveys can be administered both online and offline depending on the requirement and sample size.

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What are data analysis methods.

The data collected using the various methods for qualitative and quantitative research need to be analyzed to generate meaningful conclusions. These data analysis methods 7 also differ between quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative research involves a deductive method for data analysis where hypotheses are developed at the beginning of the research and precise measurement is required. The methods include statistical analysis applications to analyze numerical data and are grouped into two categories—descriptive and inferential.

Descriptive analysis is used to describe the basic features of different types of data to present it in a way that ensures the patterns become meaningful. The different types of descriptive analysis methods are:

  • Measures of frequency (count, percent, frequency)
  • Measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode)
  • Measures of dispersion or variation (range, variance, standard deviation)
  • Measure of position (percentile ranks, quartile ranks)

Inferential analysis is used to make predictions about a larger population based on the analysis of the data collected from a smaller population. This analysis is used to study the relationships between different variables. Some commonly used inferential data analysis methods are:

  • Correlation: To understand the relationship between two or more variables.
  • Cross-tabulation: Analyze the relationship between multiple variables.
  • Regression analysis: Study the impact of independent variables on the dependent variable.
  • Frequency tables: To understand the frequency of data.
  • Analysis of variance: To test the degree to which two or more variables differ in an experiment.

Qualitative research involves an inductive method for data analysis where hypotheses are developed after data collection. The methods include:

  • Content analysis: For analyzing documented information from text and images by determining the presence of certain words or concepts in texts.
  • Narrative analysis: For analyzing content obtained from sources such as interviews, field observations, and surveys. The stories and opinions shared by people are used to answer research questions.
  • Discourse analysis: For analyzing interactions with people considering the social context, that is, the lifestyle and environment, under which the interaction occurs.
  • Grounded theory: Involves hypothesis creation by data collection and analysis to explain why a phenomenon occurred.
  • Thematic analysis: To identify important themes or patterns in data and use these to address an issue.

How to choose a research methodology?

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a research methodology: 8

  • Research objectives, aims, and questions —these would help structure the research design.
  • Review existing literature to identify any gaps in knowledge.
  • Check the statistical requirements —if data-driven or statistical results are needed then quantitative research is the best. If the research questions can be answered based on people’s opinions and perceptions, then qualitative research is most suitable.
  • Sample size —sample size can often determine the feasibility of a research methodology. For a large sample, less effort- and time-intensive methods are appropriate.
  • Constraints —constraints of time, geography, and resources can help define the appropriate methodology.

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How to write a research methodology .

A research methodology should include the following components: 3,9

  • Research design —should be selected based on the research question and the data required. Common research designs include experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational, descriptive, and exploratory.
  • Research method —this can be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method.
  • Reason for selecting a specific methodology —explain why this methodology is the most suitable to answer your research problem.
  • Research instruments —explain the research instruments you plan to use, mainly referring to the data collection methods such as interviews, surveys, etc. Here as well, a reason should be mentioned for selecting the particular instrument.
  • Sampling —this involves selecting a representative subset of the population being studied.
  • Data collection —involves gathering data using several data collection methods, such as surveys, interviews, etc.
  • Data analysis —describe the data analysis methods you will use once you’ve collected the data.
  • Research limitations —mention any limitations you foresee while conducting your research.
  • Validity and reliability —validity helps identify the accuracy and truthfulness of the findings; reliability refers to the consistency and stability of the results over time and across different conditions.
  • Ethical considerations —research should be conducted ethically. The considerations include obtaining consent from participants, maintaining confidentiality, and addressing conflicts of interest.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the key components of research methodology?

A1. A good research methodology has the following key components:

  • Research design
  • Data collection procedures
  • Data analysis methods
  • Ethical considerations

Q2. Why is ethical consideration important in research methodology?

A2. Ethical consideration is important in research methodology to ensure the readers of the reliability and validity of the study. Researchers must clearly mention the ethical norms and standards followed during the conduct of the research and also mention if the research has been cleared by any institutional board. The following 10 points are the important principles related to ethical considerations: 10

  • Participants should not be subjected to harm.
  • Respect for the dignity of participants should be prioritized.
  • Full consent should be obtained from participants before the study.
  • Participants’ privacy should be ensured.
  • Confidentiality of the research data should be ensured.
  • Anonymity of individuals and organizations participating in the research should be maintained.
  • The aims and objectives of the research should not be exaggerated.
  • Affiliations, sources of funding, and any possible conflicts of interest should be declared.
  • Communication in relation to the research should be honest and transparent.
  • Misleading information and biased representation of primary data findings should be avoided.

Q3. What is the difference between methodology and method?

A3. Research methodology is different from a research method, although both terms are often confused. Research methods are the tools used to gather data, while the research methodology provides a framework for how research is planned, conducted, and analyzed. The latter guides researchers in making decisions about the most appropriate methods for their research. Research methods refer to the specific techniques, procedures, and tools used by researchers to collect, analyze, and interpret data, for instance surveys, questionnaires, interviews, etc.

Research methodology is, thus, an integral part of a research study. It helps ensure that you stay on track to meet your research objectives and answer your research questions using the most appropriate data collection and analysis tools based on your research design.

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  • Research methodologies. Pfeiffer Library website. Accessed August 15, 2023. https://library.tiffin.edu/researchmethodologies/whatareresearchmethodologies
  • Types of research methodology. Eduvoice website. Accessed August 16, 2023. https://eduvoice.in/types-research-methodology/
  • The basics of research methodology: A key to quality research. Voxco. Accessed August 16, 2023. https://www.voxco.com/blog/what-is-research-methodology/
  • Sampling methods: Types with examples. QuestionPro website. Accessed August 16, 2023. https://www.questionpro.com/blog/types-of-sampling-for-social-research/
  • What is qualitative research? Methods, types, approaches, examples. Researcher.Life blog. Accessed August 15, 2023. https://researcher.life/blog/article/what-is-qualitative-research-methods-types-examples/
  • What is quantitative research? Definition, methods, types, and examples. Researcher.Life blog. Accessed August 15, 2023. https://researcher.life/blog/article/what-is-quantitative-research-types-and-examples/
  • Data analysis in research: Types & methods. QuestionPro website. Accessed August 16, 2023. https://www.questionpro.com/blog/data-analysis-in-research/#Data_analysis_in_qualitative_research
  • Factors to consider while choosing the right research methodology. PhD Monster website. Accessed August 17, 2023. https://www.phdmonster.com/factors-to-consider-while-choosing-the-right-research-methodology/
  • What is research methodology? Research and writing guides. Accessed August 14, 2023. https://paperpile.com/g/what-is-research-methodology/
  • Ethical considerations. Business research methodology website. Accessed August 17, 2023. https://research-methodology.net/research-methodology/ethical-considerations/

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Thesis Structure

This page outlines the stages of an honours thesis and provides links to other pages that will give you more information and some examples from past theses.

A diagram of possible steps to planning an essay.

Stages of a thesis (in order)

Write this last. It is an overview of your whole thesis, and is between 200-300 words.

See writing abstracts for honours theses for what to include in your abstract or see some example abstracts .

Introduction

Usually longer than an abstract, and provides the following:

  • background to the topic;
  • brief review of current knowledge (Can include literature review in some schools);
  • indicates gap in knowledge, states aim of your research and how it fits into the gap;
  • can include hypotheses; can include an outline of the following chapters.

See thesis introductions exercises for more information.

  • Literature review

Often part of the Introduction, but can be a separate section. It is an evaluation of previous research on your topic, where you show that there is a gap in the knowledge that your research will attempt to fill. The key word here is evaluation.

See literature reviews for more information and examples to get you started on your literature review.

Often the easiest part of the thesis to write. Outlines which method you chose and why (your methodology); what, when, where, how and why you did what you did to get your results.

Here are some sample methods .

Outlines what you found out in relation to your research questions or hypotheses, presented in figures and in written text.

Results contain the facts of your research. Often you will include a brief comment on the significance of key results, with the expectation that more generalised comments about results will be made in the Discussion section. Sometimes Results and Discussion are combined: check with your supervisor and with highly rated past theses in your School.

Here are some suggestions for writing up results .

The Discussion section:

  • comments on your results;
  • explains what your results mean;
  • interprets your results in a wider context; indicates which results were expected or unexpected;
  • provides explanations for unexpected results.

The Discussion should also relate your specific results to previous research or theory. You should point out what the limitations were of your study, and note any questions that remain unanswered. The Discussion CAN also include Conclusions/Future Research. Check with your supervisor.

See our theses in discussion page for more information or try these exercises .

  • Conclusions

Very important! This is where you emphasise that your research aims/objectives have been achieved.

You also emphasise the most significant results, note the limitations and make suggestions for further research.

Conclusions can include Future Directions. Check with your supervisor.

For more information see conclusions in honours theses or sample conclusions .

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Thesis and Dissertation Guide

  • « Thesis & Dissertation Resources
  • The Graduate School Home

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  • Introduction

Copyright Page

Dedication, acknowledgements, preface (optional), table of contents.

  • List of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations

List of Abbreviations

List of symbols.

  • Non-Traditional Formats
  • Font Type and Size
  • Spacing and Indentation
  • Tables, Figures, and Illustrations
  • Formatting Previously Published Work
  • Internet Distribution
  • Open Access
  • Registering Copyright
  • Using Copyrighted Materials
  • Use of Your Own Previously Published Materials
  • Submission Steps
  • Submission Checklist
  • Sample Pages

Thesis and Dissertation Guide

I. Order and Components

Please see the sample thesis or dissertation pages throughout and at the end of this document for illustrations. The following order is required for components of your thesis or dissertation:

  • Dedication, Acknowledgements, and Preface (each optional)
  • Table of Contents, with page numbers
  • List of Tables, List of Figures, or List of Illustrations, with titles and page numbers (if applicable)
  • List of Abbreviations (if applicable)
  • List of Symbols (if applicable)
  • Introduction, if any
  • Main body, with consistent subheadings as appropriate
  • Appendices (if applicable)
  • Endnotes (if applicable)
  • References (see section on References for options)

Many of the components following the title and copyright pages have required headings and formatting guidelines, which are described in the following sections.

Please consult the Sample Pages to compare your document to the requirements. A Checklist is provided to assist you in ensuring your thesis or dissertation meets all formatting guidelines.

The title page of a thesis or dissertation must include the following information:

Title Page with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • The title of the thesis or dissertation in all capital letters and centered 2″ below the top of the page.
  • Your name, centered 1″ below the title. Do not include titles, degrees, or identifiers. The name you use here does not need to exactly match the name on your university records, but we recommend considering how you will want your name to appear in professional publications in the future.

Notes on this statement:

  • When indicating your degree in the second bracketed space, use the full degree name (i.e., Doctor of Philosophy, not Ph.D. or PHD; Master of Public Health, not M.P.H. or MPH; Master of Social Work, not M.S.W. or MSW).
  • List your department, school, or curriculum rather than your subject area or specialty discipline in the third bracketed space. You may include your subject area or specialty discipline in parentheses (i.e., Department of Romance Languages (French); School of Pharmacy (Molecular Pharmaceutics); School of Education (School Psychology); or similar official area).
  • If you wish to include both your department and school names, list the school at the end of the statement (i.e., Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine).
  • A dissertation submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Public Policy.
  • A thesis submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in the School of Dentistry (Endodontics).
  • A thesis submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
  • A dissertation submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Education (Cultural Studies and Literacies).
  • The words “Chapel Hill” must be centered 1″ below the statement.
  • One single-spaced line below that, center the year in which your committee approves the completed thesis or dissertation. This need not be the year you graduate.
  • Approximately 2/3 of the way across the page on the right-hand side of the page, 1″ below the year, include the phrase “Approved by:” (with colon) followed by each faculty member's name on subsequent double-spaced lines. Do not include titles such as Professor, Doctor, Dr., PhD, or any identifiers such as “chair” or “advisor” before or after any names. Line up the first letter of each name on the left under the “A” in the “Approved by:” line. If a name is too long to fit on one line, move this entire section of text slightly to the left so that formatting can be maintained.
  • No signatures, signature lines, or page numbers should be included on the title page.

Include a copyright page with the following information single-spaced and centered 2″ above the bottom of the page:

Copyright Page with mesaurements described in surrounding text

© Year Author's Full Name (as it appears on the title page) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This page immediately follows the title page. It should be numbered with the lower case Roman numeral ii centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.

Inclusion of this page offers you, as the author, additional protection against copyright infringement as it eliminates any question of authorship and copyright ownership. You do not need to file for copyright in order to include this statement in your thesis or dissertation. However, filing for copyright can offer other protections.

See Section IV for more information on copyrighting your thesis or dissertation.

Include an abstract page following these guidelines:

Abstract page with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Include the heading “ABSTRACT” in all capital letters, and center it 2″ below the top of the page.
  • One double-spaced line below “ABSTRACT”, center your name, followed by a colon and the title of the thesis or dissertation. Use as many lines as necessary. Be sure that your name and the title exactly match the name and title used on the Title page.
  • One single-spaced line below the title, center the phrase “(Under the direction of [advisor's name])”. Include the phrase in parentheses. Include the first and last name(s) of your advisor or formal co-advisors. Do not include the name of other committee members. Use the advisor's name only; do not include any professional titles such as PhD, Professor, or Dr. or any identifiers such as “chair” or “advisor”.
  • Skip one double-spaced line and begin the abstract. The text of your abstract must be double-spaced and aligned with the document's left margin with the exception of indenting new paragraphs. Do not center or right-justify the abstract.
  • Abstracts cannot exceed 150 words for a thesis or 350 words for a dissertation.
  • Number the abstract page with the lower case Roman numeral iii (and iv, if more than one page) centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.

Please write and proofread your abstract carefully. When possible, avoid including symbols or foreign words in your abstract, as they cannot be indexed or searched. Avoid mathematical formulas, diagrams, and other illustrative materials in the abstract. Offer a brief description of your thesis or dissertation and a concise summary of its conclusions. Be sure to describe the subject and focus of your work with clear details and avoid including lengthy explanations or opinions.

Your title and abstract will be used by search engines to help potential audiences locate your work, so clarity will help to draw the attention of your targeted readers.

You have an option to include a dedication, acknowledgements, or preface. If you choose to include any or all of these elements, give each its own page(s).

Dedication page with mesaurements described in surrounding text

A dedication is a message from the author prefixed to a work in tribute to a person, group, or cause. Most dedications are short statements of tribute beginning with “To…” such as “To my family”.

Acknowledgements are the author's statement of gratitude to and recognition of the people and institutions that helped the author's research and writing.

A preface is a statement of the author's reasons for undertaking the work and other personal comments that are not directly germane to the materials presented in other sections of the thesis or dissertation. These reasons tend to be of a personal nature.

Any of the pages must be prepared following these guidelines:

  • Do not place a heading on the dedication page.
  • The text of short dedications must be centered and begin 2″ from the top of the page.
  • Headings are required for the “ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS” and “PREFACE” pages. Headings must be in all capital letters and centered 2″ below the top of the page.
  • The text of the acknowledgements and preface pages must begin one double-spaced line below the heading, be double-spaced, and be aligned with the document's left margin with the exception of indenting new paragraphs.
  • Subsequent pages of text return to the 1″ top margin.
  • The page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals (starting with the page number after the abstract) centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.

Include a table of contents following these guidelines:

Table of Contents page with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Include the heading “TABLE OF CONTENTS” in all capital letters, and center it 2″ below the top of the page.
  • Include one double-spaced line between the heading and the first entry.
  • The table of contents should not contain listings for the pages that precede it, but it must list all parts of the thesis or dissertation that follow it.
  • If relevant, be sure to list all appendices and a references section in your table of contents. Include page numbers for these items but do not assign separate chapter numbers.
  • Entries must align with the document's left margin or be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
  • Major subheadings within chapters must be included in the table of contents. The subheading(s) should be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
  • If an entry takes up more than one line, break up the entry about three-fourths of the way across the page and place the rest of the text on a second line, single-spacing the two lines.
  • Include one double-spaced line between each entry.
  • Page numbers listed in the table of contents must be located just inside the right page margin with leaders (lines of periods) filling out the space between the end of the entry and the page number. The last digit of each number must line up on the right margin.
  • Information included in the table of contents must match the headings, major subheadings, and numbering used in the body of the thesis or dissertation.
  • The Table of Contents page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.

Lists of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations

If applicable, include a list of tables, list of figures, and/or list of illustrations following these guidelines:

Lists of Figures page with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Include the heading(s) in all capital letters, centered 1″ below the top of the page.
  • Each entry must include a number, title, and page number.
  • Assign each table, figure, or illustration in your thesis or dissertation an Arabic numeral. You may number consecutively throughout the entire work (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.), or you may assign a two-part Arabic numeral with the first number designating the chapter in which it appears, separated by a period, followed by a second number to indicate its consecutive placement in the chapter (e.g., Table 3.2 is the second table in Chapter Three).
  • Numerals and titles must align with the document's left margin or be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
  • Page numbers must be located just inside the right page margin with leaders (lines of periods) filling out the space between the end of the entry and the page number. The last digit of each number must line up on the right margin.
  • Numbers, titles, and page numbers must each match the corresponding numbers, titles, and page numbers appearing in the thesis or dissertation.
  • All Lists of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.

If you use abbreviations extensively in your thesis or dissertation, you must include a list of abbreviations and their corresponding definitions following these guidelines:

List of Abbreviations with mesaurements described in surrounding text

  • Include the heading “LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS” in all capital letters, and center it 1″ below the top of the page.
  • Arrange your abbreviations alphabetically.
  • Abbreviations must align with the document's left margin or be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
  • If an entry takes up more than one line, single-space between the two lines.
  • The List of Abbreviations page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.

If you use symbols in your thesis or dissertation, you may combine them with your abbreviations, titling the section “LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS”, or you may set up a separate list of symbols and their definitions by following the formatting instructions above for abbreviations. The heading you choose must be in all capital letters and centered 1″ below the top of the page.

Previous: Introduction

Next: Format

component of thesis methodology

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Methodology – The 5 Key Components for Your Research

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Methodology-01

The methodology section of a research paper lets your readers analyze your approach to the study. It states the topic of your study and the tools used to conduct the research.

The methodology guides the researcher in effectively gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data, ultimately ensuring the credibility and reliability of the study’s results.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 Methodology – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Methodology
  • 3 1. Inductive vs. Deductive research
  • 4 2. Setting and participants in methodology
  • 5 3. Data collection in methodology
  • 6 4. Data analysis in methodology
  • 7 5. Ethical considerations in methodology
  • 8 Overview of methodology articles

Methodology – In a Nutshell

  • Research methodology shows that a research project is valid and reliable.
  • Researchers follow a systematic approach in collection and analysis of data.
  • Data analysis is subject to the type of data and the techniques applicable in its collection and analysis.
  • Meaningful insights can be drawn from qualitative and quantitative sources.

Definition: Methodology

Methodology in research refers to the scientific framework adopted in the research process . Data for research in methodology is collected through surveys, interviews, group discussions, and tracking online trends.

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1. Inductive vs. Deductive research

  • Inductive reasoning in methodology is a blank-page approach, where researchers create hypotheses from observed patterns.
  • Deductive reasoning in methodology is concerned with creating hypotheses around existing theories.
  • A mixed approach combines inductive and deductive research in different parts of the study where either is best suited.

Examples of each approach

2. setting and participants in methodology.

Setting in research methodology can be a physical, social, or cultural context where a study is based. Participants are the target population involved directly in a research study.

3. Data collection in methodology

Data collection is a systematic process of gathering, classifying, and labeling essential variables in a study. Researchers use data to formulate valid hypotheses in research methodology.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative data collection

Qualitative data collection includes interviews, group discussions, and observations. It involves close-ended questionnaires, polls, and surveys to collect numerical data.

Below are the strengths and weaknesses of each method:

Primary vs. Secondary data collection

Primary data collection is the process of collecting raw data through surveys, experiments, and interviews. Field surveys are considered a reliable source of primary data. They allow researchers to control sample size and quality.

Secondary data refers to primary data used by researchers in a new study. Sources of secondary data include websites, books, newspapers, and journals.

Descriptive vs. Experimental data collection

Descriptive data collection highlights what the subject matter is rather than why it exists. For example, a descriptive study would focus on what many millennials do in their free time rather than why they do it.

Experimental data collection is a more hands-on method of research. It involves altering certain variables to see how they affect others. For example, changes in prices often change demand for the same product.

Overview of data collection methods

Research methods guide the process of data collection and analysis. The following are some standard research methods and their relevance:

Methodology-Data-Collection-Overview

4. Data analysis in methodology

Data analysis is the logical process of applying statistical techniques to describe, sort, and summarize data. It condenses raw data inputs into usable insights in research methodology.

Qualitative data analysis

This is reviewing and analyzing text data to identify and explain themes and underlying correlations. It is applied to non-numerical case studies of social, economic, and political phenomena, among other areas.

Quantitative data analysis

Quantitative analysis is concerned with analyzing numbers. Numerical data is collected, and mathematical models are used to derive relationships between the data sets.

Overview of data analysis methods

Data analysis can be distilled into various forms and applications:

Methodology-Data-Analysis-Overview

5. Ethical considerations in methodology

This component of research methodology outlines and explains ethical concerns noted and observed during research. Ethical considerations in research show how matters of integrity and ethical behavior were upheld during the course of study. It is important to ensure research does not infringe on the rights and freedoms of the population.

Overview of methodology articles

  • Between-subjects design
  • Cluster sampling
  • Conceptual framework
  • Confounding variables
  • Construct validity
  • Control group
  • Control variables
  • Controlled experiment
  • Correlation vs causation
  • Correlational research
  • Cross-sectional study
  • Data cleansing
  • Data collection
  • Discourse analysis
  • Double-blind study
  • Ethical considerations
  • Ethnography
  • Experimental design
  • Explanatory research
  • Explanatory vs response variables
  • Exploratory research
  • Extraneous variables
  • Face validity
  • Focus group
  • Independent vs dependent variables
  • Inductive and deductive reasoning
  • Internal vs external validity
  • Likert scale
  • Literature review
  • Mediator vs moderator
  • Mixed methods research
  • Multistage sampling
  • Naturalistic observation
  • Observational study
  • Peer review
  • Population vs sample
  • Qualitative vs quantitative research
  • Quasi experimental design
  • Questionnaire
  • Random assignment
  • Random vs systematic errors
  • Reliability vs validity
  • Sampling bias
  • Semi-structured interview
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Structured interview
  • Systematic sampling
  • Textual analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Transcribing interviews
  • Triangulation in research
  • Types of interviews
  • Types of research
  • Types of variables in research
  • Unstructured interview
  • Within-subjects design

What is an example of methodology?

Interviews. Besides interviews, other research methods are focused on discussions, surveys, and polls. They serve as data collection practices.

What are secondary sources of data?

Secondary sources of information are pre-recorded data sources. They are used in quantitative and qualitative research. Examples of secondary sources are journals, newspapers, and videotapes.

What is descriptive research?

Descriptive research identifies and lists all the observable features of a research topic. It is used by researchers in methodology to create the scope of a research topic.

What is the importance of research methodology?

Research methodology is an integral part of research papers. It articulately shows the method used to collect and analyze data. Researchers develop a methodology to make their research usable and verifiable.

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Components of a thesis you must follow in 2024

You must be at the end of your academic life as you are looking for a reliable source that can tell you how to write a thesis . Don’t worry! You have come to the right place! This article will tell you about the various elements of a thesis and all things to be kept in mind as you start writing one!

Table of Contents

What is a thesis .

A thesis is a long dissertation or research paper. It starts with a thesis statement which is the main point of your thesis paper . It can be a question, a statement, or an assessment. You will need to prove the thesis statement in your thesis with the help of the data that you collect and the analysis you come up with. These are part of the course requirement for university students, particularly those in the US. 

There are different kinds of these- expository, analytical, and persuasive . An expository thesis paper explains a particular topic to the reader. An analytical thesis relies on your analysis of the theme or topic addressed, based on the detailed data you collect. A persuasive thesis paper argues to make and justify depending on your stance on a topic. Choose a suitable type of thesis paper, depending on your theme and thesis statement. 

The format for writing a thesis is not usually very subjective; however, a few technical changes can occur in these by students of different institutes. Guidelines are specified by the university/advisor/professor/institute. Go over them before you start writing your thesis. 

Include these essential components in your thesis

A person should be able to get information about the topic of a thesis and its author just by looking at the thesis. The title page of a thesis should include your name, the name of your course, institute, professor, or advisor along with your ID number and the title of your thesis. Write these things in bold letters and space them appropriately. Your details are as important as your thesis. 

An index of all the contents of a thesis is like a good skeleton of the thesis, given at the very beginning. It includes the sections and subsections in the proper order of their occurrence in the thesis. Each heading should be a part of the table of contents along with the page numbers it starts and ends on respectively. The title and its respective page numbers need to be in the same horizontal line or row.

Acknowledgements

Here, you can mention all those who have helped you in your efforts to create an impressionable thesis. We would suggest describing how your colleagues supported you, your advisors guided you and your family looked after you as you worked on your thesis. Make sure you do not miss out on mentioning important people in your life.

Literature Review

The literature review is a list of all the sources of information that you used for reference. It can be substituted with a ‘References’ section at the end of your thesis. However, it is important to cite sources in a section dedicated to references. Specify the particular sections of research papers, articles, and journal entries you referred to in your thesis. The authors, page numbers, editors, publishers, and organizations need to be mentioned. In-text citations are required as well. The format of citation should be the one mentioned by your university/institute/advisor. The different citation formats are APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. 

Thesis statement

The introduction should include the thesis statement. It is the most important thing in your thesis . It should convey the motive of your thesis. Restate the thesis statement in the conclusion. Your thesis statement can be creative, but not complex. You cannot work on something already worked on unless you want to disprove a theory or refer to it as you come up with a different argument. Every point that you explain in your thesis should be related to your thesis statement and should work towards proving the same. 

Eg- There is a rise in mental health issues among university students who graduated between 2015 and 2022.

An abstract is like a summary of the thesis at the beginning of your thesis. It gives a reader an idea of what you would be covering in your thesis. Detailed explanations are not needed in the abstract. But it is important to state the main points from most of the sections- methodology, results, analysis, and conclusion. The abstract should not give away your research. It should just be like a concentration of your thesis.

Methodology

Your thesis starts getting detailed from here. A proper description of the methods you will be used to collect information and data relevant to your thesis should be stated in the ‘methodology’. Be sure to use methods that are suitable for your research and not those that are redundant. They need to be feasible. You should be able to execute the methods on your own. 

Observations or results

This is one of the most important parts of your thesis. Following your methodology, come up with results that support your thesis statement. They need to be organized logically and, in a point-wise format. Highlight the keywords as you explain your results. You can also have a summary of your results if your results are too many and stretch over several pages. This will help readers remember important details. 

This is a crucial part of your thesis. Your analysis shows how much you apply your knowledge to the data and come up with interesting implications. The points in the analysis need to be explained well and logically in order. Do not jump from one point to the other. Do not spring up new information out of the blue. Make sure that the explanations are easy to follow for a reader.

A conclusion includes a brief summary of your thesis . It should restate your thesis statement, followed by your findings and what you deciphered from the data you collected. Write down how the research you conducted impacts your field or humankind at large. Convey whether the point you started your thesis with was achieved or not. Did you come across something unexpected? Did your argument or thesis statement change as you started conducting research? 

All the extra information and subsidiary data should go in the appendices at the end of your thesis. They should include details that are not directly connected to your thesis in a systematic format. Create different appendices to organize the contents logically. State the subheading along with its page number that contains the point that you are referring to in your appendix. The elements in the appendix should follow the order of their occurrence in the thesis. One should not be on top of the other if the latter comes before the former in the main thesis.

You can also include the following elements in case the format of your thesis is not rigid:

Contributor’s Page

This is a list of people who have worked on the thesis. If you are part of a group working on a single thesis, it would be better to include a contributor’s page. You can also include the credentials of the group members and the parts covered by them. Any personal details need to be edited before they can be included as part of a contributor’s credentials. Only those that are relevant would be better to consider. 

Extra information

It is always better to make your thesis rich with details and evidence. Do not hesitate to include as much information as you want. The relevant details can be included in the main body of your thesis. However, subsidiary information needs to go in the appendices at the end of your thesis. Remember to explain each point in your thesis thoroughly. But do not bombard a reader with irrelevant information that can very well go in the appendices. It includes dates, days, and time frames that do not impact the thesis.

Tables, graphs, charts

To make your thesis interesting and inclusive of all forms of information, add graphs, tables, diagrams, images, and/or charts that are relevant to your research. Label these elements properly and insert them wherever necessary. They can be referred to further in your thesis to make a point. You will have to cite these elements in-text and add the citation to the references section of your thesis. Explain the elements properly in your thesis either before or after you have inserted them. They need to be clear to a reader. Extra charts and tables can go in the appendix. 

A Final Thesis Checklist

component of thesis methodology

Writing a thesis is no piece of cake. It requires months and at times years of dedication. The compilation can be difficult considering the large volume of information to be included in the thesis. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the work and the sections to be covered. You can take months to complete it. Don’t worry if you miss out on writing a particular section. You can always refer to this article and go over the basic elements of a thesis. Cross-check them with the sections and elements in your thesis. Edit your thesis properly before you submit it. Just stop procrastinating and start working! And don’t forget to enjoy the process!

-Masha Evans

component of thesis methodology

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  1. College essay: Components phd dissertation

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  4. Components of a Thesis

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VIDEO

  1. The Thesis

  2. Design Description

  3. Research Methodology for Thesis

  4. Module 08 Writing Thesis Methodology

  5. What is Thesis Statement? Writing Thesis Statement with Practice in Urdu/Hindi #researchmethodology

  6. Thesis Format and Process

COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Step 1: Explain your methodological approach. Step 2: Describe your data collection methods. Step 3: Describe your analysis method. Step 4: Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made. Tips for writing a strong methodology chapter. Other interesting articles.

  2. Writing the Research Methodology Section of Your Thesis

    A thesis research methodology explains the type of research performed, justifies the methods that you chose by linking back to the literature review, and describes the data collection and analysis procedures. It is included in your thesis after the Introduction section.

  3. How To Write The Methodology Chapter

    The methodology chapter plays two important roles in your dissertation or thesis: Firstly, it demonstrates your understanding of research theory, which is what earns you marks. A flawed research design or methodology would mean flawed results.

  4. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  5. Dissertation Methodology

    In any research, the methodology chapter is one of the key components of your dissertation. It provides a detailed description of the methods you used to conduct your research and helps readers understand how you obtained your data and how you plan to analyze it. This section is crucial for replicating the study and validating its results.

  6. PDF 3 Methodology

    This pdf document provides guidance on how to write the methodology chapter of a PhD thesis. It covers the main components of a methodology, such as research design, data collection, analysis and ethics. It also offers examples of methodology sections from different disciplines and tips on how to avoid common pitfalls.

  7. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Revised on 10 October 2022. Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

  8. What Is Research Methodology? Definition + Examples

    Every methodological choice you make needs align with those three components. Example of a research methodology chapter. In the video below, we provide a detailed walkthrough of a research methodology from an actual dissertation, as well as an overview of our free methodology template.

  9. Thesis

    Definition: Thesis is a scholarly document that presents a student's original research and findings on a particular topic or question. It is usually written as a requirement for a graduate degree program and is intended to demonstrate the student's mastery of the subject matter and their ability to conduct independent research. History of Thesis

  10. Free Thesis Methodology Template (+ Examples)

    This template covers all the core components required in the research methodology chapter or section of a typical dissertation or thesis, including: The purpose of each section is explained in plain language, followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. The template also includes practical examples to help you understand ...

  11. 6. The Methodology

    The methods section describes actions taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study's overall validity and reliability.

  12. LibGuides: Guide for Thesis Research: Research Methodology

    Research methodology refers to how your project will be designed, what you will observe or measure, and how you will collect and analyze data. The methods you choose must be appropriate for your field and for the specific research questions you are setting out to answer. A strong understanding of methodology will help you:

  13. Writing the Dissertation

    The methodology chapter precisely outlines the research method (s) employed in your dissertation and considers any relevant decisions you made, and challenges faced, when conducting your research. Getting this right is crucial because it lays the foundation for what's to come: your results and discussion. Disciplinary differences

  14. What is a thesis

    Madalsa Sep 15, 2023 Table of Contents A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It's typically submitted at the end of your master's degree or as a capstone of your bachelor's degree.

  15. How to Write Research Methodology in 2024: Overview, Tips, and

    Methodology in research is defined as the systematic method to resolve a research problem through data gathering using various techniques, providing an interpretation of data gathered and drawing conclusions about the research data. Essentially, a research methodology is the blueprint of a research or study (Murthy & Bhojanna, 2009, p. 32).

  16. How to structure a thesis

    A typical thesis structure. 1. Abstract. The abstract is the overview of your thesis and generally very short. This section should highlight the main contents of your thesis "at a glance" so that someone who is curious about your work can get the gist quickly. Take a look at our guide on how to write an abstract for more info.

  17. What is Research Methodology? Definition, Types, and Examples

    Research methodology 1,2 is a structured and scientific approach used to collect, analyze, and interpret quantitative or qualitative data to answer research questions or test hypotheses. A research methodology is like a plan for carrying out research and helps keep researchers on track by limiting the scope of the research.

  18. Thesis Structure

    Methods. Often the easiest part of the thesis to write. Outlines which method you chose and why (your methodology); what, when, where, how and why you did what you did to get your results. Here are some sample methods. Results. Outlines what you found out in relation to your research questions or hypotheses, presented in figures and in written ...

  19. Methodology in a Research Paper: Definition and Example

    The methodology in a research paper, thesis paper or dissertation is the section in which you describe the actions you took to investigate and research a problem and your rationale for the specific processes and techniques you use within your research to identify, collect and analyze information that helps you understand the problem.

  20. Order and Components

    The title page of a thesis or dissertation must include the following information: The title of the thesis or dissertation in all capital letters and centered 2″ below the top of the page. Your name, centered 1″ below the title. Do not include titles, degrees, or identifiers. The name you use here does not need to exactly match the name on ...

  21. PDF Elements for a qualitative methodology chapter

    Elements for writing up a qualitative methodology chapter in a doctoral dissertation (once the study has been concluded) A good methodology chapter tells the story of the study - the key and decisive moments in the development of the study, which have influenced the production of the final study structure and results presented. The

  22. Methodology ~ The 5 Key Components for Your Research

    1. Inductive vs. Deductive research Inductive reasoning in methodology is a blank-page approach, where researchers create hypotheses from observed patterns. Deductive reasoning in methodology is concerned with creating hypotheses around existing theories.

  23. Components of a thesis you must follow in 2024

    Observations or results. This is one of the most important parts of your thesis. Following your methodology, come up with results that support your thesis statement. They need to be organized logically and, in a point-wise format. Highlight the keywords as you explain your results.