How to Write the Methodology Chapter for a Dissertation

In any dissertation, the methodology section is a very important one. It is here that the writer describes any methods they have used to research and write this crucial and lengthy paper. There are four key components that should be included in the methodology section of a paper. These are:

  1. Firstly, the writer should briefly review the problem they will be tackling in order to fully address their chosen topic. Put another way, it is important to describe the question or questions the writer is trying to answer and the main problem(s) they are likely to face in order to find satisfactory answers.
  2. Secondly, this chapter needs to provide an overview or definition of the approach the writer will use to undertake whatever research is necessary.
  3. Next, the writer will need to describe in detail how they intend to collect all necessary information and/or data.
  4. Finally, it is imperative for the writer to say how they will analyze this information or data to arrive at a solid conclusion.  

It is not necessarily the case that your methodology section should be so detailed as to allow the reader to fully recreate the methods and processes you utilized in your research. By the same token, however, it should be sufficiently detailed to allow the reader to see clearly that your approach was thorough and that your methods were sound. Put another way, it should show you took account of different variables and that you are as sure as you possibly can be of the accuracy of the results.   

As is the case with any genre of writing, a methodology section should have an introduction paragraph where you describe the particular problem that needs to be solved. However, the issue should not be addressed further in the following paragraphs. Rather, these should explain the methods used to collect data to tackle the problem. As well as describing your methods, you should consider providing justification for choosing a particular research method.  

When setting out your justification, you may also want to explain why you rejected other common or popular research methodologies. Or you may want to say why you intentionally included or excluded particular groups of people from your study. If you are writing, for example, about how US society has been affected by feminism, you may have concentrated exclusively on one group of people and/or intentionally left out other groups. Whichever is the case, it is a good idea to briefly explain your decision and how it is expected to impact the overall results of your study.    

While describing the research methods you used, it is also important to mention any variables that might affect the results. If, say, your research is based on diabetic women of age 50+, you may want to say if certain types of lifestyle could have any impact on the results. Therefore, the methodology you develop should take all possible variables into account so that your research is useful and is of real value in the field it relates to.