The Dissertation Methodology chapter is used to justify the choice of methods employed during the research project. It refers to the choice and use of particular strategies and tools for data gathering and analysis and giving you an answer of how to write a dissertation methodology. A section on methodology is a key element in a dissertation project. You need to demonstrate that you understand that there are various options for conducting research. For this reason you will need to refer back to the notes you took in any research methods classes that you have attended, as well as text books and/or articles on research methods for masters dissertation.
Methodology refers to the choice and use of particular strategies and tools for data gathering and analysis. Some methodologies embrace both data gathering and analysis, such as content analysis, ethnography and semiotic analysis. Others apply either to gathering or analyzing data (though the distinction is often not clear-cut):
• data-gathering methodologies include interviews, questionnaires and observation;
• data analysis methodologies include content analysis, discourse analysis, semiotic analysis and statistical analysis.
There are many varieties of each methodology and the specific methodological tools you are adopting must be made open in your masters dissertations. Interviews, for instance, are often categorized as 'structured', 'semi-structured' or 'open-ended'. You should mention which other related studies cited in your literature review have employed the same methodology.
The section on methodology should include a justification for the choice of methodology for data gathering and for data analysis for your masters dissertation. In the justification you should consider what alternative methodological tools might have been employed (particularly those which related studies have employed), together with their advantages and limitations for the present purpose. For instance;… Why did you choose to undertake interviews? Why open-ended interviews? Why did you opt for audio-recording (for instance)? Refer to a relevant study which approached interviews in a similar way. Cite a reputable study which selected participants on a similar basis. On what basis did you choose your participants (that they were friends of yours with time on their hands is not an adequate justification!). If there are any obvious segments of the population which are not represented within your sample why is this? Where class, age, gender and/or ethnicity is likely to be involved in the phenomenon you are studying then make sure that your sample is demographically appropriate. What limitations of your sample should your readers be alerted to?
Your choice of methodologies should be related to the theoretical framework outlined earlier.
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