A key part of your dissertation or thesis is the methodology. This is not quite the same as ‘methods’.
The methodology describes the broad philosophical underpinning to your chosen research methods, including whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods, or a mixture of both, and why.
You should be clear about the academic basis for all the choices of research methods that you have made. 'I was interested' or 'I thought...' is not enough; there must be good academic reasons for your choice.
What to Include in your Methodology
If you are submitting your dissertation in sections, with the methodology submitted before you actually undertake the research, you should use this section to set out exactly what you plan to do.
The methodology should be linked back to the literature to explain why you are using certain methods, and the academic basis of your choice.
If you are submitting as a single thesis, then the Methodology should explain what you did, with any refinements that you made as your work progressed. Again, it should have a clear academic justification of all the choices that you made and be linked back to the literature.
Common Research Methods for the Social Sciences
There are numerous research methods that can be used when researching scientific subjects, you should discuss which are the most appropriate for your research with your supervisor.
The following research methods are commonly used in social science, involving human subjects:
One of the most flexible and widely used methods for gaining qualitative information about people’s experiences, views and feelings is the interview.
An interview can be thought of as a guided conversation between a researcher (you) and somebody from whom you wish to learn something (often referred to as the ‘informant’).
The level of structure in an interview can vary, but most commonly interviewers follow a semi-structured format. This means that the interviewer will develop a guide to the topics that he or she wishes to cover in the conversation, and may even write out a number of questions to ask.
However, the interviewer is free to follow different paths of conversation that emerge over the course of the interview, or to prompt the informant to clarify and expand on certain points. Therefore, interviews are particularly good tools for gaining detailed information where the research question is open-ended in terms of the range of possible answers.
Interviews are not particularly well suited for gaining information from large numbers of people. Interviews are time-consuming, and so careful attention needs to be given to selecting informants who will have the knowledge or experiences necessary to answer the research question.
See our page: Interviews for Research for more information.
If a researcher wants to know what people do under certain circumstances, the most straightforward way to get this information is sometimes simply to watch them under those circumstances.
Observations can form a part of either quantitative or qualitative research. For instance, if a researcher wants to determine whether the introduction of a traffic sign makes any difference to the number of cars slowing down at a dangerous curve, she or he could sit near the curve and count the number of cars that do and do not slow down. Because the data will be numbers of cars, this is an example of quantitative observation.
A researcher wanting to know how people react to a billboard advertisement might spend time watching and describing the reactions of the people. In this case, the data would be descriptive, and would therefore be qualitative.
There are a number of potential ethical concerns that can arise with an observation study. Do the people being studied know that they are under observation? Can they give their consent? If some people are unhappy with being observed, is it possible to ‘remove’ them from the study while still carrying out observations of the others around them?
See our page: Observational Research and Secondary Data for more information.
If your intended research question requires you to collect standardised (and therefore comparable) information from a number of people, then questionnaires may be the best method to use.
Questionnaires can be used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, although you will not be able to get the level of detail in qualitative responses to a questionnaire that you could in an interview.
Questionnaires require a great deal of care in their design and delivery, but a well-developed questionnaire can be distributed to a much larger number of people than it would be possible to interview.
Questionnaires are particularly well suited for research seeking to measure some parameters for a group of people (e.g., average age, percentage agreeing with a proposition, level of awareness of an issue), or to make comparisons between groups of people (e.g., to determine whether members of different generations held the same or different views on immigration).
See our page: Surveys and Survey Design for more information.
Documentary analysis involves obtaining data from existing documents without having to question people through interview, questionnaires or observe their behaviour. Documentary analysis is the main way that historians obtain data about their research subjects, but it can also be a valuable tool for contemporary social scientists.
Documents are tangible materials in which facts or ideas have been recorded. Typically, we think of items written or produced on paper, such as newspaper articles, Government policy records, leaflets and minutes of meetings. Items in other media can also be the subject of documentary analysis, including films, songs, websites and photographs.
Documents can reveal a great deal about the people or organisation that produced them and the social context in which they emerged.
Some documents are part of the public domain and are freely accessible, whereas other documents may be classified, confidential or otherwise unavailable to public access. If such documents are used as data for research, the researcher must come to an agreement with the holder of the documents about how the contents can and cannot be used and how confidentiality will be preserved.
See our page: Observational Research and Secondary Data for more information.
How to Choose your Methodology and Precise Research Methods
Your methodology should be linked back to your research questions and previous research.
Visit your university or college library and ask the librarians for help; they should be able to help you to identify the standard research method textbooks in your field. See also our section on Research Methods for some further ideas.
Such books will help you to identify your broad research philosophy, and then choose methods which relate to that. This section of your dissertation or thesis should set your research in the context of its theoretical underpinnings.
The methodology should also explain the weaknesses of your chosen approach and how you plan to avoid the worst pitfalls, perhaps by triangulating your data with other methods, or why you do not think the weakness is relevant.
For every philosophical underpinning, you will almost certainly be able to find researchers who support it and those who don’t.
Use the arguments for and against expressed in the literature to explain why you have chosen to use this methodology or why the weaknesses don’t matter here.
Structuring your Methodology
It is usually helpful to start your section on methodology by setting out the conceptual framework in which you plan to operate with reference to the key texts on that approach.
You should be clear throughout about the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen approach and how you plan to address them. You should also note any issues of which to be aware, for example in sample selection or to make your findings more relevant.
You should then move on to discuss your research questions, and how you plan to address each of them.
This is the point at which to set out your chosen research methods, including their theoretical basis, and the literature supporting them. You should make clear whether you think the method is ‘tried and tested’ or much more experimental, and what kind of reliance you could place on the results. You will also need to discuss this again in the discussion section.
Your research may even aim to test the research methods, to see if they work in certain circumstances.
You should conclude by summarising your research methods, the underpinning approach, and what you see as the key challenges that you will face in your research. Again, these are the areas that you will want to revisit in your discussion.
Your methodology, and the precise methods that you choose to use in your research, are crucial to its success.
It is worth spending plenty of time on this section to ensure that you get it right. As always, draw on the resources available to you, for example by discussing your plans in detail with your supervisor who may be able to suggest whether your approach has significant flaws which you could address in some way.
Sample Dissertation / Thesis Example
Below you can find samples of thesis/dissertation papers, as well as samples of single chapters and proposals completed by our writers. Please feel free to use these samples for your own purposes with proper reference. However you must remember that you can not submit them as your own work to avoid plagiarism accusations.
In case you like any specific sample and would like to order an academic work from its author, you can ask our support team about that. It is quite possible that the particular writer you choose will be glad to assist you.
Sample Dissertation Proposal
Title:The perspectives of using online marketing research
Sample Research Proposal
Title:Does computer assisted learning increase student learning or grades?
Citation Style:Oxford ReferencingDownload
Sample Literature Review
Title:Online business and an exploration of trust
Sample Full Thesis
Title:Form-focused and meaning-focused instruction on ESL learners
Title:ESL Families Approval Ratings of Current School District Accommodations
Title:Social Media for Brand Building
Why students need sample dissertations and thesis examples?
There are certain periods in your education when you desperately need to write a thesis paper, dissertation, research proposal, or any other high profile paper. In order to succeed in this kind of assignment, you have to be able to absorb and understand the topic of your paper, as well as get a simple, clear vision of your future writing. This is the first step to having a decent graduate, undergraduate, Master's or MBA paper. There is a certain technique, where you can access someone else's paper, and use it as a foundation for your own work, thus trying to understand the specifics of the thesis, dissertation, research proposal, etc.
Some words about dissertation samples
If you are to write a dissertation for your class, the first thing you need to do is decide what it is going to be about. To do so, you need to get a sample dissertation, which is written according to all citation/reference rules. It can be an MLA, APA or Harvard dissertation sample, as well as examples of Chicago/Turabian dissertations. As soon as you lay your hands on this piece of work, you can conduct specific research and analysis to get a clear idea about what needs to be incorporated in your dissertation.
Are you looking for a sample thesis?
The basic idea of getting a thesis sample, or an example thesis, is to get a clear vision of your own thesis structure. A task of this kind is usually carried out according to certain commonly accepted guidelines, and is designated to help the reader understand exactly, what message is to be conveyed in the thesis. The best way to learn about the structure of the thesis paper is to find someone's thesis,and analyze it carefully.
In order to get a vivid idea of what is needed from you in the thesis paper, it is highly recommended to find a thesis paper from an absolutely different scientific scope, in order not to be accused of plagiarism. If you choose to look through a thesis paper example, or sample thesis paper, which has an identical topic, you might be influenced by that paper, and may not be able to produce a quality paper of your own.
When writing a paper for your academic studies, make sure to write the main ideas you were thinking about first, and only afterwards analyze the structure of someone's dissertation sample. Doing so, you can be 100% sure your dissertation is unique.
Another good way to use a sample dissertation or dissertation example is to learn about the main principles of dissertation writing style. A serious work, such as thesis, dissertation, or a research proposal needs to be written in a certain manner. The basic idea is to read the sample research proposal, sample thesis or a sample dissertation, and define the way you should state your thoughts and ideas.
Do you need sample research proposal or research proposal example?
A research proposal is another kind of a complicated academic writing you may be asked to complete pursuing a degree. It differs greatly from any other dissertation or thesis sample, as it is a practical proposal on some scientific investigation. It may even be of greater importance to your academia than any other paper you have submitted before. The tricky part in writing your research proposal paper is that it has to be 100% unique and original. No one will analyze a partially plagiarized research proposal, as it is supposed to promote a good start to your future career. Thus, you have to make sure you paper is grammatically flawless, well structured, and plagiarism free.
To have this result achieved, the research proposal has to be written exclusively by you. There is no need to exclusively use a research proposal example or sample research proposals from here, as your own paper has to state your creative, original and authentic ideas.
MastersThesisWriting.com will gladly assist you in developing your thesis paper, dissertation paper or a research proposal. If you are facing difficulties writing your thesis paper, dissertation paper or a research proposal paper, you can always count on our assistance regarding this matter.
We write custom dissertations and thesis papers from scratch!
Unfortunately, MastersThesisWriting.com cannot publish any specific dissertation examples, thesis examples or research proposal examples, as they are simply under a copyright restriction, and are being strictly monitored by their respective owners. If you do require a good dissertation, it is best that you get a great example dissertation paper from a trusted source, such as a friend or a family member. Doing so, you can be sure no one else is using the same sample thesis paper, sample dissertation or a sample research proposal.
You can also upload your dissertation example, research proposal example or a thesis paper example to MastersThesisWriting.com, so that our expert writers can help you write your original paper, and make sure it looks accurate, and receives positive feedback.
MastersThesisWriting.com will gladly assist you in the preparation of your dissertation, thesis, research proposal, or any other type of academic writing. Our dissertation writing company will write a custom dissertation, thesis paper, or research proposal on a variety of topics and disciplines.
Live supportOrder nowInquiry
Confidentiality & Authenticity Guaranteed.
We offer custom written papers to meet specific requirements. We do not reuse ANY previously written papers. Moreover, your personal information will remain confidential within our service.
You can order plagiarism-free thesis and dissertation papers, proposals, introductions, abstracts, conclusions, etc., in over 60 disciplines.
Get a Quote for Your Order:
Fill out a short inquiry form to find out the price quote for your paper. Get a confirmation that we will be able to complete the order with your specific requirements and instructions, especially when your order is a dissertation or a thesis. We will contact you back in regards to your inquiry via the phone number you specify in the form as well as with a confirmation letter to your e-mail address approximately 15-20 minutes after you send us your inquiry.
If you need a custom written thesis paper or dissertation, or any part of these college and university level papers, place your order now!