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Thesis Methodology

Thesis Methodology

The thesis methodology is an extremely critical part of your thesis. This tells the reader the broad philosophical basis of your chosen research methods. It tells the reader whether you have chosen a method that is based on qualitative format or quantitative format or a combination of the two.

You should connect the methodology section to the literature review section to explain to your reader your choice of methods and the academic reasons for your choice. It should contain the methods you employed to arrive at your thesis. Any refinements that you did during the course of your thesis should also be mentioned in this section. It is imperative that you clearly explain the academic justification of your choice.

Common research methods employed in thesis writing

Interviews – Using interviews is a widely used and flexible method for getting qualitative data regarding experiences of people, their feelings, and views. An interview works like a guided conversation between you as a researcher and the person who is being interviewed, referred to as the informant.

While the interviewer uses a semi-structured format to ask questions and receive responses from the informant, it is highly possible to change prompts depending on the previous responses and the way the interview is moving forward. Hence, interviews are excellent tools to garner detailed information, especially for open-ended questions wherein a wide range of responses could exist.

Yet, interviews may not be the best form in theses that call for a large number of responses. Interviews are highly time-consuming and you must be very careful in choosing the informants having the necessary skills and expertise to answer your questions.

Observations – Researchers use the method of observation in those cases wherein they simply need to know how people respond to certain situations or circumstances. Observations can be qualitative or quantitative in nature.

For example, if a thesis writer's topic is to check if a warning traffic sign helps in slowing down the movement of vehicles around a dangerous curve, then he or she must sit somewhere close and make a note of vehicles that are slowing down and those that are not slowing down. This would be a case of quantitative observation.

A thesis writer who is writing about the reactions of people to a particular billboard will observe and note down these reactions. This would be a case of qualitative observation.

However, there are a number of ethical concerns when it comes to using the observation method. For example, are the people being observed aware of this fact? Have they consented to this? Suppose some of the people show their disapproval of being used as a subject for a study, can their names be removed while carrying on the study of other people? These concerns make this method a less ethical one than others. Of course, if you have managed to get to sort out these problems and have them on documented record, then you can go ahead and use this methodology.

Questionnaires – If your thesis needs responses to a standardized set of questions, then the questionnaire methodology is the best for you. Questionnaires can be employed to collate qualitative and/or quantitative data. But, you must remember that the level of detailed information that you can gain through interviews for qualitative data will be missing in the questionnaire method.

While preparing questionnaires requires a lot of time and effort to create and design, they can be distributed to a wider section and larger number of people for getting responses as against the interview method.

Questionnaires are perfectly suited for gathering information to measure some parameters such as average age, the number of people (percentage of people) agreeing or disagreeing to a proposition, to compare ideas and/or thoughts between two groups of people etc.

Documentary Analysis – This method involves reading, studying, and analyzing documentary data that have been recorded previously. This does not involve speaking or observing people or getting responses from them. Historians primarily use this method for their theses.

Documents are those tangible materials and sources where historical data is stored and preserved. Documents could be in the form of newspaper articles, leaflets, policy records of governments, minutes of a meeting, and more. Documents that are analyzed for the purpose of writing a thesis could also include songs, films, photographs, and other social media data.

Documents reveal a lot of information about the kind of organization or people that produced them along with the social context in which they were created. While some documents are easily accessible in the public domain, there could be restricted, classified or confidential documents that are not available through public domains.

If you have to use the latter kind of documents in your thesis methodology, then you must get into a written agreement with the owner(s) and/or author(s) of these documents before you can use the contents for your thesis.

How to choose the best methodology for your thesis

The methodology you choose is highly dependent on your research questions and the earlier research work done on the same topic. Your college library will be a great place to start your research. You can speak to the librarian and he or she will be able to help you in this regard as well.

Books on your chosen topic will also give you hints on the broad philosophy of the research conducted and you could then use this data to arrive at the best methodology for your thesis. Call Prescott Papers for help in thesis methodology.

Once you have chosen your methodology, you must be clear about the merits and demerits of your chosen approach. The methodology section of your thesis should include the limitations of the chosen method and how you worked around these limitations and avoided the worst case scenarios. If there are residual limitations to the methodology used, then you must specify these as well.

You must then talk about your research questions and explain how you are planning to address them using the chosen methodology. You should clearly state if the methodology you have chosen is tried and tested or is it an experimental one. If it is the latter, then how are you planning to rely on the outcomes and what measures have you taken to plug potential loopholes in the chosen methodology.

The conclusion of your methodology section should summarize your approach and research methods and present the most potential challenges that you think you will face. You must also include how you intend to overcome these challenges.

Final Notes

The thesis methodology is a thesis by itself considering the amount of time, energy, and perseverance you need to put in to decide the best approach for your research. Yet, when you have done the necessary groundwork for this, you will see how smoothly your research will move forward.

Moreover, while you are doing the work for the literature review, you would have gathered sufficient data on thesis methodology as well. This will help in saving some amount of time and energy for this section.

At Prescott Papers, our team of highly talented and experienced writers will be very happy to help you with all your academic writing work. Our writing service ranges from daily homework to custom essays to theses to dissertations and more.

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