What is "Research Methodology"?
The research methodology section of a research project serves to explain how the researcher is going to solve the problem presented or prove the hypothesis that is put forth. Often times there are several hypotheses and the methodology will have to be a complex mix of approaches in order to collect the correct data.
Keep in mind that the research methdology is the scientific portion of the study undertaken. It is analytical in nature and usually based on a quantifiable and testable theory. It is systematic and exact; therefore it employs specific methods that are universally recognized as legitimate ways to test that which has not yet been proven. The goal of any good research project, especially at the Masters level, is to come across a theory or hypothesis that has not been tested as of yet. Remember that professors and department chairs have been around for many years and seen thousands of research papers and theses. If a student should happen upon an original question, it is a sure path to academic success.
A research methodology from omesp typically discusses the kinds of sources you hope to consult and the methods you will be using to extract and process the information you will be gathering in as much detail as is possible at the data collection stage of a master's thesis or research project. As the project is underway you might find the need to revise your methodology. You must explain how you will be collecting the data you need in order to address your research question. If you are conducting questionnaires or interviews you should explain what sample you will be using (size, criteria, method) and also how you will approaching the people in your sample. You should also give an indication as to whether you will be testing hypotheses quantitatively or using qualitative methods, such as interviews or semi-structured questionnaires.
Elements of the Methodology
For the methodology, determine the design of the study is often the most difficult portion. The study may be one of the following or a combination of several:
- Correlational descriptive
- Action research
- Case Study
The methodology will also serve to Reveal the following:
- Tell who the subjects are and how they were selected (random sampling, sampling of convenience, etc.).
- Discuss any instruments used and how data was collected (i.e. survey, interviews, observation, etc.).
- Discuss how the data was analyzed.
Most studies will use inferential statistics (T-test, Analysis of Variance, Pearson Product Moment, Chi Square, etc.) to analyze data. You do not need to explain what these statistics mean, you just simply need to reveal which, if any, where used to analyze the data.
How to write the Research Methodology Section of a Project?
Remember to group research studies and other types of literature (reviews, theoretical articles, case studies, etc.) according to common denominators such as qualitative versus quanitative approaches, conclusions of authors, specific purpose or objective, chronology, etc. Summarize individual studies or articles with as much detail as each merits according to its comparative importance in the literature, remembering that space (length)denotes significance. Provide the reader with strong "umbrella" sentences at beginnings of paragrapsh, "Signposts" througout, and brief "so what" summary sentences at intermediate points in the review to aid in understanding comparisons and analyses.