A dissertation's Methodology section is the part of the document that justifies and explains the writer's choices of methods and methodologies used during the dissertation's research phase. One is required to explain the methodological approaches that he/she takes. As long as the writer explains which methods were chosen, he/she need not explain why others were not chosen. It is important to consider whether someone else will be able to replicate one's studies based on what the dissertation writer has included in the Methodology section and the paper's appendices.
The writer is required to explain in clear language how his/her findings have been made and clearly state why the findings are reliable. This is also the section in which the writer explains how the methods test the paper's hypotheses or answer the research questions upon which the paper was based.
The first section deals with the philosophical underpinnings of the research. This is where the writer sets out the paradigm for the research. The second section deals with the approach or the context in which the research was conducted. If there are any visible limitations, the writer should point those out using the how, what, where, when and why strategies of answering questions about them.
The third section should outline the methods used to collect data and offer an explanation of why the writer has chosen those specific methods. Methods used could be phone surveys, online surveys, interview and other means of collecting data. Any details that can be offered at this point, e.g. why the writer has chosen a specific demographic, should be added in this third section. It should be explained what questions were asked and how they have contributed towards answering the writer's main research question or how they have tested the writer's hypothesis.
The fourth section explains the methods of data collection and analysis. It explains all the tools used and the reasons why they were chosen. The ways the writer has used to make his/her findings should be stated in the fourth section.
The dissertation writer should be cognizant of the fact that the dissertation methodology will also address:
- The research subtype that will be used.
- How subjects were selected to take part in the research study.
- How the various groupings of subjects will be formulated.
- Whether or not to use a pilot study.
- Control methods to verify internal invalidity.
There are also other areas that will need to be examined in one's methodology. Some of them include type of research process one chooses to use, whether it is correctional or descriptive. The dissertation might also depend on other types of research such as action research or case study analysis. These types of research should be examined carefully and the writer should be fully informed about them. Utilizing this information can help make certain that one's dissertation methodology is on track.