How to Write a Research Methodology in 10 Simple Steps
Every researcher has their own methods. It is important to discuss how you came up with them and why they are the best approach for your study in question.
Research methodology is a necessary part of any research paper. It provides the reader with instructions on how to replicate your study and helps provide transparency into your data collection process.
Research methodology is a topic that can seem very complex and confusing. But, in reality, it's not as hard as you may think!
This blog will help you learn how to write a research methodology in 10 simple steps. It's easier than you think!
What is a Research Methodology?
A research methodology is a plan that tells how you answered your research question. A research methodology is a plan for a study that will collect data, show an analysis of the data, and then include a conclusion based on that analysis.
Some researchers use qualitative techniques to get their point across, while others use quantitative methods to gather information.
The research methodology chapter is where you explain to the readers what you did and how. So, they can evaluate the authenticity of our findings by reading this section.
Elements of a Research Methodology
A good research methodology has the following elements:
- Type of research
- Data collection methodology
- Data analysis
- Tools or materials used in the research
- The reason behind choosing a method
- Limitations of the method
- References and citations
Purpose of Writing a Research Methodology
A research methodology could be written for the following purposes:
- To provide a thorough analysis of the researched topic.
- To evaluate the overall validity and reliability of a study.
- To gather information which they then evaluate using scientific methods.
- To help other researchers in forming their own research methodologies.
Let’s move on to reading how you can write a strong research methodology.
10 Steps to Write a Research Methodology
Writing a research methodology will not remain a difficult task for you anymore as you follow the below-mentioned 10 simple steps.
- 1. Restate your Thesis Statement/ Research Problem
- 2. Explain Your Methodological Approach
- 3. Describe the Data Collection Methods
- a. Quantitative Data Collection Methods
The first part of your methodology is that you restate your research problem or your thesis statement. This gives the reader an idea about what you are discussing.
You can also list any positive or negative assumptions regarding the problem, which are addressed through the methodology.
Write about the broader approach of your research and how it fulfills your research goals. You should be as clear and concise with your approach as possible.
For example, did you aim for something in-depth or broad? Are you exploring an under-researched topic or establishing cause & effect relationships between variables of interest? What type of data was required? etc.
After introducing the methodological approach, define how you will collect your data.
Depending upon your research approach, data is either collected through a qualitative process or a quantitative process. Some researchers also tend to take a mixed approach.
Each of these is further explained below.
Quantitative research methods are when researchers use numbers to find answers. The researcher should tell the other researcher how they did their studies so they can do it too.
Explain how you measured variables and operational concepts, and discuss the sampling method, materials, tools, and procedures used to gather data.
Some popular quantitative research methods are listed below:
- How did you design the questionnaire, and what form does it take (e.g., multiple-choice, Likert scale)?
- How did you go about selecting participants for your study?
- How did you ask people to participate in your research study, and what was their response time? Was it by phone, email, or in-person communication?
- What was the sample size and response rate to get these results?
- Experiment design
- Participant recruitment
- Manipulation and measurement of variables
- Tools and techniques used for conducting the experiment
- Review of the Existing Data
- Where did you get the material, and how did you source it?
- How was the data originally produced?
- How much data or information have you used, e.g. the data range?
A survey is a study of a group of people to find out their thoughts and feelings. A survey can be done in many different ways. You need to mention the details of it like:
Data collection should always be transparent. So, it's important to include the full questionnaire in the appendix. Don’t hide any questions from readers who want more information about your research methods.
You should tell the reader what tools you used, how you did the experiment, and what you found. Following details need to be mentioned:
It is important to make sure your results can be reproduced in order for them to have any real impact. So, make sure to provide enough details.
You can also take help from the existing data. Explain the inclusion criteria for using some data or literature. For instance, why you chose a publication, a case study, etc.
Here you need to inform the reader about:
This was all about quantitative methods. Now let’s move on to the qualitative methods for data collection.
Qualitative research focuses on collecting data from open-ended communication, which allows the researcher to generate new ideas for their own research and analyze people's motivations.
The most common qualitative methods are:
- How were the interviews or focus groups conducted?
- What was your process or criteria for selecting participants?
- How many people took part in this study?
- How did you format the interview questions? Structured, semi-structured, or unstructured?
- When and how often were the interviews recorded? What was the time span?
- Participant Observation
- Who were these participants, and how did you gain access to them?
- Where did you conduct your research, and how long did it take?
- How did you contribute to the community?
- How did you record your data? Was it audiovisual recordings or careful note-taking, and what kind of equipment was used for the process?
A focus group is when a lot of people come together to talk about a topic. You need to tell:
Your observations and ethnographic research are included in the participant observation. You need to tell where, when, and how you observe the participants.
You need to answer the following questions here:
The mixed-methods approach is a new way to look at social relations, combining the best of both worlds and overcoming their limitations.
The existence of this methodology stems from its potential for researchers who want clarity when viewing society's intricacies. They do this by fusing quantitative data with qualitative research while still recognizing that not all approaches can be used in every situation.
Mixed methods are also known for the concept of triangulation in social research. Triangulations provide researchers with an opportunity to present multiple findings from one phenomenon by deploying both quantitative and qualitative approaches simultaneously.
The connection between the methods and research problems should be clear.
It means that your methodology must be appropriate to achieve the objectives of a research paper. This includes addressing any issues in need with an applicable design or analysis approach for it.
Indicate the instruments you will use in collecting data and explain how they will be used for this research project.
These tools might include questionnaires, interviews, observation sessions, historical documents from previous research projects done by other organizations, etc.
Next, you should indicate how the data was processed and analyzed. Avoid going into too much detail until now. You don't have to present or discuss any of your results yet!
Both the quantitative and qualitative data sets are analyzed according to their particular analytical methods.
- a. Quantitative Data Analysis Method
In quantitative research, the numbers are your best friend. You'll need them to understand what's going on in any dataset before running any statistical tests.
Furthermore, you need to inform the readers about the following things:
- Data preparation: How was it made informed, how the errors were omitted, etc.
- Data analysis software
- The statistical analysis test employed
In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language and images. You might find that you use some form of textual analysis to make sense out of your data as well.
Some qualitative methods include:
- Content Analysis: Content analysis is the process of categorizing and discussing words, phrases, or sentences with a specific meaning.
- Thematic Analysis: Thematic analysis is the process of closely examining data to identify broad themes and patterns. This type of research helps us see things in new ways, creating opportunities for more detailed study or intervention efforts.
- Discourse Analysis: Discourse analysis is the study of how language, objects, and meaning interact with one another in order to convey a message.
The most important thing in research is that the methodology should make a strong case for why you have chosen methods specifically. This is especially if your topic did not take an easier route.
So make sure it comes with some explanation on how this approach contributed to new knowledge. Or how it elaborates the current understanding.
Also, mention any limitations or weaknesses where they exist. But still, the strengths of the methodology outweigh the limitations.
In order for your readers to understand what you are doing, make sure they know the background information about these methods. You should especially tell the background information if your chosen methodology is relatively new or the reader is unfamiliar with it.
Make sure to address possible issues with your data-gathering process that may affect the outcome. These are known as the research limitations. They include practical limitations and precautions or a risk factor involved.
- These limitations have to be addressed to obtain accurate results. Thus, anyone who replicates your study should know the potential limitations and how you overcame them.
To reinforce the validity of your research, you will need to cite all sources that were used when determining methodology. This includes academic references and other resources such as journals or books for outside reading material to keep it more thorough in its analysis.
These were 10 simple steps that you can easily follow to create a stellar research methodology section for your paper.
Tips for Writing a Good Research Methodology
When writing a research methodology, use these tips to help you.
- Focus on the Research Problem
- Write According to the Target Audience
- Tell the Means and Reasons
- Draft During the Process
The methodology section shows why your methods suit what you were trying to accomplish. It also convinces the reader that the method was perfectly chosen for answering all research questions. Throughout, use relevant examples to show how well thought-through everything was to achieve the research objectives.
Give the reader the information they need. If you use a standard approach in your field, you do not need to explain too much. But if you take a different approach, you might need to explain it. So, your method should be a well-structured argument.
You can show how and why you conducted your research by including a brief description of it. This will help demonstrate that the methods used are rigorous and provide context for those who may be unfamiliar with them.
Make sure to draft as you go, take notes, and outline your methodology so that all details can be accurately captured. The better an author records their methods and techniques in real-time, the more thorough they will become when they're done with the project.
These tips will help in easing your research methodology writing.
Things to Avoid While Writing a Research Methodology
Avoiding the below-mentioned points will help you write effectively:
- Avoid Irrelevant Details
- Do Not Elaborate the Procedures Unnecessarily
- Never Become Problem Blinded
- Not a Literature Section
The methodology section should be detailed but concise. You should not include background information that does not help the reader understand why a certain method was chosen, how data was gathered, or how data was analyzed.
Do not write about how to do a method. Your readers know how to investigate research problems on their own. Talk about what you did with the information you got from that investigation.
If you use an unconventional approach, explain why it is good and how it helped your discovery.
When you collect or generate data, or when you look at old data, it is possible that problems will happen. Problems can happen, and they might make it hard for you to do your work.
Do not ignore these problems and pretend like they didn't happen. But also make sure to document the problem and how you overcame the problem so that people know what happened and why it happened.
A research project's methodology should not be confused with a list of sources. It is useful in itself, especially if it includes an explanation about the selection and use for each individual piece of information gathered during the research.
Also, keep in mind that your methodology section is different from your literature review section.
Writing a research methodology is the best way to make your paper stand out, and it's also an excellent way to build credibility.
As the research methodology is a crucial part of any study, it needs to be written with care and attention. The goal should not just be one that satisfies a checklist but also communicates your ideas effectively.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 5 parts of methodology?
The five parts of a research methodology are:
- Research Problem
- Research setting details
- Data Collection
- Data Analysis
- Ethical Concerns or Limitations
What are the 4 types of research methodology?
The four major types of research methodologies are:
- Observational research methodology
- Experimental research methodology
- Simulation research methodology
- Derived research methodology
What is the difference between method and methodology?
The methodology is the strategy or plan behind your research project. It involves studying the methods used in your field and the theories or principles behind them. On the other hand, methods are specific tools and procedures you use to collect data (research experiments, surveys, statistical tests).