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You will have used these observations, along with discussions with your supervisor, to plan how you're going to tackle your research question.This could be planning how you'll gather data, or what models you'll use to process it, or what philosophical positions most inform your work.
Your methods must appear robust to the reader, with no obvious flaws in the design or execution.
You should not only include the necessary information about your equipment, lab setup, and procedure to allow another researcher to reproduce your method; you should also demonstrate that you've factored any variables that are likely to distort your data (for example, by introducing false positives into your design), and that you have a plan to handle these either in collecting, analysing, or drawing conclusions from your data.
Let's take a look at some of the most common types of dissertation, and the information required in a methodology section for each of them.
A scientific study The methodology section for a scientific study needs to emphasise rigour and reproducibility above all else.
Part of this, of course, entails obtaining sign-off for your design from the appropriate ethics bodies, but even then there might be aspects of your study – inviting subjects to relive episodes of grief and trauma, for instance, or broaching culturally sensitive matters within a particular target group – that some readers could consider contentious or problematic.
Make sure you address such concerns head-on, and if necessary justify your methods by emphasising the potential value of your conclusions.You need to not only show that you're capable of detaching yourself from your own creative work and viewing it through an objective lens, but that you are able to see your own creative practice as methodology – as a method of creating work that is grounded in theory and research and that can be evaluated against clear target goals.No part of your dissertation should be hermetically sealed off from the others, and there will undoubtedly be some overlap between your methodology and literature review section, for example.You might even find yourself moving material back and forth between sections during edits.But you should resist the temptation to include the following in your dissertation methodology, even if they seem to belong there quite naturally: When you start your dissertation project, you may already have some broad ideas about the methodology you want to use.Up until the point of writing your methodology, you will have defined your research question and conducted a detailed review of what other scholars in the field have to say about your topic.You’ll have also reviewed the in which these scholars have arrived at their conclusions – the assumptions on which their work is based, the theoretical frameworks they've used, and the methods they've used to gather, marshal and present their data.Or will you avoid doing your own research with human subjects at all, and base your research on documentary evidence or a pre-existing data set? Is there reason to believe it can be generalised to other contexts, or is it highly specific to the particular location or cultural context in which you conducted your research?In addition to answering all these questions, you must satisfy your reader that you have considered all the ethical questions associated with your research.Your methodology should also include details of – and justifications for – the statistical models you'll use to analyse your data.Remember that a scholar might use any single part of your methodology as a departure point for their own work; they might follow your experiment design but choose a different model for analysing the results, or vice versa!