The three-day format see below allows a considerable amount of content to be covered. Note: lt is important to attend all three days, as this workshop has been designed as an integrated, three-day package. Part Day 1: The research proposal. On day 1, the fundamentals of research are covered — what research is; the nature, philosophy and history of research; research within a South African context and some of the challenges being experienced; key ethical considerations in research; and the importance of narrowing down the scope of the research project.
Most of the day is spent going through the structure of a comprehensive research proposal, because a solid, well conceptualised research proposal is the most important document that guides the successful execution of the research project, and a weak proposal will make for a weak thesis later on. These components are the basic building blocks of any research project. Part Day 2: Research design and methodology. The whole day will focus on this because many students have a weak research design and methodology, which will then undermine the credibility of their results. The day will begin by defining what research design and methodology is and looking at the importance of effective record-keeping, something that many students struggle with.
Then the different types of data will be looked at, namely primary and secondary, as well as quantitative and qualitative, and how to decide what kind of data to use. Key concepts that examiners are likely to raise are also covered, such as sampling, error, bias, reliability, validity and pilot testing. Data analysis will be discussed, both quantitative and qualitative, and the facilitator will demonstrate how to do content analysis coding.
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For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. If necessary, consider using appendices for raw data. ANOTHER NOTE : If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods.
Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data [e. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used. This is not a common procedure for most undergraduate level student research assignments. However, i f your professor states you need approval, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the office and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university.
This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper. Problems to Avoid. Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but concise. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted!
Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion. Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures.
The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery. Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials.
Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.
Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i. A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information.
Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.
How to Write Your Dissertation Chapter 3?
Azevedo, L. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers , pp. Structuring Your Research Thesis. Methods Section. Writing Center. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, , pp. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. Department of Biology.
Bates College. Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them!
Structure of thesis | SpringerLink
Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.
Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods. There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world.
Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not.
However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce. Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem.
This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory. Reynolds, R.
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Chapter 3 Methodology
Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology. Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper]. The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used. This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem.
The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic. Bryman, Alan. Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands. Contact us.