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How to Write a Research Methodology for Your Academic Article

Research Methods and Research Methodology

❶Distinguish your research from any weaknesses in your methods.

Important Tips for a Good Methodology Section




Specify whether you used a quantitative approach to measure data, a qualitative approach to describe phenomenon or both methods to frame your study. Explain how the framework chosen aligned with your research questions.

For example, if you studied whether a new behavior modification program in the school district reduced disruptive classroom behavior, mention that you used a quantitative approach to explore a cause and effect relationship between the intervention and frequency of student misconduct.

Indicate how you collected original data or retrieved archival information. In a quantitative study, you would also explain what experiments, tests or surveys were administered, including a subsection on sampling procedures. Also cite the reliability and validity of data-collection instruments.

If you conducted a qualitative study, explain how data were acquired through inquiry techniques such as case studies, participant observation, journal analysis or focus groups. Use references to add credibility to your writing. Summarize the strategies used to analyze empirical data or make meaning out of subjective reports gathered during the course of the study.

For example, if you investigated whether students who work under 20 hours per week have higher GPAs than students who work 20 hours or more, you might write about using a chi-squared test to compare the GPAs of the two groups.

If describing the analysis of qualitative findings, reveal any personal biases that affected your interpretation and mention use of software tools such as NVivo, a computer program that identifies themes and trends in narratives.

Disclose any weaknesses in the study that might have confounded the results. Examples of limitations include: Comment on how the limitations could have skewed the data or the conclusions. Acknowledging limitations doesn't necessarily affect the validity of the paper. Instead, it acts as a way to identify areas for further research and study.

Mary Dowd is a dean of students who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Minnesota State Mankato. She enjoys teaching, writing and advising students on how to succeed in college. Define how you collected or generated data. This portion of your methodology section tells your readers when and where you conducted your research, and what basic parameters were put into place to ensure the relative objectivity of your results. Include enough detail that your study can be replicated by others in your field, even if they may not get the same results you did.

Provide background for uncommon methods. Particularly in the social sciences, you may be using methods that aren't typically used, or that don't seem to fit with your research problem. These methods may require additional explanation. Basic investigative procedures don't need to be explained in detail. Generally, you can assume that your readers have a general understanding of common research methods that social scientists use, such as surveys or focus groups. Cite any sources that contributed to your choice of methodology.

If you used anyone else's work to help you craft or apply your methodology, discuss those works and how they contributed to your own work, or how your work is building on theirs. You would mention those as contributing sources. Explain your selection criteria for data collection. If you're collecting primary data, you likely set eligibility parameters. State those parameters clearly and let your readers know why you set those parameters and how they are important to your research.

Justify the size of your sample, if applicable, and describe how this affects whether your study can be generalized to larger populations. For example, if you conducted a survey of 30 percent of the student population of a university, you could potentially apply those results to the student body as a whole, but maybe not to students at other universities.

Distinguish your research from any weaknesses in your methods. Every research method has strengths and weaknesses. Briefly discuss the weaknesses or criticisms of the methods you've chosen, then explain how those are irrelevant or inapplicable to your particular research. State whether you actually encountered any of these common problems during your research. Describe how you overcame obstacles. Overcoming obstacles in your research can be one of the most important parts of your methodology.

Your problem-solving abilities can enhance your readers' confidence in the results of your study. Evaluate other methods you could have used. Particularly if you're using a method that seems unusual for your particular subject matter, include a discussion of other methods that are more typically used for your type of research.

Explain why you chose not to use them. For example, there may be multiple papers providing quantitative analysis of a particular social trend.

However, none of these papers looked closely at how this trend was affecting the lives of people. Describe how you analyzed your results. Your analysis generally depends on whether your approach is qualitative, quantitative, or a mixture of the two.

If you're using a quantitative approach, you may be using statistical analysis. With a qualitative approach, state what theoretical perspective or philosophy you're using. For example, you might do a statistical analysis, and then interpret those statistics through a particular theoretical lens. Explain how your analysis suits your research goals.

Ultimately, your overall methodology should be capable of producing answers to your research questions.


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The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

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First off, let’s establish the differences between research methods and research methodology. Research Methods and Research Methodology. As an Academic and Author of valuable research papers, it’s important not to confuse these two terms. Research Methodology Definition. Research Methodology refers the discussion .

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The methodology describes the broad philosophical underpinning to your chosen research methods, including whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods, or a mixture of both, and why. You should be clear about the academic basis for all the choices of research methods that you have made. Methodology The methodology section can be generally divided into several specific parts 1. Define the population and the methods of sampling 2. Describe the instrumentation 3. Describe the procedures and if relevant, the time frame 4. Describe the analysis plan 5. Describe any approaches to ensure validity and reliability 6. State any assumptions 7.

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Methodology is the process used to gather and analyze data needed to answer the research questions guiding a study. Strive for clarity and accuracy when describing each step of the methods you used. Jun 28,  · How to Write Research Methodology. The research methodology section of any academic research paper gives you the opportunity to convince your readers that your research is useful and will contribute 67%(3).