What is Methodology in Research and How Can We Write it?

What is Methodology in Research and How Can We Write it?

It is not easy to carry out your research and write your thesis or dissertation simultaneously. It becomes challenging to keep track of everything, especially for the amateurs who have no experience in research.

To manage this problem and carry out your research smoothly, you have a section in your thesis, dissertation, or research paper called research methodology, that outlines your research work and saves you from misery.

In our blog, there are many articles to help your journey in writing your paper. Such as “Research paper: how to write from scratch in 5 easy steps” and “How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper”

But in this one, you will know what is methodology in research, its importance, its type, and how to write a research methodology.

What is Methodology in Research? 

Research Methodology is a systematic framework used to solve the research problem by using the best and most feasible methods to conduct the research while aligning with the aim and objectives of your research. 

The research methodology includes answering the what, why, and how of your research. 

To put it in simpler words, you will explain about:

  • WHAT – What is your research method, what tools you will use to collect and analyze the data, what would be your sample size, and so on?
  • WHY – Why you are choosing what you have planned to choose?
  • HOW –  How do you intend to make use of the methods and tools to solve your research problem and carry out the research?

Importance of Research Methodology:

  • Research Methodology helps you to plan your research.
  • It helps you document the research accurately from start to end.
  • Research Methodology allows the readers to understand the approach and the methods used in research.
  • If you encounter any criticism or questions about your research, you can refer to the methodology and explain your approach with reasoning.

Types of Research Instruments

Research instruments are the tools you use to collect and analyze the data in your research. The topics below are the common tools used in carrying out the research and their usage depends on the type of needs. Sometimes, a combination of these tools is used to solve the research problem.

Interviews (group or one-on-one)

Interviews help you to collect personalized information and are categorized as structured, semi-structured, or unstructured. You can use them based on the type and tone of the questions. While one-on-one interview gives you detailed information about the respondent, through group interviews, you could get the perception of a group of people. 

Surveys (Online or Offline)

Through the survey, you seek responses to a set of questions you have designed targeting a specific group of people. In the survey, you can use open-ended and closed-ended questions or a mix of both to get the answers to your questions.

Focus- Group Discussions

In focus group discussions, a large group of people share their opinions on a topic and you will be making a note of the answers they give. This is similar to that of group interviews.

Observation

This tool is used to study human behavior in different situations. You can study either the spontaneous actions of the respondent or it can be a structured one. In a structured observation, the researcher observes the behavior of the respondent in a pre-planned situation.

Types of Research Methodology

The three types of methodology used by researchers are qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods.

Qualitative Method

Qualitative research encompasses the collection and analysis of written or spoken words and texts. Researchers generally use qualitative methods when their goals and objectives are exploratory, such as when they study the perception of an event, person, product, etc. This type of data is basically gathered through interviews, observations, and focus groups. 

Example: What factors influence employee retention in a large organization?

Quantitative Method

In the Quantitative method, researchers collect, measure, and analyze numerical data from a large number of participants. This method is mainly used to confirm something by using facts and statistics. It is gathered using surveys, questionnaires, tests, databases, and records. 

Example: How many people were laid off in the UK due to the recession?

Mixed Method

This method is a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods. It provides a more realistic and true approach to any findings and presents multiple possibilities for those findings. This method often tends to produce interesting results for a specific set of approaches or findings. 

Example: How many people have left their jobs post-pandemic (quantitative) and how does it affect the current employees (qualitative)?

How to write a Research Methodology?

Define Your Method Properly

Explain the methodology that you used to investigate the issue while carrying out the research. This allows you to walk your reader through your research step-by-step and gain their trust in your work. Your research methodology can either be quantitative, qualitative or a combination of two.

Establish a Methodology

In order to make your approach relevant to the overall research design, you must establish a clear connection between your methods and the research problem. Therefore, your methodology must meet the objectives of your research paper and match the aim.

Explain the Instruments Used

Describe the tools and instruments you plan to use in gathering your data and how you will use them. These could be surveys, questionnaires, interviews, observations, or a mix of two or more. If you will use any outside method, explain that method and the result obtained from that method clearly.

Discuss the Analysis Part

Next, you need to explain how you will process and analyze the data you intend to collect. However, you need not discuss any results or conclusions here

If your study will strictly be quantitative, explain how you will ensure the data is accurate, how you will analyze the numbers, and what statistical tests you will conduct. If your study is purely qualitative, specify whether you intend to conduct any content analysis, theme analysis, or discourse analysis.

Explain Your Methodological Choices

In this step, you will explain why you choose a particular approach, be it qualitative, quantitative, or mixed approach, with the problem faced and the results obtained so far. Also, explain why that approach is relevant to your study.

Tips for Writing Methodology

Always remember to take notes and outline your research as it ensures you have complete data, and also keeps a record of all approaches used in the research. 

The research question is the key, so always focus on the research question and try to answer it with all the relevant facts, figures, and data possible.

The methodology should be written or drafted in such a way that it shows and third-party approach and is from the point of view of the audience.

Only relevant data should be included in the research, and also try to present the information in a graphical format so that they are clear and easy to understand.

Methodology Vs Method

MethodologyMethod
The main objective of the methodology is to identify and understand the methods applied in the research.The main objective of the method is to find a solution to the outlined problem.
The methodology is a proper study or analysis of all the methods used in the research.Methods are simply behavior or tools used to select research techniques.
The methodology is applied at the initial stage of the research/study.Methods are used and applied at a later stage of the study/ research.
A methodology is a systematic approach to finding a solution to a problem.Methods are a combination of different investigation and comparison techniques.

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Fabricio Pamplona is the founder of Mind the Graph - a tool used by over 400K users in 60 countries. He has a Ph.D. and solid scientific background in Psychopharmacology and experience as a Guest Researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (Germany) and Researcher in D'Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR, Brazil). Fabricio holds over 2500 citations in Google Scholar. He has 10 years of experience in small innovative businesses, with relevant experience in product design and innovation management. Connect with him on LinkedIn - Fabricio Pamplona.