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Writing a Dissertation Methodology: Structure and Formatting Guidelines

March 27, 2020
Albert Barkley

A thesis is an extensive piece of writing that needs more comprehensive research and broader reading than standard essays or studies. A dissertation is a’ formal’ text and the way it is delivered is controlled by’ laws’. The dissertation provides you with the ability to explore a subject that concerns you from the preparation through to completion. It will also help you to demonstrate and improve unique skills highly regarded by potential employers as well as university admissions. In addition to critical thinking and written communication skills, this requires problem-solving and time-management skills.

There are two main types of dissertation: one includes an aspect of primary research that allows you to collect your own data, while another includes secondary research that depends on other researchers collecting data. This type of work will usually take the form of an extensive analysis of the literature.

Before you start preparing your doctoral thesis, make sure that you have understood and tried to explain the following: the topic of your dissertation.

  • The precise date and word specifications of the submission.
  • Some important dates such as when it is appropriate to accept and submit your proposal.
  • How to present the thesis and any formatting laws.
  • Who will be your thesis supervisor and the amount of help they will provide.
  • Any limits on what subjects and any legal problems that need to be discussed.
  • The projected load of jobs.
  • Writing the plan of a project.
  • Consider the possible importance of the work and its application.
  1. Topic selection

A doctoral thesis is your opportunity to study something that interests you. You may obtain inspiration from several different outlets that might include a news story recently read, the latest trends in your field of research, a workplace event or personal interest. Whatever the subject, you need to ensure that your commitment can be maintained over a long period of time, that you can complete it within defined deadlines, so you can make an original offering.

  • What is the Methodology?

Your section on methodology appears in your dissertation immediately after the literature review and will emerge organically from it. You should have described your research question and done a thorough analysis of what other academics on the field have to say about your subject before the point of writing your methodology. You would also have studied how these researchers came to their conclusions–the premises on which their research is based, the theoretical frameworks they used and the methods they used to collect, commander and present their data.

In addition to conversations with your supervisor, you should have used these findings to prepare how you will answer your research issue. It may be deciding how you are to collect data, or what models you are going to use to process it, or what philosophical positions influence your research the most. After that, the dissertation technique provides a detailed account of both how you approach the dissertation and why you have chosen to approach it in the way you have.

  • How would you write your methodology?

Your approach needs to create a clear connection between your research issue, the current scholarship you have reviewed in your field as part of your literature review and the methods by which you will arrive at your conclusions. Therefore, no matter in which subject area you work, the following should be included in your section on methodology:

  • A recap of your research question(s) 

The secret to explaining your approach is to show that it is fit to address the research problem or questions you posed at the beginning. When presenting your methodology, you can recapture the main questions you want to answer, but this does not have to be a word–restatement; you may want to reword the issue in a way that combines your literature review and methodology.

A Brief Description

This step involves the definition of the concept or process. It is the essence of the technique but is not a technique in itself. This is the part of your approach where you describe your data collection and analysis process or your study question clearly. It should be straightforward and comprehensive enough that it can be read and interpreted in any way by another academic, outside of the immediate sense of your dissertation.


It includes context and reasoning for your choice of design. Your approach doesn’t just explain your method; it explains why you choose it, and why you believe it would yield the best outcomes, the most informative collection of analyzes and conclusions, or the most creative outlook. It should partly draw from your study of the literature, presenting your choices as knowledgeable and grounded in sound scholarship, while hopefully demonstrating ingenuity and imagination.

You should also make sure that you clearly apply the reasoning for your approach to your research problem; your reader should be very aware that the technique you have chosen is a careful and tailor-made solution to the questions that you are trying to address.

An Overview

An overview of your method of choice and a declaration of its drawbacks No research method is perfect, and the one you have selected is likely to come with some trade-offs. You may have selected a small-scale set of interviews, for example, because the individual viewpoints of a group of interviewees on the topic you are investigating are more important to you than a broader collection of data on answers to the same question.

Nevertheless, that means you sacrificed a quantitative approach to your question that could have provided its own collection of useful insights. Be frank and straightforward–but not apologetic–about the drawbacks of your chosen strategy, and be prepared to explain why it is the right solution to your ends.

Although the description of your section on methodology should look about the same regardless of your discipline, the specifics that differ considerably depending on the subject area you are studying in.