The research methodology section of a research work helps to clarify how the researcher is going to solve the problem presented or prove the hypothesis that is put forth. Often times there are several hypotheses and the methodology will have to be a complex combination of approaches in order to collect the correct data. Keep in mind that the research methodology is the scientific portion of the study adopted. It is analytical in nature and usually based on a quantifiable and testable theory. It is systematic and exact; therefore it encompasses the specific methods that are universally accepted as appropriate ways to test that which has not yet been proven. The goal of any good research work, is to come across a theory or hypothesis that has not been tested as of yet.
Research methodology vs research methods
The research methodology is the philosophy or general principle you choose to guide your research. It is the overall approach to your topic of research. Even if the research method considered in two problems are the same, the methodology could be different. Research methodology is concerned with the explanation of the following:
- Why is a particular research study undertaken?
- How did one formulate a research problem?
- What types of data were collected?
- What particular methods has been used?
- Why was a particular technique of analysis of data used?
Research methods are the tools you use to collect your data. They include theoretical procedures, experimental studies, numerical schemes, statistical approaches, etc. They provide us to collect samples, data and find a solution to a problem. Scientific research methods regarded as explanations based on collected facts, measurements and observations and not on reasoning alone. The chosen research methodology helps to specify the most appropriate research tools. A research method only refers to the various tools or ways data can be collected and analyzed, e.g. questionnaires, interviews, data analysis software, etc.
A good written methodology section should:
- Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem.
- Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design.
- Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use.
- Explain how you intend to analyze your results.
- Provide background and a rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers.
- Provide a justification for subject selection and sampling procedure.
- Describe potential limitations.
In case of Methodology, don’t do the following:
- You will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data-do not ignore these problems.
- The methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method.
- The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but to the point. Do not provide any background information that doesn’t directly help the reader to understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how it was analyzed.
- You do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures.