Dissertation Research Methods

Dissertation Research Methods`

The structure of your dissertation depends on your approach to researching the topic. This post discusses different ways you can take to research information for your work. 

The term Approach does not mean just the type of data you are going to use for dissertation but also orientation of your study and arguments that you are going to apply. Selecting research methodology for any kind of dissertation depends on your own knowledge and research abilities. The first thing to remember is that it is necessary to provide the reason why you included this particular information. Your topic provides you with selection of possible methodologies on order to stay within limits. 

Qualitative or quantitative  -  which to choose? 

Let's use the following example of using both approaches. Quantitative information is appropriate when you want to find out about popularity of illegal drug use within particular age group. Qualitative approach is the best when you want to investigate reasons for this group to engage in this kind of behavior. You have already done many research papers. Take time to think about research methodologies that you have used in your previous works. Ask your peers about their as well. Remember that you will have to provide justification for your research methods so you have to be comfortable with it in order to able to explain your reason. 

What if I selected a topic which requires investigation of trends and policies in society? 

The most suitable method to choose here is quantitative. It is more likely you will use large amounts of data for your work. It is also recommended to use realist approach in writing such dissertations. Students are required to include various tables and other graphic information in quantitative studies. As a rule, such studies do not exceed the length of 5,000 words. What if my research question intends to provide people with "voice" on a Problem? In this case it is recommended to use qualitative information and correspondent technique. Advisors often recommend takingphenomenologist approach to researching the topic. Most materials for such dissertations are very descriptive. For example, students may include interviews, documents and their notes. Because of this such dissertations often contain up to 8,000 words, which is the limit. 

Your choice of methods depends on the following: 

  • Personal preferences to approaches (realistand so on). 
  • Own abilities to collect and analyze information required 
  • Choice of topic that interests the student 
  • Way of establishing research Problem. 

Can these methods be combined in one dissertation paper? 

It is allowed to combine these two methods. Let"s review an example. Your research question requires using quantitative data as you want to examine implications of a policy. On the other hand, you want to include a "human touch". This means providing interviews of people which have experienced the policy to describe its effect on certain individual form different age group. In this case it is allowed to use combination of these methods.