The methodology section, alternatively called “Research Methods” or simply “Method” is a very important part of a research paper. Particularly in a quantitative study, without the establishment, definition and description of the method, it will be impossible for the researcher to do anything and for the reader to understand anything. Here is a short guide on how to go about writing a method section for your undergraduate dissertation.
The very first paragraph of the Method section should explain what your hypothesis and reasoning (or theory) are. A great way to start off here is to say what previous research has done and what has been left out, which is the part you will be resolving. The following descriptions should be a highly detailed overview of the methods through which you have conducted your research. The sections are as follows:
In this section, you describe the participants in your study. You tell the reader who the participants are, how many are they? Will your participants be compensated for their participation? How will they be recruited? Will you be placing an ad on local television, on radio or on a website? Are they unknown or known to you? Do you need just men or women or a mix or both? Will they be from a particular race or a section of society, for example students or poor families?
This will probably be the shortest subsection of your methodology section. Here, you describe your independent variables and what their levels are. You will also describe how each level is assigned to a participant. If there are multiple independent variables, describe them too.
In this section, you will describe how the experiment will be carried out and what your participants’ experience is going to be. While writing down this description, use the future tense. The activities during the experiment will have a particular order and you should write these activities in that particular order. The aim here is to explain your experiment in so much detail that anyone could replicate it after having read this section. You should describe where the experiment will take place. The questionnaires the participants have to complete or the tasks they have to do should be explained extensively.
Based on the topic of your particular paper, it may be required to include some other sections after this, however, for most papers; the sections described above will be more than enough to have a thorough methodology section.
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