Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Published on August 25, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 20, 2023.

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper , the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research and your dissertation topic .

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analyzed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • How you mitigated or avoided research biases
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes


Table of contents

How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about methodology.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
  • Style consistency

See an example

chapters in research methodology

Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .

It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.

You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.

Option 1: Start with your “what”

What research problem or question did you investigate?

  • Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
  • Explore an under-researched topic?
  • Establish a causal relationship?

And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?

  • Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
  • Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
  • Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?

Option 2: Start with your “why”

Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?

  • Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ? How did you prevent bias from affecting your data?

Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .

Quantitative methods

In order to be considered generalizable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.

Here, explain how you operationalized your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion and exclusion criteria , as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.

Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.

  • How did you design the questionnaire?
  • What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
  • Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • What was your sample size and response rate?

Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment ?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
  • What tools did you use?

Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced?
  • What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.

The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on July 4–8, 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.

Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

  • Information bias
  • Omitted variable bias
  • Regression to the mean
  • Survivorship bias
  • Undercoverage bias
  • Sampling bias

Qualitative methods

In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.

Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)

Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many participants took part?
  • What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
  • How long were the interviews?
  • How were they recorded?

Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .

  • What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
  • How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?

Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.

  • What type of materials did you analyze?
  • How did you select them?

In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness store’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.

Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.

Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.

  • The Hawthorne effect
  • Observer bias
  • The placebo effect
  • Response bias and Nonresponse bias
  • The Pygmalion effect
  • Recall bias
  • Social desirability bias
  • Self-selection bias

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.

Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods.

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

Next, you should indicate how you processed and analyzed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.

In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:

  • How you prepared the data before analyzing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
  • Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
  • Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).

Specific methods might include:

  • Content analysis : Categorizing and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
  • Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context

Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.

Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .

  • Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviors, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
  • Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalized beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
  • Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalizable.

Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.

1. Focus on your objectives and research questions

The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .

2. Cite relevant sources

Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:

  • Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
  • Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
  • Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature

3. Write for your audience

Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.

Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles


  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Thematic analysis
  • Cohort study
  • Peer review
  • Ethnography

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Conformity bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Attrition bias

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research project . It involves studying the methods used in your field and the theories or principles behind them, in order to develop an approach that matches your objectives.

Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyze data (for example, experiments, surveys , and statistical tests ).

In shorter scientific papers, where the aim is to report the findings of a specific study, you might simply describe what you did in a methods section .

In a longer or more complex research project, such as a thesis or dissertation , you will probably include a methodology section , where you explain your approach to answering the research questions and cite relevant sources to support your choice of methods.

In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to systematically measure variables and test hypotheses . Qualitative methods allow you to explore concepts and experiences in more detail.

Reliability and validity are both about how well a method measures something:

  • Reliability refers to the  consistency of a measure (whether the results can be reproduced under the same conditions).
  • Validity   refers to the  accuracy of a measure (whether the results really do represent what they are supposed to measure).

If you are doing experimental research, you also have to consider the internal and external validity of your experiment.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population . Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research. For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

In statistics, sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. & George, T. (2023, November 20). What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved April 5, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/methodology/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, what is a theoretical framework | guide to organizing, what is a research design | types, guide & examples, qualitative vs. quantitative research | differences, examples & methods, what is your plagiarism score.

Open Access is an initiative that aims to make scientific research freely available to all. To date our community has made over 100 million downloads. It’s based on principles of collaboration, unobstructed discovery, and, most importantly, scientific progression. As PhD students, we found it difficult to access the research we needed, so we decided to create a new Open Access publisher that levels the playing field for scientists across the world. How? By making research easy to access, and puts the academic needs of the researchers before the business interests of publishers.

We are a community of more than 103,000 authors and editors from 3,291 institutions spanning 160 countries, including Nobel Prize winners and some of the world’s most-cited researchers. Publishing on IntechOpen allows authors to earn citations and find new collaborators, meaning more people see your work not only from your own field of study, but from other related fields too.

Brief introduction to this section that descibes Open Access especially from an IntechOpen perspective

Want to get in touch? Contact our London head office or media team here

Our team is growing all the time, so we’re always on the lookout for smart people who want to help us reshape the world of scientific publishing.

Home > Books > Cyberspace

Research Design and Methodology

Submitted: 23 January 2019 Reviewed: 08 March 2019 Published: 07 August 2019

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.85731

Cite this chapter

There are two ways to cite this chapter:

From the Edited Volume

Edited by Evon Abu-Taieh, Abdelkrim El Mouatasim and Issam H. Al Hadid

To purchase hard copies of this book, please contact the representative in India: CBS Publishers & Distributors Pvt. Ltd. www.cbspd.com | [email protected]

Chapter metrics overview

30,627 Chapter Downloads

Impact of this chapter

Total Chapter Downloads on intechopen.com


Total Chapter Views on intechopen.com

Overall attention for this chapters

There are a number of approaches used in this research method design. The purpose of this chapter is to design the methodology of the research approach through mixed types of research techniques. The research approach also supports the researcher on how to come across the research result findings. In this chapter, the general design of the research and the methods used for data collection are explained in detail. It includes three main parts. The first part gives a highlight about the dissertation design. The second part discusses about qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The last part illustrates the general research framework. The purpose of this section is to indicate how the research was conducted throughout the study periods.

  • research design
  • methodology
  • data sources

Author Information

Kassu jilcha sileyew *.

  • School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

*Address all correspondence to: [email protected]

1. Introduction

Research methodology is the path through which researchers need to conduct their research. It shows the path through which these researchers formulate their problem and objective and present their result from the data obtained during the study period. This research design and methodology chapter also shows how the research outcome at the end will be obtained in line with meeting the objective of the study. This chapter hence discusses the research methods that were used during the research process. It includes the research methodology of the study from the research strategy to the result dissemination. For emphasis, in this chapter, the author outlines the research strategy, research design, research methodology, the study area, data sources such as primary data sources and secondary data, population consideration and sample size determination such as questionnaires sample size determination and workplace site exposure measurement sample determination, data collection methods like primary data collection methods including workplace site observation data collection and data collection through desk review, data collection through questionnaires, data obtained from experts opinion, workplace site exposure measurement, data collection tools pretest, secondary data collection methods, methods of data analysis used such as quantitative data analysis and qualitative data analysis, data analysis software, the reliability and validity analysis of the quantitative data, reliability of data, reliability analysis, validity, data quality management, inclusion criteria, ethical consideration and dissemination of result and its utilization approaches. In order to satisfy the objectives of the study, a qualitative and quantitative research method is apprehended in general. The study used these mixed strategies because the data were obtained from all aspects of the data source during the study time. Therefore, the purpose of this methodology is to satisfy the research plan and target devised by the researcher.

2. Research design

The research design is intended to provide an appropriate framework for a study. A very significant decision in research design process is the choice to be made regarding research approach since it determines how relevant information for a study will be obtained; however, the research design process involves many interrelated decisions [ 1 ].

This study employed a mixed type of methods. The first part of the study consisted of a series of well-structured questionnaires (for management, employee’s representatives, and technician of industries) and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders (government bodies, ministries, and industries) in participating organizations. The other design used is an interview of employees to know how they feel about safety and health of their workplace, and field observation at the selected industrial sites was undertaken.

Hence, this study employs a descriptive research design to agree on the effects of occupational safety and health management system on employee health, safety, and property damage for selected manufacturing industries. Saunders et al. [ 2 ] and Miller [ 3 ] say that descriptive research portrays an accurate profile of persons, events, or situations. This design offers to the researchers a profile of described relevant aspects of the phenomena of interest from an individual, organizational, and industry-oriented perspective. Therefore, this research design enabled the researchers to gather data from a wide range of respondents on the impact of safety and health on manufacturing industries in Ethiopia. And this helped in analyzing the response obtained on how it affects the manufacturing industries’ workplace safety and health. The research overall design and flow process are depicted in Figure 1 .

chapters in research methodology

Research methods and processes (author design).

3. Research methodology

To address the key research objectives, this research used both qualitative and quantitative methods and combination of primary and secondary sources. The qualitative data supports the quantitative data analysis and results. The result obtained is triangulated since the researcher utilized the qualitative and quantitative data types in the data analysis. The study area, data sources, and sampling techniques were discussed under this section.

3.1 The study area

According to Fraenkel and Warren [ 4 ] studies, population refers to the complete set of individuals (subjects or events) having common characteristics in which the researcher is interested. The population of the study was determined based on random sampling system. This data collection was conducted from March 07, 2015 to December 10, 2016, from selected manufacturing industries found in Addis Ababa city and around. The manufacturing companies were selected based on their employee number, established year, and the potential accidents prevailing and the manufacturing industry type even though all criterions were difficult to satisfy.

3.2 Data sources

3.2.1 primary data sources.

It was obtained from the original source of information. The primary data were more reliable and have more confidence level of decision-making with the trusted analysis having direct intact with occurrence of the events. The primary data sources are industries’ working environment (through observation, pictures, and photograph) and industry employees (management and bottom workers) (interview, questionnaires and discussions).

3.2.2 Secondary data

Desk review has been conducted to collect data from various secondary sources. This includes reports and project documents at each manufacturing sectors (more on medium and large level). Secondary data sources have been obtained from literatures regarding OSH, and the remaining data were from the companies’ manuals, reports, and some management documents which were included under the desk review. Reputable journals, books, different articles, periodicals, proceedings, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, websites, and other sources were considered on the manufacturing industrial sectors. The data also obtained from the existing working documents, manuals, procedures, reports, statistical data, policies, regulations, and standards were taken into account for the review.

In general, for this research study, the desk review has been completed to this end, and it had been polished and modified upon manuals and documents obtained from the selected companies.

4. Population and sample size

4.1 population.

The study population consisted of manufacturing industries’ employees in Addis Ababa city and around as there are more representative manufacturing industrial clusters found. To select representative manufacturing industrial sector population, the types of the industries expected were more potential to accidents based on random and purposive sampling considered. The population of data was from textile, leather, metal, chemicals, and food manufacturing industries. A total of 189 sample sizes of industries responded to the questionnaire survey from the priority areas of the government. Random sample sizes and disproportionate methods were used, and 80 from wood, metal, and iron works; 30 from food, beverage, and tobacco products; 50 from leather, textile, and garments; 20 from chemical and chemical products; and 9 from other remaining 9 clusters of manufacturing industries responded.

4.2 Questionnaire sample size determination

A simple random sampling and purposive sampling methods were used to select the representative manufacturing industries and respondents for the study. The simple random sampling ensures that each member of the population has an equal chance for the selection or the chance of getting a response which can be more than equal to the chance depending on the data analysis justification. Sample size determination procedure was used to get optimum and reasonable information. In this study, both probability (simple random sampling) and nonprobability (convenience, quota, purposive, and judgmental) sampling methods were used as the nature of the industries are varied. This is because of the characteristics of data sources which permitted the researchers to follow the multi-methods. This helps the analysis to triangulate the data obtained and increase the reliability of the research outcome and its decision. The companies’ establishment time and its engagement in operation, the number of employees and the proportion it has, the owner types (government and private), type of manufacturing industry/production, types of resource used at work, and the location it is found in the city and around were some of the criteria for the selections.

The determination of the sample size was adopted from Daniel [ 5 ] and Cochran [ 6 ] formula. The formula used was for unknown population size Eq. (1) and is given as

chapters in research methodology

where n  = sample size, Z  = statistic for a level of confidence, P  = expected prevalence or proportion (in proportion of one; if 50%, P  = 0.5), and d  = precision (in proportion of one; if 6%, d  = 0.06). Z statistic ( Z ): for the level of confidence of 95%, which is conventional, Z value is 1.96. In this study, investigators present their results with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

The expected sample number was 267 at the marginal error of 6% for 95% confidence interval of manufacturing industries. However, the collected data indicated that only 189 populations were used for the analysis after rejecting some data having more missing values in the responses from the industries. Hence, the actual data collection resulted in 71% response rate. The 267 population were assumed to be satisfactory and representative for the data analysis.

4.3 Workplace site exposure measurement sample determination

The sample size for the experimental exposure measurements of physical work environment has been considered based on the physical data prepared for questionnaires and respondents. The response of positive were considered for exposure measurement factors to be considered for the physical environment health and disease causing such as noise intensity, light intensity, pressure/stress, vibration, temperature/coldness, or hotness and dust particles on 20 workplace sites. The selection method was using random sampling in line with purposive method. The measurement of the exposure factors was done in collaboration with Addis Ababa city Administration and Oromia Bureau of Labour and Social Affair (AACBOLSA). Some measuring instruments were obtained from the Addis Ababa city and Oromia Bureau of Labour and Social Affair.

5. Data collection methods

Data collection methods were focused on the followings basic techniques. These included secondary and primary data collections focusing on both qualitative and quantitative data as defined in the previous section. The data collection mechanisms are devised and prepared with their proper procedures.

5.1 Primary data collection methods

Primary data sources are qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative sources are field observation, interview, and informal discussions, while that of quantitative data sources are survey questionnaires and interview questions. The next sections elaborate how the data were obtained from the primary sources.

5.1.1 Workplace site observation data collection

Observation is an important aspect of science. Observation is tightly connected to data collection, and there are different sources for this: documentation, archival records, interviews, direct observations, and participant observations. Observational research findings are considered strong in validity because the researcher is able to collect a depth of information about a particular behavior. In this dissertation, the researchers used observation method as one tool for collecting information and data before questionnaire design and after the start of research too. The researcher made more than 20 specific observations of manufacturing industries in the study areas. During the observations, it found a deeper understanding of the working environment and the different sections in the production system and OSH practices.

5.1.2 Data collection through interview

Interview is a loosely structured qualitative in-depth interview with people who are considered to be particularly knowledgeable about the topic of interest. The semi-structured interview is usually conducted in a face-to-face setting which permits the researcher to seek new insights, ask questions, and assess phenomena in different perspectives. It let the researcher to know the in-depth of the present working environment influential factors and consequences. It has provided opportunities for refining data collection efforts and examining specialized systems or processes. It was used when the researcher faces written records or published document limitation or wanted to triangulate the data obtained from other primary and secondary data sources.

This dissertation is also conducted with a qualitative approach and conducting interviews. The advantage of using interviews as a method is that it allows respondents to raise issues that the interviewer may not have expected. All interviews with employees, management, and technicians were conducted by the corresponding researcher, on a face-to-face basis at workplace. All interviews were recorded and transcribed.

5.1.3 Data collection through questionnaires

The main tool for gaining primary information in practical research is questionnaires, due to the fact that the researcher can decide on the sample and the types of questions to be asked [ 2 ].

In this dissertation, each respondent is requested to reply to an identical list of questions mixed so that biasness was prevented. Initially the questionnaire design was coded and mixed up from specific topic based on uniform structures. Consequently, the questionnaire produced valuable data which was required to achieve the dissertation objectives.

The questionnaires developed were based on a five-item Likert scale. Responses were given to each statement using a five-point Likert-type scale, for which 1 = “strongly disagree” to 5 = “strongly agree.” The responses were summed up to produce a score for the measures.

5.1.4 Data obtained from experts’ opinion

The data was also obtained from the expert’s opinion related to the comparison of the knowledge, management, collaboration, and technology utilization including their sub-factors. The data obtained in this way was used for prioritization and decision-making of OSH, improving factor priority. The prioritization of the factors was using Saaty scales (1–9) and then converting to Fuzzy set values obtained from previous researches using triangular fuzzy set [ 7 ].

5.1.5 Workplace site exposure measurement

The researcher has measured the workplace environment for dust, vibration, heat, pressure, light, and noise to know how much is the level of each variable. The primary data sources planned and an actual coverage has been compared as shown in Table 1 .

chapters in research methodology

Planned versus actual coverage of the survey.

The response rate for the proposed data source was good, and the pilot test also proved the reliability of questionnaires. Interview/discussion resulted in 87% of responses among the respondents; the survey questionnaire response rate obtained was 71%, and the field observation response rate was 90% for the whole data analysis process. Hence, the data organization quality level has not been compromised.

This response rate is considered to be representative of studies of organizations. As the study agrees on the response rate to be 30%, it is considered acceptable [ 8 ]. Saunders et al. [ 2 ] argued that the questionnaire with a scale response of 20% response rate is acceptable. Low response rate should not discourage the researchers, because a great deal of published research work also achieves low response rate. Hence, the response rate of this study is acceptable and very good for the purpose of meeting the study objectives.

5.1.6 Data collection tool pretest

The pretest for questionnaires, interviews, and tools were conducted to validate that the tool content is valid or not in the sense of the respondents’ understanding. Hence, content validity (in which the questions are answered to the target without excluding important points), internal validity (in which the questions raised answer the outcomes of researchers’ target), and external validity (in which the result can generalize to all the population from the survey sample population) were reflected. It has been proved with this pilot test prior to the start of the basic data collections. Following feedback process, a few minor changes were made to the originally designed data collect tools. The pilot test made for the questionnaire test was on 10 sample sizes selected randomly from the target sectors and experts.

5.2 Secondary data collection methods

The secondary data refers to data that was collected by someone other than the user. This data source gives insights of the research area of the current state-of-the-art method. It also makes some sort of research gap that needs to be filled by the researcher. This secondary data sources could be internal and external data sources of information that may cover a wide range of areas.

Literature/desk review and industry documents and reports: To achieve the dissertation’s objectives, the researcher has conducted excessive document review and reports of the companies in both online and offline modes. From a methodological point of view, literature reviews can be comprehended as content analysis, where quantitative and qualitative aspects are mixed to assess structural (descriptive) as well as content criteria.

A literature search was conducted using the database sources like MEDLINE; Emerald; Taylor and Francis publications; EMBASE (medical literature); PsycINFO (psychological literature); Sociological Abstracts (sociological literature); accident prevention journals; US Statistics of Labor, European Safety and Health database; ABI Inform; Business Source Premier (business/management literature); EconLit (economic literature); Social Service Abstracts (social work and social service literature); and other related materials. The search strategy was focused on articles or reports that measure one or more of the dimensions within the research OSH model framework. This search strategy was based on a framework and measurement filter strategy developed by the Consensus-Based Standards for the Selection of Health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) group. Based on screening, unrelated articles to the research model and objectives were excluded. Prior to screening, researcher (principal investigator) reviewed a sample of more than 2000 articles, websites, reports, and guidelines to determine whether they should be included for further review or reject. Discrepancies were thoroughly identified and resolved before the review of the main group of more than 300 articles commenced. After excluding the articles based on the title, keywords, and abstract, the remaining articles were reviewed in detail, and the information was extracted on the instrument that was used to assess the dimension of research interest. A complete list of items was then collated within each research targets or objectives and reviewed to identify any missing elements.

6. Methods of data analysis

Data analysis method follows the procedures listed under the following sections. The data analysis part answered the basic questions raised in the problem statement. The detailed analysis of the developed and developing countries’ experiences on OSH regarding manufacturing industries was analyzed, discussed, compared and contrasted, and synthesized.

6.1 Quantitative data analysis

Quantitative data were obtained from primary and secondary data discussed above in this chapter. This data analysis was based on their data type using Excel, SPSS 20.0, Office Word format, and other tools. This data analysis focuses on numerical/quantitative data analysis.

Before analysis, data coding of responses and analysis were made. In order to analyze the data obtained easily, the data were coded to SPSS 20.0 software as the data obtained from questionnaires. This task involved identifying, classifying, and assigning a numeric or character symbol to data, which was done in only one way pre-coded [ 9 , 10 ]. In this study, all of the responses were pre-coded. They were taken from the list of responses, a number of corresponding to a particular selection was given. This process was applied to every earlier question that needed this treatment. Upon completion, the data were then entered to a statistical analysis software package, SPSS version 20.0 on Windows 10 for the next steps.

Under the data analysis, exploration of data has been made with descriptive statistics and graphical analysis. The analysis included exploring the relationship between variables and comparing groups how they affect each other. This has been done using cross tabulation/chi square, correlation, and factor analysis and using nonparametric statistic.

6.2 Qualitative data analysis

Qualitative data analysis used for triangulation of the quantitative data analysis. The interview, observation, and report records were used to support the findings. The analysis has been incorporated with the quantitative discussion results in the data analysis parts.

6.3 Data analysis software

The data were entered using SPSS 20.0 on Windows 10 and analyzed. The analysis supported with SPSS software much contributed to the finding. It had contributed to the data validation and correctness of the SPSS results. The software analyzed and compared the results of different variables used in the research questionnaires. Excel is also used to draw the pictures and calculate some analytical solutions.

7. The reliability and validity analysis of the quantitative data

7.1 reliability of data.

The reliability of measurements specifies the amount to which it is without bias (error free) and hence ensures consistent measurement across time and across the various items in the instrument [ 8 ]. In reliability analysis, it has been checked for the stability and consistency of the data. In the case of reliability analysis, the researcher checked the accuracy and precision of the procedure of measurement. Reliability has numerous definitions and approaches, but in several environments, the concept comes to be consistent [ 8 ]. The measurement fulfills the requirements of reliability when it produces consistent results during data analysis procedure. The reliability is determined through Cranach’s alpha as shown in Table 2 .

chapters in research methodology

Internal consistency and reliability test of questionnaires items.

K stands for knowledge; M, management; T, technology; C, collaboration; P, policy, standards, and regulation; H, hazards and accident conditions; PPE, personal protective equipment.

7.2 Reliability analysis

Cronbach’s alpha is a measure of internal consistency, i.e., how closely related a set of items are as a group [ 11 ]. It is considered to be a measure of scale reliability. The reliability of internal consistency most of the time is measured based on the Cronbach’s alpha value. Reliability coefficient of 0.70 and above is considered “acceptable” in most research situations [ 12 ]. In this study, reliability analysis for internal consistency of Likert-scale measurement after deleting 13 items was found similar; the reliability coefficients were found for 76 items were 0.964 and for the individual groupings made shown in Table 2 . It was also found internally consistent using the Cronbach’s alpha test. Table 2 shows the internal consistency of the seven major instruments in which their reliability falls in the acceptable range for this research.

7.3 Validity

Face validity used as defined by Babbie [ 13 ] is an indicator that makes it seem a reasonable measure of some variables, and it is the subjective judgment that the instrument measures what it intends to measure in terms of relevance [ 14 ]. Thus, the researcher ensured, in this study, when developing the instruments that uncertainties were eliminated by using appropriate words and concepts in order to enhance clarity and general suitability [ 14 ]. Furthermore, the researcher submitted the instruments to the research supervisor and the joint supervisor who are both occupational health experts, to ensure validity of the measuring instruments and determine whether the instruments could be considered valid on face value.

In this study, the researcher was guided by reviewed literature related to compliance with the occupational health and safety conditions and data collection methods before he could develop the measuring instruments. In addition, the pretest study that was conducted prior to the main study assisted the researcher to avoid uncertainties of the contents in the data collection measuring instruments. A thorough inspection of the measuring instruments by the statistician and the researcher’s supervisor and joint experts, to ensure that all concepts pertaining to the study were included, ensured that the instruments were enriched.

8. Data quality management

Insight has been given to the data collectors on how to approach companies, and many of the questionnaires were distributed through MSc students at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) and manufacturing industries’ experience experts. This made the data quality reliable as it has been continually discussed with them. Pretesting for questionnaire was done on 10 workers to assure the quality of the data and for improvement of data collection tools. Supervision during data collection was done to understand how the data collectors are handling the questionnaire, and each filled questionnaires was checked for its completeness, accuracy, clarity, and consistency on a daily basis either face-to-face or by phone/email. The data expected in poor quality were rejected out of the acting during the screening time. Among planned 267 questionnaires, 189 were responded back. Finally, it was analyzed by the principal investigator.

9. Inclusion criteria

The data were collected from the company representative with the knowledge of OSH. Articles written in English and Amharic were included in this study. Database information obtained in relation to articles and those who have OSH area such as interventions method, method of accident identification, impact of occupational accidents, types of occupational injuries/disease, and impact of occupational accidents, and disease on productivity and costs of company and have used at least one form of feedback mechanism. No specific time period was chosen in order to access all available published papers. The questionnaire statements which are similar in the questionnaire have been rejected from the data analysis.

10. Ethical consideration

Ethical clearance was obtained from the School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Institute of Technology, Addis Ababa University. Official letters were written from the School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering to the respective manufacturing industries. The purpose of the study was explained to the study subjects. The study subjects were told that the information they provided was kept confidential and that their identities would not be revealed in association with the information they provided. Informed consent was secured from each participant. For bad working environment assessment findings, feedback will be given to all manufacturing industries involved in the study. There is a plan to give a copy of the result to the respective study manufacturing industries’ and ministries’ offices. The respondents’ privacy and their responses were not individually analyzed and included in the report.

11. Dissemination and utilization of the result

The result of this study will be presented to the Addis Ababa University, AAiT, School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. It will also be communicated to the Ethiopian manufacturing industries, Ministry of Labor and Social Affair, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Health from where the data was collected. The result will also be availed by publication and online presentation in Google Scholars. To this end, about five articles were published and disseminated to the whole world.

12. Conclusion

The research methodology and design indicated overall process of the flow of the research for the given study. The data sources and data collection methods were used. The overall research strategies and framework are indicated in this research process from problem formulation to problem validation including all the parameters. It has laid some foundation and how research methodology is devised and framed for researchers. This means, it helps researchers to consider it as one of the samples and models for the research data collection and process from the beginning of the problem statement to the research finding. Especially, this research flow helps new researchers to the research environment and methodology in particular.

Conflict of interest

There is no “conflict of interest.”

  • 1. Aaker A, Kumar VD, George S. Marketing Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc; 2000
  • 2. Saunders M, Lewis P, Thornhill A. Research Methods for Business Student. 5th ed. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Limited; 2009
  • 3. Miller P. Motivation in the Workplace. Work and Organizational Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers; 1991
  • 4. Fraenkel FJ, Warren NE. How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002
  • 5. Danniel WW. Biostatist: A Foundation for Analysis in the Health Science. 7th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 1999
  • 6. Cochran WG. Sampling Techniques. 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 1977
  • 7. Saaty TL. The Analytical Hierarchy Process. Pittsburg: PWS Publications; 1990
  • 8. Sekaran U, Bougie R. Research Methods for Business: A Skill Building Approach. 5th ed. New Delhi: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2010. pp. 1-468
  • 9. Luck DJ, Rubin RS. Marketing Research. 7th ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall International; 1987
  • 10. Wong TC. Marketing Research. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1999
  • 11. Cronbach LJ. Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika. 1951; 16 :297-334
  • 12. Tavakol M, Dennick R. Making sense of Cronbach’s alpha. International Journal of Medical Education. 2011; 2 :53-55. DOI: 10.5116/ijme.4dfb.8dfd
  • 13. Babbie E. The Practice of Social Research. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2010
  • 14. Polit DF, Beck CT. Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice. 8th ed. Williams and Wilkins: Lippincott; 2008

© 2019 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Continue reading from the same book

Edited by Evon Abu-Taieh

Published: 17 June 2020

By Sabína Gáliková Tolnaiová and Slavomír Gálik


By Carlos Pedro Gonçalves


By Konstantinos-George Thanos, Andrianna Polydouri, A...



Research Structure

Research structure is basically an outline of your paper. In your dissertation you are expected to provide the research structure towards the end of introduction chapter. The components of research structure are illustrated in table below:

Components of each chapter in research structure

The following is a sample of a research structure:

Chapter One communicates the purpose and focus of the study and explains the outline of the research. This chapter includes a brief explanation of the research background , and provides rationale for the selection of the research area . Moreover, the first chapter contains explanation of the research aim and objectives , and explains research structure.

Chapter Two constitutes a literature review, and accordingly, contains analysis of models and theoretical frameworks that have been previously introduced to the research area. This chapter contains definitions of main terms and explains search strategy for the secondary data . Viewpoints of other authors regarding the research area in general and research problem in particular have been presented in a logical manner in this chapter.

Chapter Three addresses methodology. The chapter explains the research process and addresses the issues of research philosophy . Moreover, methodology chapter contains explanation of research design , and the choice and implementation of data collection methods . Sampling aspect of the study and discussions of ethical considerations are also included in this chapter.

Chapter Four contains presentation of the primary data collected through questionnaires/interviews/focus groups/observation/etc. Presentation of primary data findings have been facilitated through bar charts/pie charts. Brief discussions have been included to explain each chart.

Chapter Five constitutes discussions and analyses. This chapter plays a critical role in the achievement of research aim and objectives. Findings of the literature review have been compared to primary data findings in this chapter. Also, in-depth discussions have been provided in relation to each individual research objective.

Chapter Six concludes the work and summarises the level of achievement of research aim and objectives. The chapter comprises acknowledgement of limitations of the study and highlights scope for future studies in the same research area.

Your dissertation has also to contain title page, acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents at the beginning. Furthermore, you need to add references, bibliography and appendices sections at the end of your dissertation.

Research Structure

John Dudovskiy

Grad Coach

Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up


This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

chapters in research methodology

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings? In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

chapters in research methodology

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

You Might Also Like:

Dissertation and thesis defense 101



many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.


Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!


what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much


Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!


Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.


best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?


Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.


Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear


Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!


My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!


Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂


Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course


This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you


Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

This is so good

Tesfay haftu

How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?


  • What Is A Literature Review (In A Dissertation Or Thesis) - Grad Coach - […] is to write the actual literature review chapter (this is usually the second chapter in a typical dissertation or…

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Print Friendly

help for assessment

  • Customer Reviews
  • Extended Essays
  • IB Internal Assessment
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Literature Review
  • Dissertations
  • Essay Writing
  • Research Writing
  • Assignment Help
  • Capstone Projects
  • College Application
  • Online Class

How to Write the Methodology Chapter: The Complete Guide

Author Image

by  Antony W

April 20, 2022

chapters in research methodology

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to write the methodology chapter of a thesis, dissertation, or a research paper, step-by-step. So if you’ve reached this section in your assignment and you simply no idea how to proceed, this article will point you in the right direction.

You’ll learn what the methodology chapter is about and how you can go about writing one by following a systematic approach guaranteed to help you complete the project faster.

By definition, the methodology chapter of a thesis, dissertation, or research paper is the section where you explain about the specific research design options used in your research. It’s in the methodology chapter that you explain the process you used to design your research and give a justification for the research design.

In other words, the methodology section should clearly demonstrate:

  • Whether you conducted quantitative or qualitative research
  • The approach you used to collect the data
  • What your approach to analyzing the data was and
  • The kind of sampling that you did

With that said, let’s get into more details on dealing with the methodology chapter of your research work.

What is the Methodology Chapter for a Research Paper and Dissertation?

In your methodology chapter, you’ll explain the conceptual foundations of your study as well as the specific research design decisions you’ve made. The purpose of this chapter is to explain how you designed your research. 

There are two reasons why your research paper, thesis, and dissertation should have a methodology section:

  • It shows that you understand the concept of research design theory, that you understand what you’re doing in research, and that the results you’ll present have a high degree of credibility.
  • Because it outlines the steps you took to do and analyze your research, the methodology chapter is what sets your study apart from the others. It also allows you to identify and describe any methodological concerns or problems that you ran into, as well as explain how you dealt with them.

How to Write The Methodology Chapter – Step-by-Step

It’s worth mentioning that the methodology chapter’s specific format and contents will differ based on the study topic and the university. We strongly recommend that you check with your professor to find out what structure they would like you to use.

More often than not, they will allow you to use the standard structure for your paper, which should make the writing process easier for you. Ideally, the methodology chapter of your research paper, thesis, or dissertation should have the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Research design
  • Methodological limitation
  • A concluding summary

Let’s look at each section in more details below:

The Introduction

The methodology chapter should contain a brief introduction of your dissertation or thesis. You should remind your readers about the emphasis of your study, particularly the research objectives.

Your research design must correspond with your research aims, objectives, and research questions, so include this up front to remind the reader what you intend to accomplish with your research design.

We strongly recommend that you explain how you’ve organized the chapter. Doing so will make it easy for the reader to have a clear roadmap of what to expect from reading the rest of the section of your methodology chapter.

Research Design

We like to refer to research design as the heart of the methodology chapter because it presents your research design in great depth to the reader. The information you provide here should be good enough to justify the design choices you made for your paper.

Here’s how to approach it: 

1. Describe Your Methodological Approach

Start by explaining the research subject or problem you looked into. It could be that you wanted to methodically define something’s qualities, investigate a little-studied issue, or prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Whatever it is, write it down because it will guide your reader throughout the other section of the research design.

Some questions to think about when working on your methodological approach include:

  • Did you require quantitative or qualitative data?
  • Was it necessary for you to obtain primary data personally, or did you rely on secondary data gathered by others?
  • Did you collect descriptive data by gathering observations without intervening, or did you collect experimental data by altering variables?
  • Were there any ethical factors involved in your decision-making?

2. Explain Your Methods of Data Collection

Next step in research design is to explain the data collection method you used to gather information for your research project.

The following table is a summary of the data collection methods as used in research writing:

3. Explain Your Data Analysis Methods

The next step is to describe how you processed and analyzed the data.

  • Quantitative analysis: Your analysis in quantitative research will be on numbers. You may include how you prepared the data for analysis, the computer software you used, and the statistical you employed.
  • Qualitative analysis:   Your analysis in qualitative research will be based on language, visuals, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis).

4. Methodological Limitations 

You can admit to the approach’s limits or flaws, but explain why the advantages exceeded the disadvantages. Explain why prior strategies were ineffective in achieving your goals, and how this strategy adds new information or insight.

Your methodology should be a well-structured, unambiguous document that argues for your approach rather than a collection of technical information and processes.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

Jump to navigation

Call for Chapters: Qualitative Research Methods for Dissertation Research

Call for Chapters: Qualitative Research Methods for Dissertation Research This guide provides doctoral scholars and researchers with the conventions of qualitative research for dissertation research. As an essential source, the collection is comprised of diverse resources from various perspectives for the methods and strategies to utilize the conventions of qualitative inquiry to prepare and advise doctoral scholars for rigorous qualitative dissertation research. The guide offers transdisciplinary perspectives across business, education, computer science, social and behavioral science, and the health sciences with a pathway to support a rationale for the choice of the qualitative method for the dissertation study and the subsequent design and implementation decisions needed thereafter for a qualitative dissertation study.

See submission details  https://www.igi-global.com/publish/call-for-papers/call-details/7482

Book cover

Enterprise Resource Planning pp 91–110 Cite as

Research Methodology and Methods

  • Ahmed O. Kholeif 3 ,
  • Magdy G. Abdel-Kader 4 &
  • Michael J. Sherer 3  

243 Accesses

The previous chapter discussed the theoretical framework that this study uses to analyse the empirical results. This chapter describes the design and implementation of the empirical phase of the study. It explores the research methodology and techniques used to collect empirical data. The remainder of this chapter is divided into seven sections. Section 4.2 presents different research methodologies and their relation to theory and research method selection. Section 4.3 discusses the interpretive case study as the preferred method for collecting empirical data. Section 4.4 describes the pilot case study that clarified the research issues and research design. Section 4.5 describes the design of the case study and the organisations and individuals chosen for the empirical study. Section 4.6 discusses data collection methods particularly the use of semi-structured interviews which was selected as the main method. Section 4.7 discusses the weaknesses and problems of the case study method. The last section provides a summary and conclusion.

  • Management Accounting
  • Custom Software
  • Case Study Research
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Accounting Practice

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution .

Buying options

  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
  • Durable hardcover edition

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Unable to display preview.  Download preview PDF.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

School of Accounting, Finance and Management, University of Essex, UK

Ahmed O. Kholeif ( Lecturer in Accounting and Auditing ) & Michael J. Sherer ( Professor in Accounting and Auditing )

Brunel Business School, Brunel University, UK

Magdy G. Abdel-Kader ( Senior Lecturer in Accounting )

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Copyright information

© 2008 Ahmed Othman Rashwan Kholeif, Magdy Abdel-Kader and Michael J. Sherer

About this chapter

Cite this chapter.

Kholeif, A.O., Abdel-Kader, M.G., Sherer, M.J. (2008). Research Methodology and Methods. In: Enterprise Resource Planning. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230584051_4

Download citation

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230584051_4

Publisher Name : Palgrave Macmillan, London

Print ISBN : 978-1-349-35426-9

Online ISBN : 978-0-230-58405-1

eBook Packages : Palgrave Business & Management Collection Business and Management (R0)

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research


  1. Example Of Methodology Section Of Research Paper

    chapters in research methodology

  2. (PDF) Research Methodology

    chapters in research methodology

  3. How Is The Research Methodology Chapter In Qualitative Research Written?

    chapters in research methodology

  4. Chapter 3 Methodology Example In Research Architectural Thesis

    chapters in research methodology

  5. Research Methodology Chapter01 Part2

    chapters in research methodology

  6. (PDF) Research Methodology (Basics)

    chapters in research methodology


  1. Referencing Basics (Part 1b)

  2. Research Approaches

  3. Research methodology... Meaning of Research, Types of Research

  4. Research Methodology for Thesis

  5. Part 03: Literature Review (Research Methods and Methodology) By Dr. Walter

  6. Approaches , Analysis And Sources Of Literature Review ( RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND IPR)


  1. How To Write The Methodology Chapter

    Do yourself a favour and start with the end in mind. Section 1 - Introduction. As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the methodology chapter should have a brief introduction. In this section, you should remind your readers what the focus of your study is, especially the research aims. As we've discussed many times on the blog ...

  2. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Step 1: Explain your methodological approach. Step 2: Describe your data collection methods. Step 3: Describe your analysis method. Step 4: Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made. Tips for writing a strong methodology chapter. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about methodology.

  3. Research Design and Methodology

    There are a number of approaches used in this research method design. The purpose of this chapter is to design the methodology of the research approach through mixed types of research techniques. The research approach also supports the researcher on how to come across the research result findings. In this chapter, the general design of the research and the methods used for data collection are ...

  4. Research Methodology Chapter: 5 Tips & Tricks

    The methodology chapter is a crucial part of your dissertation or thesis - it's where you provide context and justification for your study's design. This in turn demonstrates your understanding of research theory, which is what earns you marks.. Over the years, we've helped thousands of students navigate this tricky section of the research process.

  5. Introduction to Research Methodology

    The research design is a fundamental aspect of research methodology, outlining the overall strategy and structure of the study. It includes decisions regarding the research type (e.g., descriptive, experimental), the selection of variables, and the determination of the study's scope and timeframe. We must carefully consider the design to ...

  6. PDF CHAPTER 1 The Selection of a Research Approach

    research approaches, research designs, and research methods are four key terms representing a perspective about research flow from broad constructions of research to the narrow procedures of methods. Table 1.1 explains these key terms in more detail. Table 1.1 Key Terms and Their Definitions as Used in This Chapter Key Terms

  7. PDF Presenting Methodology and Research Approach

    Presenting Methodology and Research Approach 67 Table 3.1 Roadmap for Developing Methodology Chapter: Necessary Elements 1: Introduction and Overview Begin by stating purpose and research questions. Go on to explain how the chapter is organized. Then provide a rationale for using a qualitative research approach, as well as a rationale for the

  8. PDF Introduction to Research Methods

    CHAPTER 1. Introduction to . Research Methods. A. s a psychologist, the entire framework behind learning about psychology is being able to study human behavior. Not everyone will ultimately conduct research for a career, but in order to understand human behavior, we must have an appreciation for the research

  9. PDF Chapter 1 Introduction to Research Methodology

    The research design is a fundamental aspect of research methodology, outlining the overall strategy and structure of the study. It includes decisions regarding the research type (e.g., descriptive, experimental), the selection of variables, and the determination of the study's scope and timeframe. We must carefully consider the design to ...

  10. Research Methodology: An Introduction

    2.1 Research Methodology. Method can be described as a set of tools and techniques for finding something out, or for reducing levels of uncertainty. According to Saunders (2012) method is the technique and procedures used to obtain and analyse research data, including for example questionnaires, observation, interviews, and statistical and non-statistical techniques [].

  11. PDF The Method Chapter

    The Method Chapter Describing Your Research Plan T he Method chapter of a dissertation, article, or proposal describes the exact steps that will be undertaken to address your hypotheses or research questions. For this reason, the Method section follows logically from the statement of the problem in much the same way as research

  12. How To Write The Methodology Chapter (With Examples)

    How to write up the methodology branch. First off, it's worth observe that the exact structure the menu of the methods chapter will vary conditional on the field for research (e.g., humanities, chemistry or engineering) as well than one univ.So, be sure to always check the guidelines provided by owner institution for clarity and, if optional, review past dissertations from your university.

  13. Research Structure

    Components of each chapter in research structure . The following is a sample of a research structure: Chapter One communicates the purpose and focus of the study and explains the outline of the research. This chapter includes a brief explanation of the research background, and provides rationale for the selection of the research area.Moreover, the first chapter contains explanation of the ...

  14. How to Write a Research Methodology in 4 Steps

    Learn how to write a strong methodology chapter that allows readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of the research. A good methodology chapter incl...

  15. Dissertation Structure & Layout 101 (+ Examples)

    The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question. The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question . In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question ...

  16. How to Write the Methodology Chapter: The Complete Guide

    Here's how to approach it: 1. Describe Your Methodological Approach. Start by explaining the research subject or problem you looked into. It could be that you wanted to methodically define something's qualities, investigate a little-studied issue, or prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

  17. Introduction to a Variety of Qualitative Research Methods

    Variety of Qualitative Research Methods is concise, just enough, and just in time. This book uncovers concepts and methods used internationally, and also demonstrates different ways of knowing and world views with integrity, rigor, and relevance. The topics are not explored in a significant depth but work as signposts with provision of relevant ...

  18. PDF Methodology: What It Is and Why It Is So Important

    and make for good science and scientific research. The purpose of this introductory chapter is to convey what methodology is, why it is needed, and the key tenets that guide what we do as scientists. These foci may seem obvious—after all, everyone knows what methodology is and why it is needed. Perhaps so, but the answers are not all so obvious.

  19. (PDF) Chapter 3

    Chapter 3 - Research Methodology a nd Research Method. This chapter looks at the various research methodologies and research methods that are commonly. used by researchers in the field of ...

  20. How Do I Write the Methods Chapter?

    The methods chapter is where you describe what you did to collect and analyse your data. This book chapter will outline what the methods chapter should cover, potential differences in the styles between experiments, surveys, literature reviews, and audits. The different sections the methods chapter typically has including design, sample ...

  21. cfp

    Call for Chapters: Qualitative Research Methods for Dissertation Research This guide provides doctoral scholars and researchers with the conventions of qualitative research for dissertation research. As an essential source, the collection is comprised of diverse resources from various perspectives for the methods and strategies to utilize the ...

  22. Components of Research Methodology

    3.1.14 Summary. The research components work together to form a comprehensive research methodology that guides the entire research process, from identifying the research problem to communicating the results. The specific components have been emphasized in the upcoming chapters.

  23. Research Methodology and Methods

    This chapter describes the design and implementation of the empirical phase of the study. It explores the research methodology and techniques used to collect empirical data. The remainder of this chapter is divided into seven sections. Section 4.2 presents different research methodologies and their relation to theory and research method ...