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Writing a methodology section

External secondary data research — represents a study that uses existing data on a certain research subject from government statistics, published market research reports from different organizations, international agencies such as IMF, World Bank, etc. Primary data Primary data represent data originated for the specific purpose of the study, with its research questions. The methods vary on how Authors and Researchers conduct an experiment, survey or study, but, in general, it uses a particular scientific method.

This type of study uses deductive reasoning and established theories as a foundation for the hypotheses that will be tested and explained. Qualitative research or interpretative research focuses on analytically disclosing certain practices or behaviors, and then showing how these behaviors or practices can be grouped or clustered to lead to observable outcomes.

This type of research is more subjective in nature, and requires careful interpretation of the variables. Readers need to understand how the information was gathered or generated in a way that is consistent with research practices in a field of study. For instance, if you are using a multiple choice survey, the readers need to know which questionnaire items you have examined in your primary quantitative research.

Similarly, if your academic article involves secondary data from FED or Eurostat it is important to mention the variables used in your study, their values, and their time-frame. For primary research, that involve surveys, experiments or observations, for a valuable academic article, Authors should provide information about:. In most cases, there is a wide variety of methods and procedures that you can use to explore a research topic in your academic article. The methods section should fully explain the reasons for choosing a specific methodology or technique.

For secondary research methods, describe how the data was originally created, gathered and which institution created and published it. For this aspect that characterizes a good research methodology, indicate how the research approach fits with the general study , considering the literature review outline and format , and the following sections.

A common limitation of academic articles found in research papers is that the premises of the methodology are not backed by reasons on how they help achieve the aims of the article. Data Analysis Methods This section should also focus on information on how you intend to analyze your results. Describe how you plan and intend to achieve an accurate assessment of the hypotheses, relationships, patterns, trends, distributions associated with your data and research purpose.

The data type, how it was measured, and which statistical tests were conducted and performed, should be detailed and reported in an accurate manner. There are certain aspects that you need to pay extra attention in relation to your research methodology section.

The most common issues to avoid are:. This blog series focuses on useful academic writing tips. Next, we discuss empirical analysis and results. Azevedo, L. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers , pp. Structuring Your Research Thesis. Methods Section. Writing Center. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, , pp. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them! Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods. There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world.

Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce.

Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem. This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory.

Reynolds, R. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics. Part 1, Chapter 3. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom. Methods and the Methodology. Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology. Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used. This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands. The Methodology. Search this Guide Search. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper Offers detailed guidance on how to develop, organize, and write a college-level research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Abstract Executive Summary 4. The Introduction The C. The Discussion Limitations of the Study 9. The Conclusion Appendices Importance of a Good Methodology Section You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons: Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper.

Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings. In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique.

The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from. The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings.

The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings. In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized.

Structure and Writing Style I. Groups of Research Methods There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences: The e mpirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences. This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured.

The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation. The i nterpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way. Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes.

Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge. Content The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following: Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined, Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables, The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should: Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem. Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both mixed method? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?

Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design. Your methods for gathering data should have a clear connection to your research problem.

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Data collection methods refers to the general mode of the instruments: surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, neuroimaging, cognitive tests, and so on. Summarize exactly how you collected the necessary data. Describe all procedures you applied in administering surveys, tests, physical recordings, or imaging devices, with enough detail so that someone else can replicate your techniques.

If your procedures are very complicated and require long descriptions e. To report research design, note your overall framework for data collection and analysis. Also note whether a between-subjects or a within-subjects design was used.

Describe whether any masking was used to hide the condition assignment e. Using masking in a multi-group study ensures internal validity by reducing bias. Explain how this masking was applied and whether its effectiveness was assessed. Participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental condition. To begin, all participants were given the AAI and a demographics questionnaire to complete, followed by an unrelated filler task.

In the control condition , participants completed a short general knowledge test immediately after the filler task. In the experimental condition, participants were asked to visualize themselves taking the test for 3 minutes before they actually did. For more details on the exact instructions and tasks given, see supplementary materials.

In the between-subjects experimental design, the independent variable was whether the visualization intervention was applied and the dependent variable was the difference in test scores between conditions. Data diagnostics Outline all steps taken to scrutinize or process the data after collection. To ensure high validity, you should provide enough detail for your reader to understand how and why you processed or transformed your raw data in these specific ways.

The methods section is also where you describe your statistical analysis procedures, but not their outcomes. Their outcomes are reported in the results section. These procedures should be stated for all primary, secondary, and exploratory hypotheses. This annotated example reports methods for a descriptive correlational survey on the relationship between religiosity and trust in science in the US.

Hover over each part for explanation of what is included. Example of an APA methods section Methods. The sample included adults aged between 18 and Ethics approval was obtained from the university board before recruitment began.

We selected for a geographically diverse sample within the Midwest of the US through an initial screening survey. The primary outcome measures were the levels of religiosity and trust in science. Religiosity refers to involvement and belief in religious traditions, while trust in science represents confidence in scientists and scientific research outcomes. The secondary outcome measures were gender and parental education levels of participants and whether these characteristics predicted religiosity levels.

Religiosity was measured using the Centrality of Religiosity scale Huber, The Likert scale is made up of 15 questions with five subscales of ideology, experience, intellect, public practice, and private practice. The internal consistency of the instrument is.

Trust in Science. Four Likert scale items were assessed on a scale from 1 completely distrust to 5 completely trust. Potential participants were invited to participate in the survey online using Qualtrics www. The survey consisted of multiple choice questions regarding demographic characteristics, the Centrality of Religiosity scale, an unrelated filler anagram task, and finally the General Trust in Science index.

The filler task was included to avoid priming or demand characteristics, and an attention check was embedded within the religiosity scale. For full instructions and details of tasks, see supplementary materials. For this correlational study , we assessed our primary hypothesis of a relationship between religiosity and trust in science using Pearson moment correlation coefficient. The statistical significance of the correlation coefficient was assessed using a t test.

To test our secondary hypothesis of parental education levels and gender as predictors of religiosity, multiple linear regression analysis was used. In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used. 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. I am a student and am writing an APA style research paper for my class. My instructor wants our views on where we stand after reviewing scholarly articles.

We need to develop pros and cons and then say why we believe How do I do this without using "I" statements? I'm confused about this and would appreciate any guidance. Thank you. In APA Style, you actually should use the first person "I" when referring to your own ideas, actions, and opinions.

Avoiding the first-person voice is a somewhat old-fashioned practice that APA no longer recommends. However, if your instructor still requires you to avoid "I," you can read more here about ways of doing so. Say goodbye to inaccurate citations! Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. What is your plagiarism score?

Compare your paper with over 60 billion web pages and 30 million publications. This part of your method section should also explain how many participants were assigned to each condition and how they were assigned to each group. Were they randomly assigned to a condition, or was some other selection method used? It is also important to explain why your participants took part in your research.

Was your study advertised at a college or hospital? Did participants receive some type of incentive to take part in your research? Information on participants helps other researchers understand how your study was performed, how generalizable the result might be, and allows other researchers to replicate the experiment with other populations to see if they might obtain the same results.

Describe the materials, measures, equipment, or stimuli used in the experiment. This may include testing instruments, technical equipment, or other materials used during the course of research. If you used some type of psychological assessment or special equipment during the course of your experiment, it should be noted in this part of your method section.

For example: "Two stories from Sullivan et al. For standard equipment such as computers, televisions, and videos, you can simply name the device and not provide further explanation. So if you used a computer to administer a psychological assessment, you would need to identify the specific psychological assessment used, but you could simply state that you used a computer to administer the test rather than listing the brand and technical specifications of the device.

Specialized equipment, especially if it is something that is complex or created for a niche purpose, should be given greater detail. In some instances, such as if you created a special material or apparatus for your study, you may need to provide an illustration of the item that can be included in your appendix and then referred to in your method section.

Describe the type of design used in the experiment. Specify the variables as well as the levels of these variables. Clearly identify your independent variables , dependent variables , control variables, and any extraneous variables that might influence your results. Explain whether your experiment uses a within-groups or between-groups design.

For example: "The experiment used a 3x2 between-subjects design. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs. The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Explain what you had participants do, how you collected data, and the order in which steps occurred. For example: "An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average.

The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded. Keep this subsection concise yet detailed. Explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

The method section is one of the most important components of your APA format paper. The goal of your paper should be to clearly detail what you did in your experiment. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your study if they wanted. Finally, if you are writing your paper for a class or for a specific publication, be sure to keep in mind any specific instructions provided by your instructor or by the journal editor. Your instructor may have certain requirements that you need to follow while writing your method section.

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See our editorial policies for a full explanation of acknowledgements and authorship criteria. You can add institution or country information for each author if you wish, but this should be consistent across all authors. Please note that individual names may not be present in the PubMed record at the time a published article is initially included in PubMed as it takes PubMed additional time to code this information.

You may choose to use this section to include any relevant information about the author s that may aid the reader's interpretation of the article, and understand the standpoint of the author s. This may include details about the authors' qualifications, current positions they hold at institutions or societies, or any other relevant background information.

Please refer to authors using their initials. Note this section should not be used to describe any competing interests. Footnotes can be used to give additional information, which may include the citation of a reference included in the reference list. They should not consist solely of a reference citation, and they should never include the bibliographic details of a reference.

They should also not contain any figures or tables. Footnotes to the text are numbered consecutively; those to tables should be indicated by superscript lower-case letters or asterisks for significance values and other statistical data. Footnotes to the title or the authors of the article are not given reference symbols. See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice. Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript.

They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. Accessed 20 May If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.

Meat consumption and mortality - results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Medicine. Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. Dig J Mol Med. Functional asplenia: demonstration of splenic activity by bone marrow scan. Blood ;59 Suppl Cell death: the significance of apoptosis. International review of cytology. London: Academic; Saito Y, Hyuga H. Rate equation approaches to amplification of enantiomeric excess and chiral symmetry breaking.

Top Curr Chem. Blenkinsopp A, Paxton P. Symptoms in the pharmacy: a guide to the management of common illness. Oxford: Blackwell Science; Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. Accessed 15 Jan Healthwise Knowledgebase.

US Pharmacopeia, Rockville. Accessed 21 Sept Title of supplementary material. Accessed 22 Feb Doe, J: Title of preprint. Accessed 25 Dec Accessed 12 Nov Genome data from sweet and grain sorghum Sorghum bicolor. GigaScience Database.

See General formatting guidelines for information on how to format figures, tables and additional files. Submit manuscript. Speed days to first decision for reviewed manuscripts only 87 days to first decision for all manuscripts days from submission to acceptance 24 days from acceptance to publication Citation Impact 2.

Skip to main content. Search all BMC articles Search. Submission Guidelines Aims and scope Fees and funding Language editing services Copyright Preparing your manuscript Research Methodology Protocol Commentary Letter Systematic review update Prepare supporting information Conditions of publication Editorial policies Peer-review policy Manuscript transfers Promoting your publication Methodology Criteria Methodologies should present a new experimental or computational method, test or procedure.

Preparing your manuscript The information below details the section headings that you should include in your manuscript and what information should be within each section. Title page The title page should: present a title that includes, if appropriate, the study design e. The abstract must include the following separate sections: Background: the context and purpose of the study Methods: how the study was performed and statistical tests used Results: the main findings Conclusions: brief summary and potential implications Trial registration: If your article reports the results of a health care intervention on human participants, it must be registered in an appropriate registry and the registration number and date of registration should be in stated in this section.

If it was not registered prospectively before enrollment of the first participant , you should include the words 'retrospectively registered'. See our editorial policies for more information on trial registration Keywords Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.

Background The Background section should explain the background to the study, its aims, a summary of the existing literature and why this study was necessary or its contribution to the field. Methods The methods section should include: the aim, design and setting of the study the characteristics of participants or description of materials a clear description of all processes, interventions and comparisons. Generic drug names should generally be used.

When proprietary brands are used in research, include the brand names in parentheses the type of statistical analysis used, including a power calculation if appropriate Results This should include the findings of the study including, if appropriate, results of statistical analysis which must be included either in the text or as tables and figures. Discussion This section should discuss the implications of the findings in context of existing research and highlight limitations of the study.

Conclusions This should state clearly the main conclusions and provide an explanation of the importance and relevance of the study reported. List of abbreviations If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.

Declarations All manuscripts must contain the following sections under the heading 'Declarations': Ethics approval and consent to participate Consent for publication Availability of data and materials Competing interests Funding Authors' contributions Acknowledgements Authors' information optional Please see below for details on the information to be included in these sections.

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article [and its supplementary information files]. Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study. The data that support the findings of this study are available from [third party name] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available.

Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [third party name]. Not applicable. If your manuscript does not contain any data, please state 'Not applicable' in this section. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures.

The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. NOTE: An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional approach to doing the method; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall research process.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i. A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources.

The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources. Azevedo, L. Structuring Your Research Thesis.

Methods Section. Writing Center. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. Department of Biology. Bates College. Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them! Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression.

A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed. Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods.

There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world.

Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce. Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem.

This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory. Reynolds, R. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics. Part 1, Chapter 3. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. The Methodology Search this Group Search. Organizing Academic Research Papers: 6. The Methodology. The Conclusion Toggle Dropdown Appendices Importance of a Good Methodology Section You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons: Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you choose affects the results and, by extension, how you likely interpreted those results.

Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and it misappropriates interpretations of findings. In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem.

Your methodology section of your paper should make clear the reasons why you chose a particular method or procedure. The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from.

The research method must be appropriate to the objectives of the study. For example, be sure you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings. The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that did arise, you must describe the ways in which their impact was minimized or why these problems do not affect the findings in any way that impacts your interpretation of the data.

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Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose. Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.

A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources. Azevedo, L. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers , pp. Structuring Your Research Thesis.

Methods Section. Writing Center. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, , pp. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. Department of Biology. Bates College. Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them! Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests.

A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods. There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world.

Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce. Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem.

This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory. Reynolds, R. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics. Part 1, Chapter 3. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom. Methods and the Methodology. Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology.

Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used. This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands. The Methodology. Search this Guide Search. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper Offers detailed guidance on how to develop, organize, and write a college-level research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Abstract Executive Summary 4. The Introduction The C. The Discussion Limitations of the Study 9.

The Conclusion Appendices Importance of a Good Methodology Section You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons: Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper. Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings.

In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique. The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from.

The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings. The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.

In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized. Structure and Writing Style I. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs.

The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Explain what you had participants do, how you collected data, and the order in which steps occurred. For example: "An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average.

The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded. Keep this subsection concise yet detailed. Explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

The method section is one of the most important components of your APA format paper. The goal of your paper should be to clearly detail what you did in your experiment. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your study if they wanted. Finally, if you are writing your paper for a class or for a specific publication, be sure to keep in mind any specific instructions provided by your instructor or by the journal editor.

Your instructor may have certain requirements that you need to follow while writing your method section. Ever wonder what your personality type means? Sign up to find out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter. American Psychological Association. Published Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th ed. Table of Contents View All. Table of Contents. Additional Tips.

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