Understanding dissertation methodology is a vital part of writing your dissertation. Without being able to use it properly, the basis of your dissertation will be weaker and not as comprehensive and cogent as it should be to get you the best grade possible. Put simply, your dissertation methodology is your explanation of the methods you used to find research for your dissertation; this can not be simply explained by “I was intrigued” or “I thought it might be interesting”, there has to be some academic basis in why you chose the methods that you did.
Once you fully understand methodology, it will become an important tool in supporting your argument and ensuring that it has authority behind it. This article will help break down the best ways to tackle it and how it should be addressed in your dissertation. Armed with this knowledge you will surely have no problems with making your dissertation the best that it can be. If you follow this breakdown then you will have no trouble understanding dissertation methodology in full.
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Now that you understand what methodology is, it’s time to think about it in relation to your dissertation. Think of your dissertation like a seat and your methodology is like the back of the seat that makes sure you don’t fall backwards when you sit down. You, therefore, shouldn’t see your methodology as a burden or a hinderance – it is a mean of supporting your argument and ensuring it has the backing to be convincing. You might be wondering, however, “how does this apply to me?” You may think that methodology and the methods connected to it is only useful for a science dissertation or a business dissertation. You’d be wrong.
Even if you are doing a dissertation on Hannibal’s impact on the western world via his war with the Roman Republic, then you can use methods to support that. For instance, you could conduct a survey asking how many people have heard of Hannibal today or have a focus group that discusses what they know about Hannibal and what they think his impact has been. Of course, you will do some form of methodology for a History dissertation even if you don’t conduct these suggested experiments – analysis of documents and interpretation of them is one of the methods used when writing your dissertation methodology so no matter what you decide to do, you will need to do some methodology.
As stated above, no matter what your course is, you will do some form of dissertation methodology to support your argument. This means you will need to consider what methods you need to choose to gain the data you need to support your argument. Here are some suggestions of the methods you could use to support your argument.
As I mentioned above, it is important to ensure that the evidence you use helps support your argument and is strong enough to stand up to criticism. This shouldn’t mean that evidence that doesn’t support your argument should be ignored. You shouldn’t try to set out to make sure that every piece of evidence you find rigidly fits into the central idea you are exploring this topic for your dissertation so you are bound to find conflicting opinions which disagree with your premise. It is therefore worth time thinking about what your methodology hopes to accomplish – you aren’t pursuing these particular research methods because you think they could be interesting, there must be an academic backbone to your case. It can be whether you wish to prove that Hannibal still has a profound effect on western civilisation or that you want to prove whether social media has a greater impact on the lives of teenagers than television – if you use the techniques suggested above then you will be certain to succeed. It is also worth pointing out that when doing your research, it is prudent to be selective. A lot of the information that you will find, whether through analytical research or through other methods will be surplus information that neither supports or works against your argument. Make sure that you are selective so that your dissertation isn’t bogged down with useless information. You may be tempted to fill up your wordcount but use it wisely – it’s better to have a strong argument that takes time to write rather than simply having an easy dissertation that you’ve filled up with irrelevant information.
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