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This dissertation methodology example pdf might help you

First of all, let’s consider all the chapters of a dissertation. You can get more help by searching for this dissertation methodology example pdf.

However, before you read this it should be pointed out that the student who wrote it did not write in Standard English. He is a speaker of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), a non-native speaker of English. You will need to check with your tutor to find out if it is acceptable in your department to write in this way.

Many ELF speaking students find it difficult to write in Standard English, so some publishers and universities allow non-native speakers to write in a non-standard way, as long as the writing does not impede understanding, and the reader doesn’t have to spend a long time working out what the writer intends. As communication is all important, it can be acceptable to write in ELF as long as what is written is comprehensible.

There are other education establishments that are not so lenient, and so students need the services of editors and proof readers so that their dissertations are acceptable.

How to structure the chapters of your dissertation

Your abstract comes first and should be on a separate piece of paper.

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Of course, the sections are interconnected and should not be viewed as completely separate entities.

  • In the introduction you need to give the background to the study and the context in which your research is set. You also have to give your research hypothesis or state the problem you intend to research and say why it is important to study it.
  • The literature review comes next and here you basically have to show that you have read widely and thoroughly. You need to identify the major issues that are relevant to your study and give the historical background to your research area. Then discuss the current literature in the field.
  • The Methodology section is where you state the theories underpinning your research and explain why you have chosen to analyse your topic using a particular theory. This chapter attempts to answer the following questions:
  1. What was the research paradigm or philosophy that underpins the research?
  2. Which research methods were employed?
  3. How was your data collected?
  4. How did you analyse the data?
  • This section is relatively easy to write as you need to present the result of your research.
  • The analysis chapter is the one in which you present and interpret the data.
  • In this chapter you revisit your initial research questions or hypotheses and discuss how and if your research has answered them.
  • Here you need to give a summary of your research. You also need to specify what the strengths and limitations of your research are. Be self-critical.
  • Recommend or suggest what other researcher could do to follow up your study.

In the appendices you should include any questionnaire, or other instruments you used in your research. You need to supply your readers with sufficient information so that the study could be replicated, to verify it.

Quantitative research is the method used by mathematicians, scientists and so on. It is empirical research and makes use of statistics, both your new ones and pre-existing ones. Surveys, questionnaires and polls are commonly used in this type of research.

Qualitative research does not usually used statistics, or mathematics and was the kind of research carried out by students studying the humanities. Data collection, if there was any, was either semi-structured or even unstructured. For example, the data may have come from interviews or from observation, which may have been participant observation or non-participant observation. Technological advances helped enormously as observations could be recorded and videoed so that the research could be replicated by others.

The empiricists did not think that qualitative research was ‘proper’ research and it was seen as something of a ‘poor relation.’ Academics who worked in humanities departments were not happy with this. Finally, they realised that the empiricists had a point. This led to the mixed-methods approach to research, which, as the name suggests, combines qualitative and quantitative data. This solved the problem, although not everyone was happy about it.

Mixed methods or multi-methods research led to academics theorising in different ways about the nature of research and the methods employed. Because research now had to be underpinned by a relevant theory, academics began to develop new theories which could be used in their research. Typically, there are various types of data collected so that there can be triangulation and several researchers will be involved in the data collection so that triangulation can be achieved in this way too. Multiple perspectives are used so that there is also theory triangulation. The use of multiple methods to investigate a research problem also affords methodological triangulation.

An advocacy or participatory research approach can be liberating as it responds to individuals and groups needs and situations. Researchers might be actively involved, like some ethnographers, in the society they are studying, for example. The findings of this type of research are often more subjective than they are in other research.

Academics in humanities departments began to attempt to make their research more scientific and even borrowed theories in order to develop new ones that could be used. For example, James Gleick’s Complexity or Chaos Theory was adopted by Professor Diane Larsen-Freeman to underpin her research in Second Language Acquisition.

There came many new theories in the humanities as there became a need for more rigorous research and this new rigour needed theories, methods and approaches to underpin research. Here is a list of some of them: -

  • Chaos or Complexity Theory as mentioned above.
  • Socio-Cultural Cognitive Theory (Vygotsky)
  • Socio-Cultural Theory (James P. Lantolf)
  • The Identity Approach to second language learning (Bonnie Norton and Carolyn McKinney)
  • The Feminist Approach
  • Socio-Cognitive Theory (or Social Cognitive Theory)
  • Language Expectancy Theory (1970 Brooks) This was added to by Burgoon, Jones and Stewart in 1975.
  • Psycho-Linguistic Theory
  • Game Theory (John Nash and John von Neumann)
  • Conflict Theory
  • Symbolic Interaction Theory
  • Functionalist Theory (Emile Durkheim)
  • Critical Theory

It is not possible to give the full list of theories here, but there are a great many of them.

Chaos or complexity theory tries to understand simple systems that can and might change in sudden, unexpected and irregular ways. There is a subtle distinction between these two theories, as complexity theory focused its attention on complex systems which have many parts that interact and change in unexpected ways, giving rise to a new and unexpected order of the parts.

Vygotsky’s Socio-Cultural Cognitive theory is much used by humanities researchers as it concentrates on attempting to explain the influence society has on the individual and his or her development. Vygotsky believed that learning, at least by humans, is, on the whole, a social process. It was Vygotsky who developed the notion of the Zone of Proximal Development and scaffolding learners so that they can assimilate knowledge which builds upon what they have already learned.

Lantolf’s Socio-Cultural Theory has its roots in Vygotsky’s earlier work, developed shortly after the Russian Revolution. This theory is particularly useful to researchers who study second language learning (SLA).

The Identity Approach to research is interesting as it seeks to provide a comprehensive identity theory that melds the language learner with the wider social world. Language learners can, researcher argue, construct new and even multiple identities for themselves. These constructed identities are probably more desirable than their actual identities. They seek to address the inequalities of power that can leave language learners at a disadvantage which can affect the person’s ability to fully integrate with a target society. For example, if the learner is from a culture which is not regarded as equal or superior to that of the target culture or speakers of the target language, then they could feel inferior and become alienated from it. Such feelings are not conducive to learning.

The Feminist Approach was developed out of the Feminist Movement grew in response to the act that women were considered inferior to men. They had to fight for the right to vote, to work and compete with men on an equal footing in the workplace and the right to higher education in universities and colleges.

The women’s right movement in the USA began in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. It has been through various changes since it began with middle-class white women fighting for their rights. Basically, Feminist Theory has its roots in the works of Marx and Engels.

Socio-Cognitive Theory (SCT) is primarily used in communication studies, psychology and education. It emphasises the power of observation of others’ behaviour so that this leads people to guide their own later behaviours. One of the most influential works is that of Albert Bandura (1986).

Language Expectancy Theory is about communication strategies, changes in behaviour and attitudes.

Psycholinguistic Theory is used in teaching English as a foreign and second language. This theory is concerned with the processes, neurological and psychological that are needed to assist us to process language and learn new languages.

Game Theory is usually used in the fields of economics, psychology, political science and computer science. It’s basically about how we make decisions.

Conflict Theory arises from the works of Karl Marx. Marx believed that societies are in a state of conflict because of the need to compete for limited resources. He believed that it was dominance and power that holds a society together, not conformity and consensus. This theory maintains that those with the most power and dominance will do whatever they can to hold on to power. Because of the inequality inherent in society, existing conflicts bring about social change. Marx wrote about the inequality between the bourgeoisie and the working class. In other words, this theory has its roots in class conflict. He believed that if a society maintained its capitalist stance, history would repeat itself and so new class conflicts would arise. He believed that only by changing to a socialist society would this conflict cease.

Symbolic Interaction Theory or Social Interaction Theory is another sociological theory. This theory attempts to explain how we interact with each other to create symbolic worlds, and also how these symbolic worlds affect our behaviour.

Functionalist Theory suggests that society is made up of parts that are interconnected which work together in harmony so that society can maintain a state of equilibrium. This theory, generally attributed to Durkheim, is also based on the work of Talcott Parsons, Herbert Spencer and Robert Merton.

Critical Theory is a social and political philosophy generally attributed to the Frankfurt School and Karl Marx. It has been used in studies of literature, law, the social sciences and history.

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