The methodology chapter flows organically from the literature review. This means that at this stage you should have reviewed the literature in your field of study, analysed research that has been conducted and highlighted how it was conducted. In turn, this should reflect the foundation of your own project as you will have to link it to your chosen research method.
The methodology chapter also involves describing your method in detail and justifying the approach you are going to adopt, taking into consideration the limitations and ethical implications of your model. Your description should be detailed enough that someone reading your methodology can recreate your approach.
Therefore, the methodology requires you to:
In order to appreciate what methods are, let us remember what research is about. Research can be summarised into three points (Cottrell, 2014, p9):
Methods of arriving at an answer
Thus, methods are the means to research and answer the research question, or test the hypothesis. Methods include techniques and procedures used to obtain and analyse data (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2015, p4). Your methods can consist of primary and secondary sources, qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, as illustrated in this guide.
Methodology is sometimes used interchangeably with methods, or as the set of methods used in a research. More specifically, as the name would suggest, methodo-logy is the logos, the reasoning, on the methods. It is also referred to as the theory of how research should be undertaken (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2015, p4). This is why you normally would have a methodology, rather than methods, chapter in a dissertation.
We hope this guide will be helpful, but it is of fundamental importance that you also use a research methods book (or other authoritative source) for your discipline. The book will guide you on best methods for your research, give you practical guidance, and present critical insights and limitations of the methods.