5 Must-Know Things About Dissertation Research Methods
The research method you choose for your dissertation is a very important matter. Most academic papers of this size have a chapter that is called Methodology and is meant to explain which methods you have chosen and for which reasons. That’s why you should give this choice a lot of attention.
There are several main things you should keep in mind about dissertation research methods:
- There are quantitative, qualitative and mixed research projects. Your one definitely belongs to one of these types.
- When you are choosing the method for your own project, you can resort to academic, practical, and, what’s more, personal reasons.
- Quantitative methods are based on statistic analysis. Such methods mean giving answers to questions that have been set forth earlier, creation of a strategy, coming to conclusions after results are received, etc. If you choose such methods, you are supposed to evaluate the quality of your arguments from the point of view of their reliability. Conclusions are represented in the form of graphics or schemes. Such methods are often used for projects in the sphere of science.
- Qualitative projects often use such methods as interviews, observations over focus groups, etc. They have a specific approach to the very process of exploration of the subject, development of the theory, choice of the strategy that will be used in the further study, and so on. These methods are characteristic for social studies and humanities. If your project is qualitative, you are supposed to involve field studies of people in their natural environment, represent and discuss your conclusions on the base of thematic explorations, narrations, observation, etc.
- Mixed methods are able to take advantage of the previous two together. That is, if you use them, you gather qualitative and quantitative data and then analyze and interpret it either separately or all together. You can do your subject investigation in more than only one phase. For instance, you can do some qualitative study to discover the matter and then move to the quantitative investigation to measure the relations between subjects. However, at this point, you need to mind serious drawbacks of such a method. Qualitative and quantitative analysis are quite different due to their approach to the subject. So, getting down to your project, you need to make sure whether qualitative or quantitative components are more important for your investigation, and whether it’s necessary to analyze the data separately or keep it together. In any case, if you are not sure about the usage of mixed methods, ask your supervisor for a consultation.