Dissertation Methodology Help-Sample & Examples by UK, USA & Australia Experts
In the dissertation methodology section, you have to justify and explain your choice of methodologies employed in your research. But you don’t have to explain the methodological approaches that you could have taken. In other words, say why you chose the ones you have applied in your dissertation; don’t say why you did not choose the others that were at your disposal. It is mainly the way that you approach your question that directly affects the structure of your dissertation. This article is dedicated to the aspects of dissertation methodology along with a practical example. Here you will find everything you want to know about dissertation methodology .
Types of Methodology: Qualitative or Quantitative?
Dissertation can be based on qualitative or quantitative or on a combination of both. The choice depends on your preferences, abilities and suitability of your topic. You need to be careful with the type of methodology because you need to justify your choice in your dissertation.
- Quantitative data is particularly used when you intend to discover the common form of behavior such as illegal drug use in a certain age group.
- Qualitative data, on the other hand, is used when you want to know why people engage in such crime.
Condition 1: What if I want to discover about social trends or the measurable effects of particular policies?
In this scenario, you have to undertake quantitative data analysis. The approach towards the topic would be realist. When you write a quantitative dissertation, your dissertation length would be the lower end of the range of approved length for the dissertation (for example, if the approved length is 5,000–8,000 words, your dissertation would be nearer to 5,000 words in length). This also includes tables and figures with important findings.
Condition 2: What if I want to record people’s views and use it in favor of the research?
In this case, you have to use in-depth qualitative data. You have to adopt a realist, phenomenologist or a constructional approach to the topic. When you write a qualitative dissertation, it usually encompasses extracts from interviews, conversations and documents and field notes.
Condition 3: How can I combine quantitative and qualitative approaches together?
There are many ways in which quantitative and qualitative data can be combined. Here is one practical example for your reference:
You want to take quantitative approach to analysis the social trends and policy implications. However, you may want to introduce ‘human touch’ in it by taking several interviews of people to find out what these trends mean to them. After doing quantitative analysis, you should include a chapter on the qualitative data you have collected. In your discussions and findings, you can use the qualitative data to help understand the patterns in the quantitative analysis.
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Dissertation methodology is one of the pillars of a dissertation writing that decide the quality of a dissertation. Essentially, research design a.k.a. methodology is very important in conducting a good piece of work. There are several types of research designs that can be used while composing, but you need to select one research design and explain the reasons for your choice. For a student, it is sometimes hard to execute as he/she has the pressure of accomplishing a large amount of writing work. Hence, our custom dissertation writing services offer tailored dissertation help that allows you to have your dissertation methodology written by a Ph.D. qualified writer.
Methodology illustrates the way you approach your dissertation and aim to answer the dissertation questions. This way, your examiner can know how you got hold of the data, the sources of the information and lastly how you intend to analyze the data in later part of your dissertation. However, it is not easy to deal with. You need to take a serious endeavor to achieve success in your dissertation writing. Therefore, without taking risks, you need to consult an expert who has the experience to deal with the most difficult assignment writing.
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A sample dissertation methodology
Normally methodology chapter comes after introduction and literature review. At the beginning of the methodology chapter, you need to describe what the chapter is all about.
Dissertation Topic: An investigation on the nature and impact of national or local initiatives on geography teaching in schools under ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
Chapter 3: Methodology
This chapter is written with the purpose of describing and explaining the methodology deployed in this study.
Establishing the focus of the study
This was straightforward as it stemmed from my interest in geography as a school subject with ICT as a tool of teaching and learning.
Identifying the specific objectives of the study
Cohen and Manion (1994) identify the first stage in the research process as being identification and formulation of the ‘problem’. The problem identified is that despite statutory requirement in curriculum and governments initiatives to support the development of teachers skills and to provide curriculum materials, ‘the use of ICT is underdeveloped’ and ‘new technology is used effectively in geography in only three schools in three (Ofsted, 2001 a, p.1.)……
When, I started this work in January 1999, the Government announced details of NFO training (funded through proceeds from the National Lottery) to all teachers. After noticing this particularly interesting development that raised expectations for the integration of ICT in geography teaching, I determined that NOF training would become the focus of my research…..
Later you describe how other sources inspired you to choose the certain research angle. In this part, you also have to include information regarding your background study related to the subject.
Selecting the research method
With help from Johnson (1994, p. 174), I found that selecting the research methods was a crucial part in the research process. I decided to use a variety of complementary research methods that are mainly qualitative methods. I intended to project interviews with teachers and observations and examination of documentary evidence in order to form case studies, but with initial quantitative research to gather background evidence of the teachers’ experience and attitudes in order to set the scene.
Later you describe in what other ways you gathered your data to get better insights of the varied nature of the schools and reflect the individual perception and personal accounts of the teachers at the time of their NOF training.
Arranging research access
Through my work as Geography Adviser and as a member of the NOF Approved Training Provider, SIfT, I was ‘totally enmeshed in the subject’ of my research and ‘an active participant’ (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p. 11). My straight involvement allowed me to gain access to geography teachers. I gave out questionnaire to teachers, embarking on their NOF training with SIfT during the period September 2000 to April 2001. This work has been ‘affected by teachers’ own motivations and values’ (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p. 15). But it did not mean to investigate the quality of a single training provider, the SIfT schedule and materials, but the wider impact and strategies…….
Developing the research instrument
Three main research instruments were used during this work. One: questionnaires. The questionnaire was evolved after being trialed with a teacher who was not part of the sample. The questionnaires were designed to be simple, quick and easy for teachers to complete, with several questions involving a choice of tick boxes. Twenty-nine questionnaires were returned, so it was relatively a small sample. The questionnaire can be found in Appendix i.
The data from the answers of the questionnaires was collated and analyzed and the findings can be found in chapter four.
At the next stage, the research is to form the case studies. I decided to visit each of the six schools and interviewed one or two members of the geography department with a prolonged questionnaire....
Define more information about references related to data collection.
Collecting the data
Questionnaires were distributed to and collected from the teachers at the start of their NOF training, from September 2000 to April 2001. I thought it was important to record the experiences of prior to the start of their NOF training in order to collect information to provide the background to the case studies. The initial questionnaire was confidential, but teachers who were offering to take part in a follow up questionnaires and school visit were invited to give their names. The questionnaires provided a mixture of data. Some of the data was subsequently analyzed in quantitative way, through the background and experience of the teachers and the ICT resources according to their experiences.
Later in this paragraph, you can describe the period when the investigation took, and detailed information of the setting in which you conducted the interviews.
Pulling out of the investigative phase
The fieldwork period was the most significant part of the research and the part in which in which I found myself ‘investing most in the study, by the way of time and personal involvement’ (Johnson, 1994, p. 117). I intended to include six case studies at the beginning. However, because this stage is the most interesting and rewarding one, it was tempting to visit more schools, but time was limited. Each visit lasted on an average three hours including a general tour of the geography department, the interview, the classroom observation and talking to students…..
You can also involve your experience while talking to the teachers and their reactions in brief.
Ordering the data
All questionnaires were ‘collected and classified’ and kept for subsequent analysis and held on file after the research was complete, so that the researcher was ‘prepared to be accountable or investigations’ (Johnson, 1994, p. 179). I have taken help of interviews and classroom observations in order to write the field notes.
Analyzing the data
The data gathered from the answers of questionnaires and school visits are used to evaluate the specific experienced of some teachers in order to generalize the findings. The findings from my research are compared to findings from my background reading and of official reports, Ofshed and TTA. The initial questionnaires were analyzed and the data represented in chapter four in statistical and tabular format where appropriate. The data collected from interviews and classrooms observations during school visits form the basis of case studies partly through questions from teachers and to make recommendations that are mentioned in chapter five.
Writing it down
The aim of this stage was so that “the overall conclusions or ‘message’ of the research be summarized in an assimilable and memorable form” (Johnson, 1994, p. 179) and to communicate ‘the researchers empirical experience’ to a wider audience (Johnson, 1994, p.180). The case studies on Chapter Four are ‘ideally suited to the needs and resources of the small scale researcher.’ (Blaxter et. al. 1999, p.66).
It was important to research to an aspect of education that was topical and relevant to today’s teachers. It was a significant part of the research process that the findings and recommendations be made should be relevant and effective to a wider audience of teachers. I feel that we have a ‘duty to make dissemination possible’ (Johnson, 1994, p.180) to the rest of the SifT Geography team in order to take it to a refiner level and implement strategies for future development.
The above is a full-length example of dissertation methodology. The length of a methodology solely depends on the nature and factors related to the topic.
Tips for Writing a Dissertation Methodology
- Problem: Define and explain the problems you seek to address
- Approach: Give an overview of your approach of primary research in order to guide the readers through your methodology
- Reproducibility: Reflect the results of the experiment from the collected data in a proper scientific method
- Precedence: Find out whether your research methodology is a typical comparable research project within your particular subject area
- Justification: It is very important that you explain the reasons of choosing certain research methodology for your dissertation writing
- Rationale: Critically evaluate the alternate approaches in order to defend the methods you have finally chosen. Do not forget to weigh up pros and cons of all relevant approaches
- Reliability and validity: Before choosing an approach, you should consider all types of research; the issues of validity and reliability must be explicitly discussed
- Generalization: Include a section in your methodology which directly questions how far the data obtained through your approach can be generalized
- Appendix: Attach the relevant material at the end of your dissertation. Copies of questionnaires and other methodologies material should be usually placed in the chapter of appendix.
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Dissertation Methodology – Impact of Technology on Recruitment
John | June 26, 2017
WritePass - Essay Writing - Dissertation Topics [TOC]
Dissertation examples – Dissertation Methodology – FREE WRITEPASS ESSAYS
The following article is a sample dissertation methodology on the following dissertation topic: Impact of Technology on Recruitment in UK Retail Banks.
A case study of Lloyds Banking Group:
The methodology depicts a mixed method research, using quantitative surveys and semi structured interviews.
Based on Saunder’s Research Onion.
a. Research Philosophy – Dissertation Examples
The social world of banks and graduates upon which this study is based exists externally and are not related to the researcher; therefore they would be measured through objective methods rather than being inferred subjectively through reflection, sensation or intuition (Easterby-Smith, 2002). This study would therefore adopt a positivist approach as credible data could only be derived through quantitative analysis of phenomena observed (Saunders et al,2007). The social interpretivism philosophy, which aims to study and reflect on the inner feelings of participants, is not being utilized in this study, due to the study’s research objective, which is to ascertain the effectiveness of online recruitment in an organization. Details regarding effectiveness are measured using objective means (such as increase in candidate application and reduction in costs), thereby warranting a positivist approach.
b. Research approach
Due to the positivist nature of the research, this study would adopt a deductive approach (Saunders et al, 2007). This approach represents the most common view of the relationship between theory and research and results gotten from this approach are developed through logical reasoning (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The data findings would be compared against existing literature to ascertain if they concur with what has already been published in the field of online recruitment.
The ability to gather primary data during this study was dependent on gaining access to an appropriate source within the organization. The level to which this source is appropriate relies on the research question, related objectives and research designs (Saunders et al, 2007). Therefore, the researcher, as a friend of an employee within the organization, was in a favorable position to get access within the organization.
I contacted a friend of mine who currently works within graduate recruitment at Lloyds TSB, and discussed the prospects of my dissertation. She spoke to several of her colleagues on my behalf and they agreed for me to conduct telephone interviews with 4 members of the graduate recruitment team, some of which had been there for an average of 5 – 10 years (reasons expatiated further in this chapter). Due to the non-intrusive nature of my research, there were no objections or limitations raised by the participants with regards to the questions asked or the purpose of the study.
d. Research Strategy
This study would adopt a case study strategy in answering the research question. Robson (2002) asserts that the case study strategy would be useful if the aim of the study is to gain a rich understanding of the research perspective and the process being endorsed. Therefore as this study aims to understand the recruitment process within Lloyds TSB and also any benefits associated with online recruitment, a case study would be most effective.
Two separate yet parallel approaches would be utilized in this study, and are outlined in the table 1 below.
Table 1: Research Strategy
|STRATEGY||AIM||SAMPLE||TYPE OF QUESTIONS||METHOD OF ANALYSIS|
|1. Quantitative questionnaire||Quantify graduates’ perception of what constitutes an effective recruitment platform||10 graduates who have applied to one or more organizations through their online system.||Closed rating scale questions, and nominal data.||Descriptive analysis (bar chart, pie chart and line charts).|
|2. Qualitative semi-structured interviews||This was done in order to ascertain the benefits associated with online recruitment.||4 members of the recruitment staff within Lloyds TSB, who have been in the organization for more than 5 years||Structured questionnaires. Open questions||Content analysis|
i. Quantitative Questionnaire
Quantitative methods are mainly used in the data collection process of research. It involves data that is either in the form of, or expressed as numbers (Easterby-Smith et al, 2008). The quantitative questionnaires were handed out to 10 graduates and undergraduates. The questionnaire was mainly designed with rating scale questions, where respondents were asked to state their opinion or preference for a particular question on a scale of 1 – 5. Secondary nominal data was also included in order to ascertain the respondent’s status, application activity and preference. The quantitative questionnaire distributed to respondents is outlined in appendix. Quantitative questionnaires are useful as the results derived are quantifiable and measurable against other variables in an objective manner (Saunders et al, 2007).
ii. Qualitative Semi Structured Interviews
Following the access grant to four members of the recruitment team within the organization, 15 – 20 minute qualitative telephone interviews were carried out. A semi-structured interview is a qualitative interview that is defined by a pre-set question guide. It aims to provide in-depth findings through informal discussions with participants (Collis and Hussey, 2003). This interview method was chosen over unstructured or structured interviews, because this study intends to answer the research questions by asking specific questions, but not so much (unstructured) that it generates useless data, and not so less (structured) so as not to miss out on any unanticipated information.
The interview questions in the semi-structured interview are in appendix. The themes utilized in this study were derived mainly from the literature review and were crucial in developing the questions that were raised during the study. The semi-structured approach also provided the researcher with the ability to probe answers. Answer probing was particularly useful in responses whereby more explanation was needed in order to fully understand the answers. Due to the recent adaptation of online recruitment, the semi structured interviews was targeted at members of the team who had witnessed or orchestrated the shift towards online recruitment, that way these respondents would be better able to answer questions that relate to the comparison of both methods.
Also, members of the online recruitment team being interviewed had different positions within recruitment and handled separate tasks. The questionnaires were given to them beforehand, when the approval was first sought, and each respondent chose the questions that they were more qualified to respond to. Therefore the research was such that all respondents answered some questions, while some others were answered by a particular individual because of their knowledge of that process. Table 2 outlines the respondent details and their interview theme.
Table 2: Interview Respondents and Questions asked
|Respondent||FictionalName||Role||Years in Lloyds||Subjects Covered|
|R1||Alice||Graduate Events Manager||2||Effectiveness, Disadvantages|
|R2||Martha||Application Review||7||Background, Adoption, Effectiveness, Disadvantages|
|R3||Nick||Finance and Budgeting||9||Adoption, Effectiveness, Efficiency|
|R4||Chloe||Media Advertisement||3||Effectiveness, Advertisement|
Each respondent were asked for their consent to interview, prior to the interview sessions, and also requested not to have their names mentioned so as to prevent any form of organizational backlash if the contents of the study were interpreted in any other non-academic form, and distributed. They have therefore been given fictional names, so as to make the research more readable.
e. Data Collection
i. Sampling Method
Based on the research objectives and the issues to be investigated, it would have been most appropriate if all recruitment staffs within the organization were interviewed. However, due to the time constraints and resource limitations inherent in this study, a non-probability sample of the population was selected. Saunders et al (2007) asserts that a non-probability sample is most often used when adopting a case study strategy. A non-probability sample, as described by (Oppenheim, 2000), is a sample in which the probability of each case being selected from the total population is not known.
The samples of graduates that were chosen to partake in the quantitative study are too small to constitute a probability sample of graduates within London or UK. Also, the number of employees within Lloyds who took part in the qualitative study was not high enough to constitute a significant portion of the recruitment department within Lloyds TSB. Therefore the study focused more on the quantitative facts of the perception of recruitment within the organization, as opposed to theories expressed in the literature review, and what graduates on the outside thought of online recruitment.
ii. Primary Data Collection
In collecting data that could be analysed using quantitative means, Easterby-Smith et al (2008) claims that researchers could collect either primary or secondary data. He further claims that though each of these means have their merits and demerits, the collection of one’s own data gives control over the structure of the sample and the data obtained from each respondent. It also gives greater confidence that the data collected would match the research objectives.
The researcher therefore chose to collect primary data from 20 graduates using questionnaires distributed-in-person to each respondent. This was done amongst friends and colleagues within the university who have utilized online recruitment systems. Data from the semi-structured interviews would be collected using a tape recorder, and the conversations with all four employees would be transcribed word for word, and expression for expression. The advantages inherent in this approach is that it allows the researcher to document and see patterns in words and emotions that would not be available if other forms of interviews were conducted.
f. Analysis of Research Findings
i. Quantitative Data
The quantitative data collected during the course of this study, whilst still in its raw form, is described by Saunders et al (2007) as being useless and conveying little information to most people. Univariates, which are total sample distributions of one variable at a time (Oppenheim, 2005) was utilised in analysing the frequency and percentage occurrence of each variable; including both ordinal and nominal, category and rating scale questions. However an indepth correlation or bivariate analysis was not conducted due to the low number of graduate respondents, and also due to the fact that the study was mainly concerned with the viewpoint of the organization, and not necessarily that of the graduates. Results would be analysed using Excel and graphs would be drawn out to analyse all data with the aim of comparing them to the qualitative study.
ii. Qualitative Data
Yin (2002) suggests that in studies whereby the research question has been formulated based on the literature review; these theories that have been used in the postulation of the research question could also be used in analyzing the findings. Thereby suggesting that a deductive approach to data analysis would be essential for theoretical driven studies.
Based on these arguments, this study analyzed the qualitative findings using deductive methods. The findings from each respondent and questionnaire theme were analyzed according to the literature review topics discussed. In the instance whereby different respondents had something to say about a particular issue, all their opinions were recorded and taking into consideration in the analysis of findings. A fact sheet of all findings according to the theory is illustrated in chapter 4. Full transcripts of the interview are in the appendix.
The pattern matching procedure, as postulated by Saunders et al, (2007), would be utilized in this deductive analysis. It involves predicting a pattern of outcomes based on theoretical propositions. These propositions are thereby analyzed in the data analysis process. This procedure involves the development of an analytical framework, utilizing existing theory, and then testing the adequacies of the framework as a means of explaining the findings (Saunders et al, 2007). In the instance where a pattern is found as initially predicted, it would be evidence that suggests that there is indeed an explanation for findings.
Blumberg, et al (2005) describes ethics as referring to the appropriateness of one’s behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of a research project. A number of ethical issues have been identified and raised with respect to this study. The issues, and steps taken to alleviate such issues are discussed below:
- The company may be secretive about some aspects of its online recruitment, such as the quantity of graduates and marketing techniques to attract graduates, which it may not like its competitors to know about.
- Employees responding to semi structured interviews may not be so willing to discuss their personal opinion of the bank’s recruitment system, or the quality of graduates received through their channels, in case their response does not really conform to the brand and reputation that the organization is trying to build (for instance, the bank may pose as an equal opportunity organization that employs from diverse backgrounds, whereas they mostly only recruit students from top Oxbridge universities with a certain background). Information such as this could pose difficulties if the bank eventually decides to broaden its pool of candidates and employ people from varying backgrounds.
Apart from these ethical considerations, no other ethical dilemmas have been found with relation to this essay. Therefore, in order to alleviate these issues, the questionnaire and interviews would be designed in such a way that it does not offend, harm, provoke or stress any of the participants in any way. Questions asked would be non-instrusive as no personal information about names; age or post would be requested. Information about specific applicant quality and demographics of applicants’ recruitment would not be sought.
Also, in terms of graduate questionnaires that have been distributed, some candidates may think that answering these questions and including personal details may impede or even benefit them when applying to said organizations. Therefore the questionnaires would fully state that it is an academic research and in no way constitutes a study conducted by the organization.
- The major limitation of this research would be gaining access to graduates who have gone through online recruitment systems and applied specifically to Lloyds TSB. Graduates that have applied to the bank are diverse both in culture and geography. Therefore this study would be limited in not being able to survey a probability sample of graduates who have either used online recruitment or specifically applied to Lloyds TSB in the past.
- The willingness and capacity of staff to answer questions with relation to graduate recruitment is also impeded. Some staff may not be willing to discuss sensitive issues such as their views, some may be unwilling to discuss online recruitment in any capacity to an external researcher such as myself, while some may not have the relevant experience required to answer most of the questions raised in this study. Therefore the list of participants has been limited to 4, which in no way represents a probability sample of the recruitment workforce within the organization.
- There is also a secondary limitation with regards to the experience of those staff that participate in the interviews. The ideal participants would typically have been working in recruitment for over 10 years, and would have witnessed and participated in the transition from traditional to online recruitment within the organization. However, only two of the participants answering this questionnaire are ‘ideal candidates’, the other 2 have been working within recruitment over the past 2 – 3 years and were in no capacity to discuss the transition between traditional and online recruitment. However, their views were still helpful and contributed significantly to the findings of this study.
- This study did not incorporate recent events such as the merger between Lloyds TSB and HBOS. It also did not include the recent government bailout and financial crisis affecting most UK financial institutions. This information could have impacted on the quality of graduate applications that the organization received within the past 3 years, and could pose a shortfall in the information gathered. However, including this information would have extended the limits of the study, beyond the word count and capacity currently accepted.
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