Writing the PhD Dissertation’s Methodology Chapter- Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

The methodology chapter plays a pivotal role in your dissertation or thesis, serving as the platform for presenting the rationale and framework behind your study’s design. It reflects your grasp of research theory, influencing your academic evaluation.

With a wealth of experience in guiding countless students through this challenging phase of the research journey, we are here to offer valuable time-saving suggestions for crafting your research methodology chapter effectively.


Writing The Methodology Chapter: An Overview


1.      Develop A Dissertation Methodology Outline Before You Start Writing


Start writing your methodology by creating a preliminary outline before kicking off into the writing process.

This initial blueprint serves as a crucial guide, ensuring your focus remains steadfast and your work maintains a logical and cohesive structure.

Moreover, this preliminary step ensures that your focus stays maintained and establishes a coherent structure, ultimately streamlining your writing process.

When conducting dissertation research, you should opt for a holistic approach, starting from a high-level philosophical viewpoint and gradually delving into the practical details.

Before creating an outline, ponder over fundamental questions, such as:

  • What philosophical stance underpins your research: positivism, interpretivism, or pragmatism?
  • Does your research align with a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods approach?
  • Are you employing inductive or deductive reasoning in your study?

These questions should be your focal point, guiding you to establish a well-constructed line of argument that preserves both internal and external consistency within your chapter.

Keep in mind that it’s entirely normal to feel overwhelmed at the outset of your methodology chapter.

Embrace the learning curve that comes with new research efforts, as writing a dissertation or thesis is no small feat.


2.      Justify Every Choice Of Design You Make


In the methodology chapter, it’s crucial to remember that you must provide a solid rationale for every design decision you make, regardless of its apparent significance.

Many students tend to describe their actions without delving into the reasons behind them, and this oversight can lead to a deduction of marks.

Always keep in mind that you must showcase that your study’s methodology is strong and solid.

When you explain the “what,” “why,” and “how” of your decisions, you’re not just showing you understand research design but also proving how important and effective your methodology is; these two things really matter for getting a better score.


3.      Provide Citations To Support Each Design Choice


Using good academic references is really important to back up why you do things in your design. So, it’s not just about saying why you picked something; you need to show where you got that idea from, like from books and stuff.

In simple words, don’t leave your methods chapter without any references, just like your literature review. You’ve got to mention where you got all your ideas from because you’re building on what others have already found out. You need to prove that your choices are based on things that work, not just because you think they do.

When you’re picking where to get your references, stick to fancy academic papers and journals, and don’t use websites or blogs. Doing this will show that you know your stuff and that you care about what smart people say about your methods.

Here’s a tip: it’s a good idea to put in references as you’re writing. If you wait until the end, you’ll waste lots of time trying to find them, and you might even forget where they came from. So, be smart and add those references as you go.



4.      Take Inspiration From Other Dissertations And Research


Typically, you’ll come across a plethora of journal articles that share methodological similarities with your study.

If you’re lucky, you might also find dissertations and theses that delve into the same methodological terrain and subject matter as yours.

Drawing from these sources can be a valuable way to shape the content of your methodology chapter.

When it comes to deciding what to incorporate within your methodology chapter and what to relegate to the appendix, many students grapple with uncertainty.

Delving into similar studies can offer valuable insights into the established norms and characteristics of your academic discipline.

This insight will prove especially beneficial when determining the structure and depth of your discussion.

However, while you can certainly find inspiration in existing literature, it’s crucial to remain attuned to your university’s specific guidelines.

These guidelines provide essential insights into the department’s expectations regarding the layout and content of this section, making it easier for you to collaborate effectively with your supervisor.


5.      Lean Towards Providing Extra Detail.


Students frequently exhibit a tendency to offer a broad overview of their methodology rather than providing a meticulous, step-by-step breakdown.

Whether you’re conducting a qualitative or quantitative study, it’s vital to showcase the rigor in your research by emphasizing detailed explanations of the following:

  • Your sampling strategy.
  • The method(s) used for data collection.
  • How you prepared your data.
  • The technique(s) employed for analysis.

Keep in mind that during the editing process, your supervisor or reviewer might request substantial revisions.

Having more information than necessary can be immensely helpful in this regard. Some supervisors may demand an extensive focus on a particular aspect of your dissertation, such as your research philosophy, while others may not place as much emphasis on it.

Always remember that it’s easier and quicker to trim down or remove information if it’s deemed excessive than it is to add it later.

Take the time to demonstrate to your supervisor that you possess a strong grasp of your research methodology and are committed to maintaining a high level of quality throughout your research.




The methodology chapter is undeniably a critical component of any dissertation or thesis, and it plays an essential role in shaping the quality and credibility of your research.

The tips and tricks defined in this article offer valuable guidance for crafting an effective methodology chapter that not only meets academic standards but also showcases your expertise as a researcher.

Writing a methodology chapter may be challenging, but with the right approach, it becomes a rewarding journey toward producing robust and credible research.


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