It is crucial to correlate your chosen research methods with your research questions and/or hypotheses when describing and explaining them in your academic paper. Moreover, in the description of the study’s methods, there should be enough details so that other researchers can replicate the results or at least repeat the study under similar conditions. Further, each stage of your research should be explained and justified with clear information regarding why you used those specific methods to address your research question. This is the research methodology section in which you, as the researcher, discuss the rationale behind your research paper. The following questions should be your focus:
- What is the method by which you collected or generated the data?
- What methods did you employ in your research?
- What is the reason for choosing this method and technique?
- When analyzing the research question or problem, how did you apply these methods?
In answering these questions, ensure that your responses are clear and precise and that your answers are written in the past tense. Now let’s clarify the difference between research methods and research methodologies.
Research Methods vs. Research Methodology
When you’re an Academic and a researcher of high-quality research papers, it’s vital that you don’t mix up these two terms.
A research method is a set of techniques or tools that are used for conducting research, regardless of whether it is conducted in the physical or social sciences or any other discipline.
Research methodology is a way to analyze the various methods by which a researcher approaches his research problems systematically, along with the logical arguments, assumptions, and justification behind his approach.
The researcher must always explain why they prefer a particular method over others when selecting a research method. This question is addressed by the methodology.
How to write an effective methodology section
It is important to include a methodology section in your paper for credibility and for the appearance of a professional academic writing style.
It is important that readers, academics, and other researchers know how the information you used was gathered. You will interpret your discoveries differently depending on the research methods that you used to collect data and create them.
The following are the most common methods of collecting data:
Secondary data is publicly available information that others have gathered. Obtaining them is usually inexpensive or free, and they can support a variety of research projects – if you know where to find them and how to appraise their value.
In other words, secondary data is information that was gathered or collected for purposes beyond the purpose of your academic paper. This type of data is already available, in various forms, from different sources.
The primary data are those gathered for a specific purpose and with a specific research question. Research or experiments are conducted in various ways by researchers, but generally, they follow a particular scientific method. Moreover, there are many methods of collecting primary data, and depending on the type and depth of the information needed, the methods will vary.
Research Methods: Selection and Application
Establishing the main premises of methodology is crucial for any academic work because a methodology that is not appropriate for a certain study context will lead to unreliable results, and the interpretation of those results (and the overall academic article) will be useless.
You can usually explore a research topic in your academic paper using a wide range of methods. You should explain fully why you chose a certain methodology or technique in the methods section. It is also important to describe your specific research methods of data collection, whether you are collecting primary or secondary data.
If you are describing primary research methods, give details about surveys, interviews, observations, etc. In the case of secondary research, describe how the data was originally gathered, what institution gathered it, and what publication it appeared in.
Reasons to Choose a Specific Research Method
A good research methodology demonstrates how the research approach fits with the overall study and how it aligns with the research article outline and format as well as the following sections.
You need to explain why you chose the research techniques in your study, as well as how they relate to your study’s purpose, and why these technique choices are relevant to your study.
Research papers commonly suffer from the limitation that they do not support their premises with examples that explain how the methodology helps the paper achieve its goals.
Methods of Data Analysis
In this part of the methodology section, you should also provide information on how you intend to analyze your results.
Analyze how you intend to assess your hypotheses, relationships, patterns, trends, and distributions based on the data and research purpose you have in mind. Further, data types, the methods of measuring them, and the statistical tests that were conducted and performed, should be detailed and accurately reported.
To explain the method of data analysis, you should answer questions such as:
- Is statistical analysis part of your research?
- Are you planning on using theoretical frameworks to help you (and your readers) understand a set of hypotheses or relationships?
- Which method will you use for data analysis?
- Is there another author or study who has used the same methodology and which needs to be cited in your academic publication?