Understanding Research Methods in a Dissertation Project


Understanding various research methods in a dissertation project can be a daunting task particularly if this is the first time you are writing a lengthy paper. Dissertation research is finding out anything in a particular way using a certain research methodology. Writing dissertation project involves various steps that require good understanding and research knowledge. Devising the right strategy for achieving your desired goal and dissertation objectives can be a tricky part. You dissertation writing revolves around the research methodology that has been adopted. Once you have finalized the approach, and are confident about achieving the desired results from it, present them effectively to meet the set deliverables.

Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

There are various research methods that can be adopted while writing a dissertation project. To be able to select the most appropriate method you will need to have a good understanding of the research methods. For example, if a dissertation involves numeric data it is important that quantitative data analysis technique is employed by the research. It is generally based on empirical, measurable data or statistics. For qualitative data analysis you do not need to work with numeric data because qualitative analysis depends on the availability of data and objectives of the research. It is generally used for hypothesis and testing theories. Qualitative data is descriptive, holistic and subjective and involves data which cannot be given a numeric value such as opinion of individuals about a particular issue or question, attitude of people towards a problem and observations of people that can only be described using words. There is a possibility that you might need to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative data depending on the requirement of your research study.
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Types of Data

Primary data

This data does not already exist and you will have to generate it. Examples are 

  1. Interviews 
  2. Surveys   
  3. Questionnaires

Secondary data

The data comes from already existing sources. Examples are
§  Books

  •      Books 
  •      Journals 
  •      Websites
  •      Articles
  •      News papers
Making use of the right research methods for your dissertation project helps in producing oustanding piece of work. Once your research questions have been set up you must devise strategy for examining the topic. You must focus on the below

  •      Forming appropriate structure
  •      Types of data collection
  •      Approaches of data analysis
  •      Sustaining and practicing academic principles: referencing, intellectual honesty and ethics
  •      Various sources of information you require
  •            Ways of accessing the sources of information
  •      A time frame
The best guide here is your supervisor with whom you can discuss your research methodology or design. His suggestions can help you further improve your design.Keep in mind that while choosing your research method take care that you match your adopted methodology to the problem under consideration.

Some questions that you should ask yourself

  • What type of data you need primary or secondary
  • What is the most suitable way for data collection?
  • Can you differentiate between types data
  • What type of analysis will you use: Qualitative, Quantitative analysis or both
  •  Is the link between theory and practice clear
  • What factors can be limitations

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