Research Methodology: More Than Just the Method

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When you set out to write your PhD proposal or thesis, make sure you have a sound understanding of research methodology. When a person undertakes a research study, it is usually to find answers to a particular research question.

This research process is conducted within a given set of philosophies or approaches and makes use of procedures, methods and techniques which have been tested for their reliability and validity. The design of the research process is such that it is objective and unbiased.

For your work to qualify as research in the formal sense, it has to possess a certain set of traits. It must be controlled, rigorous, systematic, empirical and critical, valid and verifiable.

The process of conducting legitimate and valid research is a lengthy and an arduous procedure. Therefore you must follow a systematic process which will help you evaluate your own progress and also provide your research with a concrete shape. Firstly, decide what you wish to find out and also decide how you intend to find answers. These are two steps which you will require to think about at length. The process by which you find your answers is called research methodology. At every stage and step of your research, you will need to make a choice from an available range of procedures, models and methods of research methodology. Your choice will be determined by the ease and precision with these tools help enhance your research.

In order to provide a good shape to your research, you must be aware of the resources and tools at your disposal. It is hence necessary to have more than a rudimentary knowledge of research methodology in terms of procedures, models and methods. You must be aware of the pros and cons of these various methods and be able to decide which method is best suited for your research.

In the process of your research, you will need to follow these particular steps which constitute research methodology. Simply put, it is the method by which research must be conducted.

Broadly speaking, research methodology involves the following steps. First, there is a need to formulate the research problem. Next you are required to perform an extensive review of the existing literature. Thirdly, you will need to develop the objectives of your research. Prepare a proper research design including the sample design. Data collection is the next step in research methodology following which you will need to analyze the data. After generalization and interpretation of the analyzed data has taken place, you can start preparing your final report or presentation of the results. This includes drawing conclusions as well as formal write-ups.

This is the widely accepted method by means of which you will conduct your research. Try not to miss any step- and even if you miss a step- you will find that you will have to work your way backwards to complete what you have missed out on. Be methodical and systematic and make sure you know and understand the steps clearly.