Writing your methodology
The methodology is one of the most important chapters in your entire project. It outlines why you chose a particular methodology in order to solve your problem and secondly how you plan to collect and analyse your data.
The most fundamental question to ask yourself as you start to plan to write your methodology chapter is;
Does the methodology give me the information I require in order to solve the problem or answer my research question.
We call this ‘fitness for purpose’. It is a simple test of everything from your research approach, right down to each individual question you ask in your survey or focus group.
So, for example, you are attempting to identify the key ways in which an actor can prepare for an audition. You may wish to find information out from casting agents or directors, or perhaps from successful actors, or even from a sample of people who have attended at least 20 auditions in the last year, or a combination of all three.
Your methodology should aim to provide you with the information to allow you to come to some conclusions about the ways actors prepare for auditions. Let’s assume that you choose to interview only actors who have attended at least 20 auditions in the last year. Is this going to provide you with the data you need to make a useful conclusion? Perhaps, all the 20 people you interview have been unsuccessful at their auditions; would their observations be useful in answering your research question? If all the actors you interview come from the same geographic area, like say Liverpool, could you use the data to make comments about auditions across the UK or even the world?
Some headings for your methodology chapter
You should have a good list from your research methods module but some headings you could address include;
• Research problem
• Research questions/hypotheses
• Methodological approach (quantitative vs qualitative etc, rationale)
• Research instruments (questionnaire, focus groups etc, rationale)
• Sample (size, methodology, reasons)
• Data analysis (how are you planning to analyse the results?)
• Ethical considerations
Here some questions you might wish to ask yourself as you writing the methodology chapter;
• What did I do? What was my method?
• How long were the interviews? Were they structured, semi-structured, open ended? Why? How many interviews were there? Where did they take place?
• Who did I sample/interview/survey/observe?
• Why did I choose these people/organizations/contexts?
• How did I access these people/organisations?
• Who did I exclude? Why did I exclude them?
• What important considerations influence the results, or the interpretation of the results?
(Adapted from http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/Resources/la/Digital%20Media%20Colloquium%20-%20Thesis%20Writing/Writing%20the%20thesis/Methodology%20Chapter.doc)