Dissertation Proposal Methodology

However, if you're writing an arts or humanities dissertation the way in which you convey this rigour – and convince your audience of it - is a little different.

The methodology section in an arts or humanities dissertation is likely to be much more closely linked to the literature review than a scientific or social sciences study; even the most innovative dissertation in the arts or humanities typically involves applying X's theories in a new context, or combining X and Y's insights to yield a new theoretical framework.

However, the complexity of working with human subjects means there are a number of additional questions to consider.

First of all, you'll want to answer certain broad questions about the kind of analysis you're undertaking: is it qualitative or quantitative, or a mixed approach that uses qualitative data to provide context and background to quantitative data (or vice versa)?

Remember that a scholar might use any single part of your methodology as a departure point for their own work; they might follow your experiment design but choose a different model for analysing the results, or vice versa!

A study in the social or behavioural sciences As with a scientific study, a social or behavioural sciences methodology needs to demonstrate both rigour and reproducibility, allowing another researcher to reproduce your study in whole or in part for their own ends.In particular, it's vitally important that your dissertation methodology shows an appreciation of the historical and cultural contexts of the theoretical frameworks you use, especially where there's fundamental disagreement between theorists.If you use the work of theorists from differing or even opposing schools of thought to support your readings, your methodology section should show a clear understanding of how these schools of thought disagree and a justification of why there are nevertheless aspects of each approach that you've decided to use in your own work.This could be planning how you'll gather data, or what models you'll use to process it, or what philosophical positions most inform your work.Following this, your dissertation methodology provides a detailed account of both Your methodology needs to establish a clear relationship between your research question, the existing scholarship in your field that you have surveyed as part of your literature review, and the means by which you'll come to your conclusions.If you're completing a postgraduate dissertation, the chances are you already have a broad awareness of the different theoretical positions and schools of thought in your field, and you may well have a good idea of the schools of thought with which you most closely identify (and, just as importantly, those you don't identify with).If you're writing an undergraduate dissertation, this may very well be the first time you've been asked to engage with such a broad field of literature, and categorising this into distinct approaches and schools of thought may seem like an overwhelming task at first.A scientific study The methodology section for a scientific study needs to emphasise rigour and reproducibility above all else.Your methods must appear robust to the reader, with no obvious flaws in the design or execution.For this reason it can be tempting to gloss over the methodology section in an arts or humanities dissertation, and move more or less seamlessly from literature review into analysis.But it's crucial that you provide a detailed justification of your chosen frameworks and how they relate to your research question here too; without this justification a critical reader may very well take issue with your entire analysis because you've failed to convince them of the appropriateness of your theoretical underpinnings to the material you're analysing.

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