Dissertation Methodology

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The methodology states what you are going to do and how you plan on doing it. The methodology should be approximately 200 - 300 words

What belongs in the "methods" section of a paper? This depends on the type of dissertation but here is the general content:

1. Information to allow the reader to assess the believability of your results. You need to explain HOW you are going to carry out your research and WHY you have chosen the method that you chose. WHY not other methods? WHY will this method produce the best results?

2. Information needed by another researcher to replicate your research, if applicable.

3. Description of your materials, procedure, theory. This is especially important for scientific papers. For other papers, you should be explaining things like, WHERE are you going to find materials to analyse? WHY are you going to look there? WHERE else COULD you find materials to analyse (perhaps you're not going to look there - why not?)

4. Calculations, technique, procedure, equipment, and calibration plots, where applicable.

5. Limitations, assumptions, and range of validity. What limitations are there on your research and your method? Is there simply too much material to look at? How and why did you choose the method of limiting your data or resources to certain information?

The methods section should answer the following questions:

1. Could one accurately replicate the study (for example, all of the optional and adjustable parameters on any sensors or instruments that were used to acquire the data)?

2. Could another researcher accurately find and reoccupy the sampling stations or track lines?

3. Is there enough information provided about any instruments used so that a functionally equivalent instrument could be used to repeat the experiment?

4. If the data is in the public domain, could another researcher lay his or her hands on the identical data set?

5. Could one replicate any laboratory analyses that were used?

6. Could one replicate any statistical analyses?

7. Could another researcher approximately replicate the key algorithms of any computer software?

Citations in this section should be limited to data sources and references of where to find more complete descriptions of procedures. Do not include descriptions of results.

"Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination." (Louise Brooks)

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