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Writing the Research

Learning Objective
 To know the steps in writing
a research methodology
Key Understanding
 Knowledge of the steps in writing a
research methodology is important in
formulating an effective research method.

Key Question
 What are the steps in writing a research
Remember to do the following when writing
your Methodology:
 Explain what methods you intend to use
when researching and developing your
 Use a descriptive writing approach. It is
important to explain what research
methods you used to collect your
 Do not include your questionnaires,
interview transcripts, etc. - these go in the

 Discuss with your project supervisor the

extent and level of detail required; original
research will obviously require a more
detailed description than a project -based
solely on secondary research.
In the methodology section, there are six
parts to be addressed:
1. Research Design
2. Population and Sampling
3. Instrumentation
4. Data Gathering Procedure
5. Data Analysis
6. Methodological Limitations
1. Research Design
• The purpose of the study: Exploratory,
Descriptive or Explanatory

• Methods employed in the study may be

qualitative, quantitative, or a mixture of both. If
quantitative, state what method (e.g. survey,
experimental). If qualitative, also state whether
case study, key informant interview, participant
observation, document review, etc.
2. Population and Sampling
• Describes the group from which the sample is drawn
and/or how the sample or subjects were drawn.
• What sampling method – probability or non-probability?
And what sampling techniques were used?
• Techniques under probability method are simple
random, systematic, stratified, cluster, or multi-stage
cluster sampling.
• Under non-probability method, the techniques are
convenience, accidental, snowball, chain-referral,
purposive, or quota sampling.
• Be sure to include the criteria you intend to use to
define your sample or subjects.
3. Instrumentation
• Describes the kind of instrument you will use for gathering
data in the study. Is it an interview schedule (for a survey), a
questionnaire, an interview guide, observation guide, FGD
guide or case study guide?
• How did you construct the instrument?
• Did you pretest the instrument? If yes, state with whom,
how and what the results were in general especially in
terms of changes made in the instrument.
• If you did not, say with whom, how & when you would do it.
• Indicate the measures of validity (face validity, criterion
validity, construct validity, internal or external validity).
• Validity tells us how successful and accurately the
measuring instrument measures the phenomenon;
reliability refers to the consistency of the measurement.
4. Data Gathering Procedure
 Explains the details entailed in data
gathering, from how you intend to
contact the subjects to how the method
(e.g. survey, interview, or observation)
will be done.

 Includes what ethical procedures you will

observe during the conduct of research.
5. Data Analysis
 Describes how you will process and
analyze (including statistical
designs/tests) the data you will obtain in
the study.

 For complicated statistical designs for

quantitative studies, you must include a
step-by-step description.
6. Methodological Limitations
 This pertains to the weaknesses of the
study resulting from the use of a particular
methodology, including sampling,
instrument construction or compromises to
internal and external validity.

 If we depend on secondary statistics, we

have no control over how they were
gathered (validity is compromised).
• Why and how did you choose the
targeted population/sample?
• Why did you choose the particular
• Is the methodology appropriate to your
field of study?
• Is the methodology appropriate to the
objectives of the study?

• Methods affect results

• Methods affect validity and
• Methods affect conclusions

Methods Affect Results
• Research method affects:
– data the researcher records about the
– the sorts of phenomena that can be
– the sorts of understanding of the
phenomenon that the researcher is likely to
arrive at
– the sorts of knowledge claims they will be
able to sustain
(Guba & Lincoln 1994 in Nandhakumar 2003)
• Ultimately, your methodology section(s)
– Define and explain your method, your
theoretical approach, naming your
instrument (e.g. Case study,
interview, etc.)
– Show links between your method and
• Ultimately, your methodology section(s)
– Justify your choice of methods
– Report what you plan to do
– Show how you will select and analyse
the data and how you will document it
– Say what you expect to find
Organising the
methodology section
• How will you logically organise the
information in this section?
• How will you organise your text in each
• Will you organise the methods around the
questions? Or around the methodological
Questions your methodology
section should answer
• Why will the data be admissible?
• Why is your choice of measuring
instrument appropriate to your context / to
the data you are aiming to retrieve?
• By what criteria will you measure the
validity of your measuring instruments?
• How do we know that your method will
yield reliable data?
Valid, reliable information
“Sometimes there is universal agreement that a
particular instrument provides a valid instrument
for measuring a particular characteristic. We
could all agree that a ruler measures length, a
thermometer measures temperature, and a
barometer measures air pressure. But whenever
we do not have such universal agreement, we
must provide evidence that an instrument we are
using has validity for our purpose” (Leedy and
Ormrod, 2005: 92).