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The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that did arise, you must describe the ways in which their impact was minimized or why these problems do not affect the findings in any way that impacts your interpretation of the data.

Teaching Yourself

Often in social science research, it is useful for other researchers to adapt or replicate your methodology. Therefore, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow others to use or replicate the study. This information is particularly important when a new method had been developed or an innovative use of an existing method has been utilized. Structure and Writing Style I. Groups of Research Methods There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences: The empirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences.

This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation. The interpretative group is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way.

This research method allows you to recognize your connection to the subject under study. Because the interpretative group focuses more on subjective knowledge, it requires careful interpretation of variables.


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Content An effectively written methodology section should: Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem. Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both mixed method?


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Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance? Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design. Your methods should have a clear connection with your research problem. In other words, make sure that your methods will actually address the problem. One of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is unsuited to achieving the stated objective of your paper.

How to Write a Research Paper

Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use , such as, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. If you are analyzing existing data, such as a data set or archival documents, describe how it was originally created or gathered and by whom.

Importance of...

Explain how you intend to analyze your results. Will you use statistical analysis? Will you use specific theoretical perspectives to help you analyze a text or explain observed behaviors? Provide background and rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers. Be clear and concise in your explanation. Provide a rationale for subject selection and sampling procedure.

For instance, if you propose to conduct interviews, how do you intend to select the sample population?

Sociology Research Methods: Crash Course Sociology #4

If you are analyzing texts, which texts have you chosen, and why? If you are using statistics, why is this set of statisics being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate. Address potential limitations. Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? New York: Routledge, , pp. Swales showed that establishing a research niche [move 2] is often signaled by specific terminology that expresses a contrasting viewpoint, a critical evaluation of gaps in the literature, or a perceived weakness in prior research.

The purpose of using these words is to draw a clear distinction between perceived deficiencies in previous studies and the research you are presenting that is intended to help resolve these deficiencies. Below is a table of common words used by authors.

Conference Papers - The Writing Center

NOTE : You may prefer not to adopt a negative stance in your writing when placing it within the context of prior research. In such cases, an alternative approach is to utilize a neutral, contrastive statement that expresses a new perspective without giving the appearance of trying to diminish the validity of other people's research. Examples of how this can be achieved include the following statements, with A representing the findings of prior research, B representing your research problem, and X representing one or more variables that have been investigated.

Dretske, Fred I. New York: Cambridge University Press, Model Search this Guide Search. Model This guide provides advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. Enter the code below and hit Verify.

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