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Top 10 tips for writing a dissertation methodology

A Scientific Approach

❶DO Clearly define your methods. Based on these arguments, this study analyzed the qualitative findings using deductive methods.

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What is the Methodology?


This approach represents the most common view of the relationship between theory and research and results gotten from this approach are developed through logical reasoning Bryman and Bell, The data findings would be compared against existing literature to ascertain if they concur with what has already been published in the field of online recruitment.

The ability to gather primary data during this study was dependent on gaining access to an appropriate source within the organization. The level to which this source is appropriate relies on the research question, related objectives and research designs Saunders et al, Therefore, the researcher, as a friend of an employee within the organization, was in a favorable position to get access within the organization.

I contacted a friend of mine who currently works within graduate recruitment at Lloyds TSB, and discussed the prospects of my dissertation. She spoke to several of her colleagues on my behalf and they agreed for me to conduct telephone interviews with 4 members of the graduate recruitment team, some of which had been there for an average of 5 — 10 years reasons expatiated further in this chapter.

Due to the non-intrusive nature of my research, there were no objections or limitations raised by the participants with regards to the questions asked or the purpose of the study. This study would adopt a case study strategy in answering the research question. Robson asserts that the case study strategy would be useful if the aim of the study is to gain a rich understanding of the research perspective and the process being endorsed.

Therefore as this study aims to understand the recruitment process within Lloyds TSB and also any benefits associated with online recruitment, a case study would be most effective. Two separate yet parallel approaches would be utilized in this study, and are outlined in the table 1 below. Quantitative methods are mainly used in the data collection process of research.

It involves data that is either in the form of, or expressed as numbers Easterby-Smith et al, The quantitative questionnaires were handed out to 10 graduates and undergraduates. The questionnaire was mainly designed with rating scale questions, where respondents were asked to state their opinion or preference for a particular question on a scale of 1 — 5.

The quantitative questionnaire distributed to respondents is outlined in appendix. Quantitative questionnaires are useful as the results derived are quantifiable and measurable against other variables in an objective manner Saunders et al, Following the access grant to four members of the recruitment team within the organization, 15 — 20 minute qualitative telephone interviews were carried out.

A semi-structured interview is a qualitative interview that is defined by a pre-set question guide. It aims to provide in-depth findings through informal discussions with participants Collis and Hussey, This interview method was chosen over unstructured or structured interviews, because this study intends to answer the research questions by asking specific questions, but not so much unstructured that it generates useless data, and not so less structured so as not to miss out on any unanticipated information.

The interview questions in the semi-structured interview are in appendix. The themes utilized in this study were derived mainly from the literature review and were crucial in developing the questions that were raised during the study.

The semi-structured approach also provided the researcher with the ability to probe answers. Answer probing was particularly useful in responses whereby more explanation was needed in order to fully understand the answers.

Due to the recent adaptation of online recruitment, the semi structured interviews was targeted at members of the team who had witnessed or orchestrated the shift towards online recruitment, that way these respondents would be better able to answer questions that relate to the comparison of both methods.

Also, members of the online recruitment team being interviewed had different positions within recruitment and handled separate tasks.

The questionnaires were given to them beforehand, when the approval was first sought, and each respondent chose the questions that they were more qualified to respond to. Therefore the research was such that all respondents answered some questions, while some others were answered by a particular individual because of their knowledge of that process.

Table 2 outlines the respondent details and their interview theme. Each respondent were asked for their consent to interview, prior to the interview sessions, and also requested not to have their names mentioned so as to prevent any form of organizational backlash if the contents of the study were interpreted in any other non-academic form, and distributed.

They have therefore been given fictional names, so as to make the research more readable. Based on the research objectives and the issues to be investigated, it would have been most appropriate if all recruitment staffs within the organization were interviewed. However, due to the time constraints and resource limitations inherent in this study, a non-probability sample of the population was selected.

Saunders et al asserts that a non-probability sample is most often used when adopting a case study strategy. A non-probability sample, as described by Oppenheim, , is a sample in which the probability of each case being selected from the total population is not known. The samples of graduates that were chosen to partake in the quantitative study are too small to constitute a probability sample of graduates within London or UK.

Also, the number of employees within Lloyds who took part in the qualitative study was not high enough to constitute a significant portion of the recruitment department within Lloyds TSB. Therefore the study focused more on the quantitative facts of the perception of recruitment within the organization, as opposed to theories expressed in the literature review, and what graduates on the outside thought of online recruitment.

In collecting data that could be analysed using quantitative means, Easterby-Smith et al claims that researchers could collect either primary or secondary data. It also gives greater confidence that the data collected would match the research objectives. The researcher therefore chose to collect primary data from 20 graduates using questionnaires distributed-in-person to each respondent.

Each is suitable for a different sort of study, and each involves different assumptions about the world ontology , how we know that world epistemology and the nature of knowledge. You may also be interested in: What is dissertation and why is it important? The following table sums up key details about each philosophy, and should help you decide which is most useful for your area of study.

Saunders et al The main decision you are likely to make is whether you will be using qualitative or quantitative methods or methods which combine both. Each method is associated with a different approach to gathering data. If so, you are likely to be collecting numerical data in reasonably large quantities 30 or more and running statistical tests on this data.

By looking at broad areas of interest, you are aiming to generate theories about the area you are investigating. If this is the case, you will be adopting a qualitative approach concerned with analysing textual responses in detail. Should I use Primary or Secondary Research? The Steps involved in writing a Dissertation. In this section you will outline how you collected your data; and you will have to explain your choice for using the methods you did, such as online surveys, phone surveys, face-to-face-interviews and so on.

How did you choose your sample? Explain the choice of age group and ethnicity of your respondents. What questions did you ask and how have these contributed towards answering your research question or how did these test your hypothesis which formed the basis of your research? It is actually better to write this at the start of your research, so that it can be changed if your methods are not producing the results you need.

However as this is not usually how dissertations are written- they are written in hindsight, then you will have to be honest about the flaws in the design. Another thing to remember is that you need to convince the reader that the results you obtain are valid and reliable.

When discussing why you selected the methods you did, you should be convincing that these methods are the best ones available given what you want to achieve. You will have to explain how the data was collected by what means and then explain the analysis tools you used. For example, if you were sampling texts, or have a lot of qualitative data are you using semiotics analysis, discourse analysis and so on. If you used software tools then you will have to say what these were and why you chose to use these particular ones.

The choices you made at the beginning of your research study should have been aided by contributions from your supervisor. That being so, writing the Methodology section will be the easiest part of your dissertation. Mixed Method Deductive Research 2. How to Structure a Dissertation:


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Because your dissertation methodology is basically an explanation of your research, you may want to consider writing it – or at least drafting it – as you gather your data. If you are on a PhD course, or a longer masters course, then you may be able to finish researching before you begin writing but it doesn’t hurt to start working on it early that way you can keep on top of what you need to do.

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A key part of your dissertation or thesis is the methodology. This is not quite the same as ‘methods’. The methodology describes the broad philosophical underpinning to your chosen research methods, including whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods, or a mixture of both, and why.

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Dissertation Methodology Examples Below you will find our Dissertation Methodology Examples index. This index contains a number of genuine, methodologies that were written by . We have compiled a list of the top 10 tips to help you write your dissertation methodology below. Think of this like a check-list for you to utilise throughout writing your methodology. If you want further guidance on writing a dissertation methodology, our article Writing your dissertation methodology answers the most common questions asked by students and is packed full of helpful advice.

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Masters Dissertation Methodology – Dos and Don’ts. An important part of any dissertation, the Methodology chapter details the methods of collecting data and a consideration of the chosen concepts and theories behind the methods. The dissertation is the final stage of the Masters degree and provides you with the opportunity to show that you have gained the necessary skills and knowledge in order to organise and conduct a .