Examples of Methodology in Research Papers (With Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When researchers record their findings, they often include a methodology section that details the research techniques used and outcomes. When writing a thesis or dissertation, or documenting a project for your employer, including details about methodology assists readers in understanding your findings. Learning more about the concept and reviewing examples of methodology is important for providing insight into the validity and reliability of research.

In this article, we explain why it's important to review examples of methodology, explore what a methodology is, highlight what it includes, learn how it differs from research methods, and discover an example of methodology in a research paper.

Why review examples of methodology?

If you're writing a thesis, it may be useful to review some examples of methodology. By reviewing these examples, you can learn more about research approaches that give credibility to studies. You can also learn more about the language used and the details included, which can help you make your own methodology sections of reports more effective.

What is a methodology in a research paper?

In a research paper, thesis, or dissertation, the methodology section describes the steps you took to investigate and research a hypothesis and your rationale for the specific processes and techniques used to identify, collect, and analyze data. The methodology element of your research report enables readers to assess the study's overall validity and reliability and provides an important insight into two key components, namely your data gathering and analysis techniques and your reason for investigating. When composing this section for a research paper, it's important to keep the topic concise and write in the past tense.

Related: What Is Quantitative Analysis?

What to include in a methodology section

When developing a methodology for research papers, it's worth considering the following elements:

Type of research

The first part of a methodology section typically outlines the type of research you did, and how you established your research procedures. This section highlights the subject of your study and addresses the type of data necessary to conduct evaluations and research assessments. The methodology section commonly contains the criteria that your experimental investigations followed to provide valid and trustworthy data. The material in this section provides readers with an insight into the methods you used to assess validity and reliability throughout your investigations.

Related: How to Write a Research Question: Steps and Examples

Data collection process

The methodology section also contains a description of how you collected the data. Whether you ran experimental testing on samples, conducted surveys or interviews, or created new research using existing data, this section of your methodology describes what you did and how you did it. Key aspects to mention include how you developed your experiment or survey, how you collected and organized data, and what kind of data you measured. Additionally, you may outline how you set particular criteria for qualitative and quantitative data collection.

Related: 6 Methods of Data Collection (With Types and Examples)

Data analysis process

Your approach to data analysis is equally important to the processes of data collection. The term data analysis refers to the procedures you employed to organize, classify, and examine the data gathered throughout your research operations. For instance, when presenting your quantitative approaches, you may add information regarding the data preparation and organization procedures you used and a short description of the statistical tests involved. When presenting your qualitative data analysis techniques, you may prefer to concentrate on how you classified, coded, and applied language, text, and other observations throughout your study.

Related: How to Write an Analysis (With Importance and Tips)

Resources, materials, and tools

The tools, materials, and other resources necessary for conducting your research and analysis are also important factors to include when outlining your approach. In documenting your processes, it's important to outline your use of software programs, mathematical and statistical formulae, and other instruments that assisted you in your study. Additionally, this area of your approach may describe any unique strategies you used to gather data and identify significant factors. The methods you used to investigate your hypothesis and underlying research questions are also key components of your methodology.

The rationale behind the research

Because the methodology section of your research paper demonstrates to readers why your study is legitimate and important, the final part of this section can concentrate on your justification for the research. Details such as why your studies are important, which sectors they pertain to, and how other researchers might reproduce your findings are critical components of this section. It's important to discuss any strategies you intend to employ to continue reviewing your research and to properly reference the primary and secondary sources you utilized.

Differences between the methodology and research methods

While the methodology section of your research paper contains information about the research techniques you employed, there are many distinctions between the methodology and the actual research methods you used, including:

Purpose

The overall objective of your approach is distinct from the procedures you used to carry out your study. While the methodology section of your research paper describes your processes in detail, the methods section refers to the specific steps you took to collect and analyze data throughout your research. The methodology acts as a summary that proves the validity and dependability of your procedures, while the methods are the scientific ways to test and reach conclusions about the data you investigate.

Related: Research Skills: Definition and Examples

Format

The structure of the methodology section differs from how you describe and explain your research and analytic approaches. The methodology section is often located at the beginning of your article and takes the form of a summary or essay in paragraphs, outlining the validity, procedure, and justification for your study. The structure in which you discuss your methods varies according to the type of study, data, and evaluations used. For example, when presenting the methods, you may use a graph or chart to illustrate your results.

Content

The objectives and style of your methodology and research techniques ultimately impact on the material that you present. It's important that your methodology provides a succinct review of your research, methods, and findings. As a result, the methodology section of your paper can include the elements you employed to conduct your investigations. The content of your research paper that describes your methods of data collection and analysis techniques may vary, as it's often required to clarify your scientific approaches and research procedures using lists and visual aids, such as charts or graphs, to supplement the material.

Related: How to Do Market Research with 6 Guided Steps (With Types)

Example of a methodology in a research paper

The following example of a methodology in a research paper provides insight into the structure and content to consider when writing your own:

This research article discusses the psychological and emotional impact of a mental health support program for employees. The program provided prolonged and tailored help to job seekers via a job support agency that kept contact with applicants beyond initial job placement to give different forms of assistance. I chose a 50% random selection of respondents who participated in the employment agency's support program between April and October and met the research criteria I created based on prior and comparable studies.

My colleagues and I randomly allocated the 350 resultant patients to the treatment or control groups, which included life skills development and career training in an in-house workshop setting. My colleagues and I assessed the 350 participants upon admission and again after they reached the 90-day employment requirement. The psychological functioning and self-esteem assessments we conducted revealed considerable evidence of the impact of treatment on both measures, including results that contradicted our original premise.

We discovered that, rather than demonstrating better functioning and higher self-esteem, participants in the therapy group exhibited poorer cognitive and emotional functioning and self-esteem. These findings prompted my study team and me to conclude that people who consider themselves unfulfilled in their jobs often endure a substantial decline in performance as a consequence of increased workplace stress and lower emotional well-being, irrespective of their mental health status.

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