The thesis methodology section of what is doubtless the most important paper you have yet written is just as important as all the others. Writing it well and comprehensively will allay your readers’ objections and bolster your arguments and conclusions.
The goal of the thesis methodology description is to allow your reader to duplicate your results exactly, and give credence to your conclusions. These characteristics apply to all disciplines, not merely the sciences, although of course the specifics will vary.
The purpose of this part of your thesis is to convince your reader of your conclusions’ credibility. They need not agree entirely with the inferences you draw, but they should be able to say ‘yes’ to the way you got there. In the thesis methodology segment of this paper, you should lay out exactly how you did your research, in exact detail.
You start by briefly describing how you arrived at your research question, any theory you worked from, and how you developed your hypothesis. You should concisely summarize the state of current research.
You will need to list everything you used in your thesis methodology section, including:
- human or non-human subjects
- the physical setting
- statistical or calculationalgorithms, techniques or calculation software
- data sets in the public domain
Assume that no detail is too picayune for the thesis methodology section, for example: the season
the people doing the work (of course this could be you), brand names, stable URLs of any web-based resources.
Depending on the discipline and subject of your thesis, you might be using, and needing to document in the thesis methodology section, any of the following sources of information:
- Literature review
- Prototyping a computer program
- Brainstorming/focus groups
- Tests (this covers an lot of ground)
- Congruence with Ethics guidelines
If the methodologies your thesis employs involve living subjects, or even human tissues, you should assure your readers that you have dotted ‘I’s and crossed ‘t’s. In an era when, for example, at the University of Pennsylvania, someone died in a genetics experiment, such considerations are critical! This section is where you should discuss what went wrong, but without any subjective commentary – even if the reason is hilarious!
Here are some helpful links. These articles explain and give guidance (in some cases very humorously) on how to document the methodology your thesis employed.