Issue with research method (or lack thereof)



I am new in this forum and signed up because I am hoping to get some help/advise. I am currently writing my master thesis and while I know I should discuss issues regarding that with my supervisor, for a number of reasons that's not an option and I have to find my own solution. It is possibly a very easy/stupid question and I'm sure there are people on this forum who will know the answer :-)

My issue:

As I said I am currently writing my master thesis in the social science/humanities area. The issue is my research method of lack thereof. I am only using journal articles and academic books as sources. I don't just repeat what is written but I combine two different areas together to shed some light onto a new issue. So while I don't conduct any primary research (e.g. interviews) I still create something new-is that's not there yet. But it's purely based on academic journals. I am now very worried that this is not scientific enough for a master thesis. It is more like writing a really long essay for a class and doesn't feel very thesis-ish. What are your thoughts on that? I tried to find a research method which is similar/close to what I am doing but I mainly find qualitative and quantitative research methods like interviews, surveys etc. where some new (primary) data is generated. Mine is more like "X says bla, Y says bla, so I'd say X+Y = Z" if that makes any sense...

I'm now just a few weeks away from submission and I'm panicking that I will fail because I don't seem to really employ a research method. What do you think? Do you know of a research method that only uses journal articles and books and sort of builds their own thing based on what others have written (purely theoretical)?


PS: English is not my mother language. Please excuse mistakes, I study in German.

Avatar for rewt

Not an expert in social sciences and don't understand your problem. But are you doing something similar to a review paper? If you are doing a review the methods would something like systemic or meta analysis.


Thank you very much, I think you just solved my problem!


Rewt got it right. I'd do some research and see which term fits your methods more - systemic or meta-analysis.


What you do sounds like a systematic review, which is totally acceptable to do. Although make sure you follow some guidelines. Meta-analysis would imply that you run some statistical analysis while analysing your literature.


Thank you! I am currently reading up on systematic literature reviews to make sure I am doing it right. I'm very thankful for this forum. In hindsight I feel like I should have been able to figure this out by myself but I'm really grateful that you all pointed me in this direction! It's such a relief to finally know what to do!