Methodology chapter HELL!

Avatar for lemonjuice

For some crazy reason, unless it's me that's crazy (likely), my supervisor is adament the methods/methodology chapter(s) are the easiest to write. Well I really beg to differ - it's causing me so much stress. Did anyone else suffer badly with this chapter? I feel like it needs to be 15,000 words long but at the moment is 5,500 and will be end up being no more than 10,000. Feeling like such a stupid failure again.....but guess that's another thread lol :O

Avatar for JohnWang

For me,methodology is not so hard topic,It depend on your meth(Quali or Quanti),You really have lots to write. i study Marketing. and dissertaion structure like for Introducture 1000 and Literature reviews 4000+ then methodology 3000 -> finding should be more than 3000 then rest words are conclusion , limitaion and future suggestion or something GOOD LUCK.
Now i headache about my Questionnaire,If you can help 3min to take it it will be graceful.... :-) Donot worry!



Mine was 25000 words and could have easily been longer. It depends what type of research you are doing. Mine was ethnographical and also dealt with life history and narrative. Addressed the following:

Research frameworks.
Justification for qualitative / ethnography.
Methods of generating data (Experiencing / Inquiring / Examining).
Access to the field.
Methodological dilemmas in the field (Beginning / Middle / End).
Leaving the field.
Analysis (Narrative).

I included some of the methodological dilemmas I encountered in the field from a reflexive diary and interview transcripts throughout to demonstrate that the methodology is a work in process and is never complete until the thesis is submitted.

Hope this helps.


I wonder if each of us has a least favourite chapter? Mine was the political and cultural context one; urghh! Brought me out in spots!!
Anyway, to the point: I agree with the last post, and I added the study limitations to this chapter too. It seemed to make sense to foreground these. Good luck with it!


I totally feel your pain! I'm working on my (qualitative) Methods chapter at the moment and it's driving me round the bend. I've looked at other people's to get an idea of how they went about it but they're all so different from one another that it's really not much help. I was struck though by how little theory people generally included, eg explaining the philosophy and central tenets of their analytic approach, but how it was straight into the actual 'hands-on' detail. Makes sense from the point of view of an examiner having to get to the facts quickly, but I was surprised nonetheless. So I've tried to stick to that too - will see what the sups make of it when I give them my first draft!


What are you writing your thesis in? In my case (Science/chemistry) my methods chapter was around 5000 words...and none of my chapters were 15000 words (the most was 10000)...I think this is quite normal in science (in my results and discussion chapters I then discussed the method development process etc.).

Avatar for wanderingbit

My method chapter is also short (6'700)! I discussed pros and cons of quant and qual methods for text analysis, and then made the argument for the chosen methods in my study. I also think it very much depends on the area your research in (mine is music psychology); do you have a long and well structured first chapter (framework, literature review, research questions with related argument)?
For me this first chapter was the hell!! 25'000 and endless months of work, I thought I would never come out of it! But once this was settled, the method chapter was really just a matter of clean cut methodological discussion, short and focused.

Why do you have to write 15'000 on method?? Shouldn't it be as long as necessary and not more? For my sup, the lit rev chapter should be as comprehensive as possible, ending with 1-page research questions statement. The following method chapter is then expected to be to-the-point. But that's my sup..

Avatar for sneaks

I had a short methods chapter too, which mainly contained information about the context where I'd conducted my research. It also had a very small section on qual/quant methods as I was doing mixed methods research and a bit about the potential difficulties researching the sample I was. I then had methods sections in each of my study chapters instead.