A Research methodology is the fulcrum that balances what the researchers tend to do and how it would be done. The Research methodology is a critical part of thesis or research paper writing. Writing the method of analysis of a thesis can be a daunting task for inexperienced scholars, bearing in mind the sophisticated components discussed in this chapter. This review aims to assist amateur researchers in creating an effective methodological approach by providing them with a clear understanding of the mechanism of a methodology. In some institutions of learning, it is known as chapter three or section three. These are the key elements in the Research methodology section:
- introduction and overview
- methodology approach
- research design
- study area
- study population
- sample technique and sample size
- data collection methods
- Reliability and validity of research instrument
- data analysis and synthesis methods
- ethical considerations
- issues of trustworthiness
Guidelines on How to Write the Chapter 3 of your Final Year Project
We will be explaining how each component of the research methodology should be developed and presented. Demonstrate that you fully comprehend how all elements work together to form a coherent, intertwined sequence contributing to the study’s overall integrity of research methodology. The Research methodology is not limited to all the elements list above. Every institution of research or higher learning could add more to this list.
Step 1: Introduction and Overview
Just like in the previous chapter, explain the approach you would employ to achieve the research objectives. In this case, describe your methodological approach. At a glance, the introduction would show the reader how the researcher is set to accomplish the study’s objective. The introduction should contain all the elements listed from a-l. for instance, “this section describes the methods employed. It contains the methodological approach, research design, study area……..issues of trustworthiness.
Step 2: Methodology Approach
There are three methods of approaching or achieving the research objectives. They are quantitative methods, qualitative methods and mixed methods
- Quantitative Method: This method is frequently utilized by researchers who adhere to the scientific paradigm. This technique involves estimating and generalizing data from a sample of a target population. It employs a formalized data collection procedure with numerical data output. Quantitative research also employs empirical study through the use of statistical methods. Where the research employs the quantitative method, data must be analyzed either through descriptive or inferential statistics
- Qualitative Methods: In contrast to the quantitative method, which seeks to measure things in an attempt to elucidate what is observed, the qualitative approach seeks to create a comprehensive and thorough explanation of your observations as a researcher. Rather than offering assumptions and/or causal explanations, the qualitative approach provides translation and interpretation of the collected data. This research approach is contextual and necessitates a smaller sample size of carefully selected respondents.
- The combination of various quantitative and qualitative approaches resulted in a modern method. The emergence of the mixed methods research originated from its capacity to impact researchers better understand human relationships and their complexities by combining quantitative and qualitative research methods while acknowledging the constraints of both at the same time. In social and management science research, mixed methods are also recognised for the basic idea of triangulation. A triangulation allows students to process various observations about a single phenomenon by incorporating quantitative and qualitative approaches into one study.
Hence a researcher can use any of the methods listed based on the objectives of the study and the direction desired by the guide or supervisor. The researcher needs to justify why the methodology is adopted.
Step 3: Research Design
A scholars’ research design is a blueprint for the methodologies they will use in conducting a study. A study research design describes the type of investigation (exploratory, survey, relationships between variables, semi-experimental, analysis) as well as its sub-types (observational study, research issue, descriptive case-study). It is advisable that while using a primary source of data, descriptive survey research (cross-sectional data) is used, and the expo-facto research design is used for secondary data. The author should justify why this study area is used for analysis.
Step 4: Study Area
The next subheading should be the study area. The study area is the theatre of study or where the study is to be carried out. For instance, Branding and Firm Performance in South-West, Nigeria. The study area is the South-West, Nigeria. The author should justify why the study area is selected and used in the study.
Step 5: Study Population
A research population is a large group of people or things that are the target of a systematic investigation. A study population is also classified as a well-defined collection of elements with common traits. The researcher should note that a population of different characteristics should not be used in a study. For example, it is wise to use both customers, employers or other stakeholders in a study at once. The population should pick one stakeholder at a time. That is, customers alone, employers alone or other stakeholders alone at a time.
Step 6: Sample Size
In research, sample size refers to the number of participants included in a response rate. We define sample size as a group of respondents chosen from the population at large who are regarded to represent the entire population for that particular study. The number of individual samples measured or information collected in a study or experiment is the sample size. For instance, if you evaluate 300 biological samples (specimen, human beings customers, business owners, etc.), your sample size is 300. The sample size should be systematically gotten from the population of the study. Common methods used are Taro Yamane sample size estimation and online sample size calculators.
Step 7: Sampling Technique
As explained in step six, a sample is a subset of people drawn from a larger group. The sampling technique is a method or process of arriving at the sampling size. The sampling technique is also seen as selecting the group you will collect data for your research. Cluster sampling, stratified sampling, systematic sampling and simple random sampling are all methods of probability sampling. However, the simple random sampling technique is one of the most commonly used sampling techniques for saving time and resources. It is a trustworthy method of gathering information in which every single element of the population is selected randomly, purely by chance.
Step 8: Data collection methods
There are basically two data collection methods: primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary source includes survey interviews, questionnaires, interviews, observation, etc., while the secondary source of data is extracting data from reliable sources such as World Bank, Financial Statements of Institutions or trading companies, Stock Exchange, etc. The author should determine the most convenient and realistic source which will provide the data needed timely for analysis
Step 9: Reliability And Validity Of Research Instrument
The concepts of reliability and validity are used to assess the quality of data analysis. They imply the accuracy with which a technique, procedure, or test measures a variable. The consistency of a measure is its reliability, whereas the precision of an indicator is referred to as its validity. There are five major sources of information for validity. These are clear indications predicated on (1) content validity, (2) feedback procedure, (3) internal structure, (4) relationships with other variables, and (5) diagnostics outcomes. It is a must to carry out reliability and validity while using a primary source of data.
Step 10: Data Analysis And Synthesis Methods
The method of data analysis should be indicated in the study. It should be revealed if the study will testing effects use, Regression, Anova, SEM, Factor Analysis, etc.) and if trends use descriptive analysis.
Step 11: Ethical Considerations
Ethical Considerations is a set of principles and values that address what is positive and negative in human existence. Ethics seeks justifications for acting or abstaining from behaving; for approving or rejecting behaviour; for trusting or rejecting something about virtue or cruel behaviour in research. One of the ethical considerations is not revealing the identity of the respondents or key information about them.
The methodology determines if the results will be generalized or not. Hence there is a need to justify each of the steps highlighted in the methodology with existing literature.