Writing Research Methodology for PhD: Expert Guide

In the methodology chapter of your PhD research proposal in English literature, you should explain and justify your methodology choices. In this part, you do not need to explain the approaches you used in your methodology but write your reasons for choosing the research methodology for PhD. For further explanation on how to write the chapter and prepare for the PhD interview questions check out the following.

Writing a PhD Methodology Chapter

Here are the qualitative procedures and components that you need to know before writing the methodology chapter: strategy of inquiry, data collection, and data recording.

Strategy of inquiry:

In this component, you need to identify what the inquiry specific strategy to use is. The following is the qualitative research tradition or design.

  • Biography or oral life history: read, research and understand the person in context.
  • Ethnography: this is a primary qualitative technique research that you can use in understanding others who are diverse and different in a collective level.
  • Grounded theory: in here, you can understand the causation of behavior or belief.
  • Case study: it allows you to understand single case such as an individual.
  • Phenomenology: it gives you an understanding of the human phenomena unique aspect.
  • Make a discussion of your intended outcome from your strategy type.
  • Discuss the strategy source.
  • Highlight why it’s the perfect strategy.
  • Identify how the strategy shapes your types of questions, data analysis and steps, final narrative and data collection form.

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Data collection procedures:

Writing a DBA dissertation or writing a PhD methodology chapter, you need to know about the data collection procedures. In here, you need to include a discussion about your participants as well as site. It should include:

  • Settings
  • The people who will be interviewed
  • Events
  • The events nature that will be undertaken by the actors in the setting

Be sure to indicate the types or type of data that will be collected such as interviews, audio, documents, visual material and observational materials.

Data Analysis

Keep in mind that in PhD thesis methodology, all data analysis should be based on the research questions as well as on the research design chosen for your study. You need to specify the procedures for coding and reducing the data. When it comes to qualitative studies, all the procedures that will be followed for your analyses should be addressed. It is a PhD thesis methodology chapter qualitative method that utilizes an ethnographic approach by having a realist design. In here, third person voice is being used because it is a realist design and there are no personal ideas included rather facts are presented using the participants actual words. Observations and objective data coming from the interviews were objectively reported and coded.

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What about Focus Groups

This is useful when your participants are willing to discuss your topic in front of their peers such as the views of teens about smoking. Your participants’ answers inform others, such as from group ideas that can be generated and are not available in interviews using one-on-one method. Accessibility or time constraints are issues for the researcher.

What are the types of focus groups? In writing the Smart PLS PhD dissertation or PhD thesis methodology, it is essential to know the focus group types, especially if it is the one you are using in your research.

  • Face-to-face focus groups
  • Asynchronous focus groups
  • Online and synchronous focus groups

In considering focus groups, here is what you should know:

  • The researcher will act as the moderator or facilitator
  • The moderation level depends on the participants
  • Hard to moderate and record; in here, the tape is essential as well as a separate note taker, who is not a participant and a researcher
  • Ethical considerations for confidentiality

Interview Procedures

There you have the things to know and consider in writing your research methodology for PhD. Follow these guidelines and checklist so that you can plan and be well prepared in writing the chapter. As you notice, this chapter of your PhD research will require much effort and time on your part and fellow researchers, so you might as well equip yourself with the knowledge about its parts and things to know about it. Finally, start early to have more time in case adjustments are needed in conducting interviews or choosing which methods of interview to use, among other things you need in the research methodology chapter.

What to Ask Before You Start Picking Your PhD Research Question

  • What interests you in writing a PhD proposal?

No doubt that your chosen field is likely extensive and wide in range of topics so it is important that you single out an area of specific interest to you. You are bound to have days or even weeks during your PhD that will have you asking whether you picked the right subject, but choosing an area that interests you in the first place will make for a good start. Whatever your experience lies in be it Chemistry, Geology, History or Astrophysics narrowing your field of interest to a specific area makes your decision far easier!

  • What PhD research questions  you need to answer?

There are likely some big questions in your field of interest that need answering during your writing a PhD. Whatever the area there is still a lot that we, as a species, do not know. Your thesis could aim to consider one of the burning questions in your chosen field, demonstrating your understanding of the limitations to knowledge in your subject as well as showing you to be up to date with current levels of research. Rather than attempting to answer something inane or over-researched your thesis could delve into the lesser-known aspects of your field.

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What to Consider When It Comes to Your Proposal

  • Standing out

While discussions with other researchers or professionals in your field are very helpful, as we will come to later, it is important to stand out. Look into what previous PhD students have researched for their theses, talk to researchers and lecturers to find out what are more common topics so you can find a subject that will make you stand out.

  • Flexibility vs. indecisiveness

Being flexible is very important as you are almost guaranteed to hit difficulties throughout your research proposal for PhD, but your initial thesis idea must revolve around one central question. It is easy to get swept away with trying to be too ambitious but you need to keep to the point. Your question may develop and evolve throughout research, which shows your growth of understanding, but do try not to become overwhelmed by the variety of options available and stick to the point you are trying to make, without your research becoming erratic.

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  • Previous study

You may well have come across interesting areas of study from your Master’s studies which you can draw from to choose your thesis. Look into old resources from previous studies and consider any old essays or research you may have conducted for ideas. This will also help you pick useful sources for your thesis, refreshing your memory of what you found helpful previously.


It is common to feel discouraged and frustrated with your project throughout your PhD, but by taking the time to consider your initial question you should reduce this feeling of helplessness. By using our guide to find a subject you think is interesting, a question that is in real need of an answer and the ability to be flexible will set you up to produce a fascinating thesis that will get you your PhD and allow you to further your career.

What to Do before You Start Research

  • Get your reading glasses on!

Reading other theses in both your chosen subject but also around it will give you a heads up for both what are commonly asked questions but also what works best in terms of research. You will find your own style of writing and research but it certainly helps to draw inspiration from others.

  • Ask around about research proposal writing!

Previous and current PhD students alike in your field and others can have interesting thesis ideas to draw inspiration from. Researchers likely know the ins and outs of the most up-to-date theories which mean you can consider what is yet to be discovered. Even your friends and families might have questions about your chosen subject that you could look into, while they may not be as in-depth as necessary the ideas can be expanded upon or used as inspiration.

Get started with your research methodology for PhD today!