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Methodology Chapter:
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Methodology Chapter

Every dissertation must have a methodology chapter. The methodology chapter is the one in which the student presents the research study in detail. The methodology chapter includes every aspect of the research conducted. Here are some items of information which are generally included in the methodology chapter of every dissertation.

Sample. The student first discusses the individuals that made up the sample. These can be humans, animals, plants, or any other subject of study. In survey research and other research with human subjects, a bit about the location, size, and characteristics of the sample are included at the beginning of the methodology chapter. For instance, one might say "this study was conducted on a sample of 138 undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university. The median age was 20 years old, and there were 64 males and 74 females."

Procedure. Next, a dissertation's methodology chapter should discuss how the study was conducted. What were the subjects asked to do? What were they told? How many different groups were they divided into? Was there a control group? The language of the actual methodology chapter might look something like this: "the subjects were told that they would be given a problem to solve. Half of the subjects were told they would be collaborating with a computer, and the other half that they were communicating with a human via instant messaging. Differences in subject responses to the human/computer collaborator were then compared."

Data Collection: the methodology chapter also includes information about how data was collected. If the subjects were given a survey after the experiment was conducted, the student should note this in the methodology chapter. If any raters were observing in the field, information about how they made coding decisions will be included. If the data was subjected to statistical analysis, the student writing the methodology chapter should note which test was used.

The above elements make up the successful methodology chapter. The methodology chapter does not need to include the actual results of the study, as these have a dedicated chapter of their own, known as the results chapter.