Think of this like a check-list for you to utilise throughout writing your methodology.
Answering this question is by no means straight-forward. These are not problems that cause frustration only at the undergraduate level, but that accompany many scholars their entire careers.
In fact, at a meeting I attended a few weeks ago on how to apply for research funding from the European Research Councilone of the concerns that the Council regularly had with applications was that scholars did not provided a good methodology section.
So if you are a student, and you are confused, remember that you share that confusion with many of the professionals. What makes questions of method and methodology so thorny is that Politics thesis methodology answers depend on the respective discipline and on the particular research project.
In this post, I will try to highlight different perspectives on this topic, as well as options for coming to grips with methods and methodologies. This usually includes defining the scope of the research project, coming up with a research question or hypothesis, selecting and collecting data, processing that data with certain tools to enable analysis, and then going through the data systematically to answer the central question.
In other words, methods are the tools you use to do your research. So what is a methodology? In essence, methodology is the discussion of methods. A methodology section in a research paper needs to achieve three things, though not necessarily in this order: Firstly, it should consider what the nature of academic work is more generally, and what this might mean for anyone who explores the topic at hand.
Secondly, it needs to provide a literature review, discussing what methods researchers have traditionally used to study the kind of topic that the project focuses on. Thirdly, it should explain what methods this particular project uses and why. The first issue is a question of epistemologythe philosophy of knowledge.
Crucial epistemological questions include: What have different intellectual schools said on these issues, and what do our own answers to these questions say about the value of our research project?
What do they say about the value of academic work in general? These are debates that have occupied thinkers for millennia, and no-one would expect you to answer them in a term paper or thesis.
Nevertheless, the practical methods you use to study your subject come with certain assumptions, so it would be a good idea to demonstrate that you are aware of what these are.
These are by no means trivial questions, and even though they are theoretical, they have very real implications for how you conduct your own research.
Next, you might want to review what experts in the field have said about the value and drawbacks of using surveys, about the relation between information and human behaviour, and about the problems of establishing causalities between different variables.
A note on positivism as a research tradition would also probably be wise.
Finally, you should explain where you got your data and what exactly it is you plan to do with it. Similarly, if you are studying policy documents to find out what the agenda of a specific government is, you would be well advised to think about epistemological questions like the value that such documents might have as an indication of political preferences, about the nature of political decision-making, or about the various philosophical traditions that have debated whether the language in such sources reflects certain beliefs or conjures them into being or maybe both?
How you then go on to select and study the actual documents will likely follow from your answers to these questions. How methodology connects to theory As these examples already show, methodological discussions are both theoretical and practical in nature.
This is also what makes writing a methodology section for an article or a thesis so hard. It can be difficult to draw a line between a typical theory chapter and the epistemological discussion of the methods you used.
Do you now need to include a second theoretical chapter that discusses how we can know about the system of states? The answer is not straight forward, and will strongly depend on what you are trying to achieve.
Overall, it can help to see this overlap between theory and methodology not as a problem but as an opportunity. From there, it is only a small step to outlining what data your research project uses, and what work-steps you took.
In this case, the methodology is the puzzle piece that sits between broader theoretical debates and actual hands-on research work. Nevertheless, it is quite common to get the balance wrong between the theoretical and the practical aspects of a methodology.In writing your dissertation, you’re likely to be taking a practical or a theoretical approach, even though both practical and theoretical considerations are of the utmost importance in social science research.
For an undergraduate dissertation, your examiner is going to expect you to choose a. of the label “political theory”, as opposed to “political philosophy”. Political theory and political science Political theory can easily be distinguished from (positive) political science.
Political science addresses empirical and positive questions concerning politics and society (for an overview, see Goodin ). Political methodology offers techniques for clarifying the theoretical meaning of concepts such as revolution and for developing definitions of revolutions.
It also provides descriptive indicators for comparing the scope of revolutionary change, and sample surveys for gauging the support for revolutions. It then presents an array of methods . Database of example Politics dissertations - these dissertations were produced by students to aid you with your studies.
To address how to write a methodology, in the Methodology section of your dissertation you have to justify and explain your choice of methodologies employed in your research. You don’t however have to explain the methodological approaches that you could have used.
The methods section describes actions to be taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically.