Methodology

Thesis >> Methods

The Methods in a thesis follows the Literature Review and precedes the Results. Describing the experimental design or the algorithm in a step-by-step manner, the Methods lays the foundation for the Results. The Methods often contains the details of materials needed, experimental equipment and tools, and data analysis procedures. Algorithm-based studies usually include the preliminary, as well as main, calculations of algorithms in the Methods.

The Methods in a thesis details the experiment(s) or algorithm(s) in an organised manner with justifications for procedural choices. The feasibility and the basis of the steps and procedures are assessed so as to determine the credibility of the results. Expectations of the results and findings are also formed through the reading of the Methods.

The experiment(s) or algorithm(s) should be described with all necessary details that allow the experiment(s) to be replicated or the algorithm(s) to be verified mathematically with the same steps. The Methods therefore needs to be organised carefully and written unambiguously. Any vague description or omission of a step may affect the assessment of the Methods, to the detriment of the credibility of the work. Clarity and comprehensiveness in the writing of the Methods are therefore crucial.

In summary, the main purposes of the Methods in a thesis include

  • demonstrating the feasibility of the research design by describing the materials involved in the experiments, experimental and calculation steps, and data analysis procedures sequentially and logically;
  • establishing credibility for the results by justifying the choices of materials used and procedural choices made in the experiments or the algorithm calculation;
  • allowing the replication of the experiment(s) or the re-verification of the algorithm(s) by detailing the experimental or calculation steps and data analysis procedures with adequate information.

Requirements for different universities and different disciplines may vary. Please refer to the university guide or consult with the supervisor for clarification about the requirements.

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