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Library Based Dissertations Methodology

The Method of Writing Theoretical Dissertation in Seven Simple Steps!!!

Is it difficult for you to write a theoretical dissertation? Perhaps the answer would always be in affirmative until you read the following article.

But firstly you must know the literal meaning of the theoretical dissertation.

Theoretical dissertation is different from other types of dissertations in many ways. For instance Empirical dissertation is based on the secondary data, this data can be the statistics that is provided by a government or a research done earlier. Hence, it uses the data of someone else for answering the dissertation questions. However, , theoretical dissertation is different in the context.

Theoretical dissertation, as

how to write theoretical dissertation

, is not easy as it appears from the name; so it's not an easy option. Perhaps as compared to theoretical dissertation which is also known as desk-based dissertation and library based dissertation, empirical dissertation is straight forward, for it only uses the secondary data for establishing the conclusion. While it restates the facts in different manner and gives the results, though the structure of theoretical dissertation or library based dissertation structure is different.

Doing a library based dissertation demands the summarized facts which adds something new in the subject. There is no monotonous repetition of the results. The approach is targeted in a way that each part is emphasized and new dimensions are found. Hence, constant evaluation is necessary for this.

The most important thing in writing a library based dissertation is to bring out a set of recommendations at the end of the dissertation. This helps in further research of the subject. The main emphasis is kept on the problems, weaknesses, biases or gaps – as a part of critical analysis – so that in future, improvements can be brought.

In the theoretical dissertation, it is important to give a complete and thorough review of the established literature. While an empirical dissertation involves only 3000 to 4000 words in review, the theoretical dissertation involves more than 9000 words in review which includes literature review, methodology and data analysis. Hence, one has to do less reading in the empirical dissertation.

How To Write A Library Based Dissertation?

While writing a library based dissertation, one must follow the steps given below after collecting the required data, although the collection of data is the prime concern of the students. But here are following seven steps that may facilitate the process of collecting data.

Step# 1:

This step includes the selection of topic as per interest of the students and the advice of the instructor; and the research regarding that topic. However, sharing the data after research is necessary so that everyone could get an idea regarding the data. Moreover, the different aspects of the data can be understood properly as well.

Step# 2:

This step involves the proper connection of the data with the topic. The relevant data is separated from the irrelevant and a connection is established accordingly. If the arguments are not properly arranged then it would be a tiring process for the students to manage that.

Step# 3:

However, after checking the relevance, a logical connection is established. This logical connection is as per the topic of the dissertation. A good library based dissertation involves relevant and logical arguments.

Step# 4:

Here, the students arebrought to their main objective of writing the dissertation. Hence, the questions raised in the arguments must be properly answered. There should be a logical arrangement of the arguments in the dissertation. The different aspects of the topic must be raised and answered theoretically.

STEP# 5:

As the arguments have been arranged in a proper way, it must be ensured that these arguments are not against any established fact or theory. They must be in line with the eminent researches.

STEP# 6:

Sometimes students contradict with their own arguments in their dissertation. Therefore care should be taken in any such case. Even there should not be any ambiguity in the arguments and they should be crystal clear in terms of the subject matter.

STEP# 7:

This step involves the proof reading of the dissertation. All the grammatical mistakes are removed and the arguments are rechecked – for appropriateness.

These seven steps conclude the library based dissertation writing. Now the printing and binding can be done in the subsequent steps. Theoretical dissertation is different from other dissertation types and it can be written in many forms – some of them are given above.


I. Groups of Research Methods

There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:

  1. The empirical-analytical groupapproaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences. This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation.
  2. The interpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way. Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes. Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge.

II. Content

The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. This is followed by situating the methods you will use to gather, analyze, and process information within the overall “tradition” of your field of study and within the particular research design you have chosen to study the problem. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i.e., your review of the literature demonstrates that it is not commonly used], provide a justification for how your choice of methods specifically addresses the research problem in ways that have not been utilized in prior studies.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following:

  • Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined,
  • Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables,
  • The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and
  • The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should:

  • Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem. Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both (mixed method)? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?
  • Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design. Your methods for gathering data should have a clear connection to your research problem. In other words, make sure that your methods will actually address the problem. One of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is not suitable to achieving the stated objective of your paper.
  • Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use, such as, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. If you are analyzing existing data, such as a data set or archival documents, describe how it was originally created or gathered and by whom. Also be sure to explain how older data is still relevant to investigating the current research problem.
  • Explain how you intend to analyze your results. Will you use statistical analysis? Will you use specific theoretical perspectives to help you analyze a text or explain observed behaviors? Describe how you plan to obtain an accurate assessment of relationships, patterns, trends, distributions, and possible contradictions found in the data.
  • Provide background and a rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers. Very often in the social sciences, research problems and the methods for investigating them require more explanation/rationale than widely accepted rules governing the natural and physical sciences. Be clear and concise in your explanation.
  • Provide a justification for subject selection and sampling procedure. For instance, if you propose to conduct interviews, how do you intend to select the sample population? If you are analyzing texts, which texts have you chosen, and why? If you are using statistics, why is this set of data being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate to addressing the research problem.
  • Describe potential limitations. Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? How will you attempt to control for potential confounding variables and errors? If your methodology may lead to problems you can anticipate, state this openly and show why pursuing this methodology outweighs the risk of these problems cropping up.

NOTEOnce you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem, the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data, the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.


III.  Problems to Avoid

Irrelevant Detail
The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but to the point. Do not provide any background information that doesn’t directly help the reader to understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how it was analyzed.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures
Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method, not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness
It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review
Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.e., the choice of a survey should include any citations to the works you used to help construct the survey].

It’s More than Sources of Information!
A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.


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