A university student with no research experience often finds it difficult to compose a dissertation. Performing research for dissertation is the most challenging task particularly for postgraduate students. It often gives students sleepless nights, and many students end up going into depression. The research and hard work that the dissertation demands are way beyond students’ imagination. Many students do not even try to research the topics. They get scared by only listening to the topic of the dissertation. Thus, the question is how students should research to produce a fine piece of writing. Of course, there are many methods that students can follow. In this article, we will discuss all the methods one by one. Before that, let’s explain the term ‘dissertation’ and its importance.
What is Dissertation?
A dissertation is a long piece of writing based on original research. Original research means that the researcher has conducted all the research by himself. He has not used any dataset from the previous research work. However, sometimes, inferring data from previous researches is essential in order to justify the findings of your dissertation. Now, you must have understood why research for dissertation is so difficult. Students usually submit this lengthy paper in order to get their academic degrees.
Importance of Dissertation
Dissertation holds immense importance in the life of a doctorate student. In fact, the student’s future lies in the completion of his dissertation. Along with completion, below are some other points that contribute to its importance.
- A dissertation contributes to the final assessment of the student
- It enhances the research and analytical skills of students. Time management skills are also essential in this regard.
- Along with communication and adaptability, it helps you get better at academic writing.
Overall, the dissertation’s role in the life of a postgraduate or doctorate student cannot be neglected. I hope now you have some basic idea of what a dissertation is and its importance. Now, we shall move on to our primary topic, i.e., methods of research for dissertation.
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How to Do a Research?
As described earlier, conducting research is not an easy task. It requires a lot of analytical skills and hard work. Well, choosing on particular research method depends on your field of study. But in most cases, there are two widely used methods.
- Qualitative Research
- Quantitative Research
These are the most widely used research methods. However, to conduct research by knowing the nature of data is also necessary. Based on the collection techniques, there are two types of data. A brief description of both types is as follows.
It is the data generated and collected in an original way. The researcher himself conducts the research and collects the data. In the case of scientific research, he conducts all the experimentation. In the case of social science research, he conducts all the studies and observations alone. Thus, the primary data is about gathering the data straight from the primary sources, which can be persons, organizations, etc.
Secondary data is the data that has already been collected from the sources. It is readily available to the researchers for use in their research. It is also called the data of the past. For instance, you take some data from an already published paper; it becomes secondary data. It is highly likely that data secondary data for new research is the primary data for the previous research.
As described earlier, there are generally two research methods. The whole research for dissertation revolves around those two methods. Thus, below is the description of those two methods:
Many researchers follow this research method to collect data in a numerical or statistical form. The data is generally in the form of numbers, e.g., percentages, numbers or graphs. The data collected is factual and helps the researcher solve the dissertation’s hypothesis or statement. Many researchers use this technique when there is a need to count, organise or identify patterns in data. To collect quantitative data, there are many methods. A brief description of some of the methods is below.
Experimental research involves experiments conducted in a laboratory. In fact, the researcher conducts the study under controlled observation where only he has control. It includes lab experiments, field experiments or natural experiments. The lab experiments mostly touch the scientific side of a study. Besides, the researcher performs extensive research for dissertation. With careful collection and analysis of the data, he concludes the topic based on science.
On the other hand, in field experiments, the investigator leaves his lab. He goes into society and lives with it. The important thing here is that the participants know that a researcher is experimenting with them. Natural experimentation takes place in the natural setting. The participants are generally not informed about the experiment.
Moreover, the experimentation method changes with various fields. You can observe that only engineering and technological areas perform lab experimentation to collect quantitative data for their dissertation, unlike social sciences or psychology students. Thus, experimentation is one quantitative method of research for dissertation.
An online poll or online survey is another method of conducting research. In this particular research method, the postgraduate students study a larger population. They send the poll to the targeted population and collect the responses. Often, the online polls can be open, and everyone can participate in the research. Social science and psychology students often use this method of research for dissertations. For instance, it is the single best research method in Australia. The Australian students use this method extensively in their dissertations.
The questionnaire is another widely used research method. It can be quantitative and qualitative based on the results. If the results of the research are in numbers, it is quantitative. For example, student conducts research on the number of drug-addicted people in the state of Virginia, USA. In order to know the amount of percentage of people, the researcher cannot go to each individual of the Virginian State. Thus, the questionnaire is the best way to collect quantitative data.
Also Read This: A Guide to Commonly Used Methods in Social Science Research
In this research, the researcher collects data in the form of expressions and statements. There are no numerals involved in this study. Psychology and social science students mostly use this method to study human behaviour. In other words, this method aims at extracting in-depth information about the issue at hand. Also, this method takes an established path towards the research process. First, the researcher sets up the research questions and builds the existing theories upon those questions. After he is done with this process, the next process is applying the methods to draw a conclusion. Now, you must be thinking about some of the methods to perform qualitative research. You can see a description of all the methods below:
This research method involves close observation of the variables. The researcher cannot control the variables but only observes them. Basically, researchers using this method observe every event, happening and activity around them. By taking a closer look at such happenings, they draw valuable information about the problem at hand. For example, an archaeologist wants to study the lifestyle of the ‘Maya’ people of Latin America. He will have to reside among Maya’s and observe them do his research. Through careful observation, in the end, he will draw his conclusion about the traditions and daily life routine of the Maya people. Thus, the observation method in research for dissertation is another helpful tool. One important thing to note here is that the research questions of this research are pre-determined. The researcher takes questions and observes the participants based on those questions.
Interviews stand among the most effective and popular methods of research. In fact, it is a one-on-one conversation between two people. While one is the researcher, the other is the participant. In other words, the researcher is the interviewer, whereas the participant is the interviewee. There are multiple ways of conducting research for dissertation using this method.
When it comes to a structured interview, it follows a pre-determined pattern. The investigator sends the questions to the participants before conducting the interview. In contrast, no such thing happens in the case of an unstructured interview. In other words, it is the easiest kind of interview. The participant and researcher discuss the issue purely based on their opinions.
A Focus group is also a form of an interview. The difference lies in the number of participants. In an interview, there is only one participant who is the interviewee. But in the case of focus groups, the number of participants are usually more than two. The researcher asks questions, and respondents answer them based on their intellect. The focus group research can also be structured, unstructured, or semi-structured like interviews. Overall, to conduct research for dissertation, this method is very practical.
Whether you are doing a Masters’ or PhD programmed, writing a dissertation can be a daunting task. Therefore, you must not start writing it without a prior understanding of methods of research for dissertation. Read and apply them to get good results. Still if you need any help for dissertation research, you can place order by clicking here.