How to Write Chapter 3 of the Dissertation

The main purpose of Chapter 3 of your dissertation, which is methodology, is to give enough information to an experienced investigator to be able to replicate the study. Some tutors ask students to create some kind of a textbook instead.

However, research should be structured appropriately to demonstrate all the major parts of the entire project, including measures and methods of the assignment that should work together in order to successfully address the main question of your study. Therefore, your third chapter should begin with the paragraph that shows the purpose of your study. Check and put some subjects to help you construct an effective methodology chapter.


The methodology chapter, which is usually Chapter 3, presents the information to let the reader understand all the steps and scientific methods used by researcher to learn more about validity and reliability of the study.

As any other chapter, this one should also start with a brief introduction. Here you should restate the purpose and add a small overview of a chapter. No need to apply much imagination, just write as follows: “Chapter 3 includes research methods design appropriateness review, a brief discussion of sample and population. In addition to that, Chapter 3 presents…”

Your introduction should be about three paragraphs and should not contain the title “Introduction”.


Some institutions make this section optional, the others require it to be included. Here you should specify if the research is experimental, quasi-experimental, causal-comparative, correlational, qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, or another. Try to be as specific as possible. This kind of approach should be defended by comparing with other methods and denying those that do not meet the needs of your study.

This section should not be structured as a simple textbook-like description of different research designs, but rather focused on the effort to find the most rational design appropriate to your study.

Research design

Base this section on the problem you investigate, the theoretical framework of a study, and its purpose. Include sufficient details to suggest some recommendations about the answers to the core research questions. The main aim of this section is to convince the reader that the chosen approach and research design is maximum appropriate for the desired results.

This section should explicate the type of research design you use (historical, correlational, phenomenological, etc.). Also, one should justify and demonstrate deviations from the steps necessary to complete the research design.

Include a description of the independent variables and dependent variables. The dependent one is a response that is influenced by the independent treatment. The independent variables are under the researcher’s control, and they provide act as a factor of a study. Thus, if you are performing a qualitative study, there are no independent and dependent variables.

The research design should establish a strong sequence of the events in a research process. The size of this section depends on the number of experiments performed and results expected.

So, the detailed explanation of each method and point should be documented. Include the following elements:

  • • Highlight a rationale for your research method (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed) and appropriateness. Don’t forget to include an explanation why you have selected a certain method instead of another.
  • • Highlight a rationale that would explain why the chosen research design (experimental or non-experimental, for instance) is suitable for the study. Here you should not provide a list and descriptions of different types of design, but rather explain why the chosen one fits the best.
  • • Show how the design you have chosen will help to accomplish the goals of a study.
  • • Describe the reasons why the chosen design is the most appropriate choice for this research.

Summarize all you have written in the last part of this section. The last paragraph should include a short explanation of data analysis. Conclude it with a sentence that would introduce the next chapter of your dissertation.