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Writing the Research Methodology Section of Your Thesis

methods for bachelor thesis

This article explains the meaning of research methodology and the purpose and importance of writing a research methodology section or chapter for your thesis paper. It discusses what to include and not include in a research methodology section, the different approaches to research methodology that can be used, and the steps involved in writing a robust research methodology section.

What is a thesis research methodology?

A thesis research methodology explains the type of research performed, justifies the methods that you chose   by linking back to the literature review , and describes the data collection and analysis procedures. It is included in your thesis after the Introduction section . Most importantly, this is the section where the readers of your study evaluate its validity and reliability.

What should the research methodology section in your thesis include?

  • The aim of your thesis
  • An outline of the research methods chosen (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods)
  • Background and rationale for the methods chosen, explaining why one method was chosen over another
  • Methods used for data collection and data analysis
  • Materials and equipment used—keep this brief
  • Difficulties encountered during data collection and analysis. It is expected that problems will occur during your research process. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities by explaining how you overcame all obstacles. This builds your readers’ confidence in your study findings.
  • A brief evaluation of your research explaining whether your results were conclusive and whether your choice of methodology was effective in practice

What should not be included in the research methodology section of your thesis?

  • Irrelevant details, for example, an extensive review of methodologies (this belongs in the literature review section) or information that does not contribute to the readers’ understanding of your chosen methods
  • A description of basic procedures
  • Excessive details about materials and equipment used. If an extremely long and detailed list is necessary, add it as an appendix

Types of methodological approaches

The choice of which methodological approach to use depends on your field of research and your thesis question. Your methodology should establish a clear relationship with your thesis question and must also be supported by your  literature review . Types of methodological approaches include quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. 

Quantitative studies generate data in the form of numbers   to count, classify, measure, or identify relationships or patterns. Information may be collected by performing experiments and tests, conducting surveys, or using existing data. The data are analyzed using  statistical tests and presented as charts or graphs. Quantitative data are typically used in the Sciences domain.

For example, analyzing the effect of a change, such as alterations in electricity consumption by municipalities after installing LED streetlights.

The raw data will need to be prepared for statistical analysis by identifying variables and checking for missing data and outliers. Details of the statistical software program used (name of the package, version number, and supplier name and location) must also be mentioned.

Qualitative studies gather non-numerical data using, for example, observations, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.   Open-ended questions are often posed. This yields rich, detailed, and descriptive results. Qualitative studies are usually   subjective and are helpful for investigating social and cultural phenomena, which are difficult to quantify. Qualitative studies are typically used in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) domain.

For example, determining customer perceptions on the extension of a range of baking utensils to include silicone muffin trays.

The raw data will need to be prepared for analysis by coding and categorizing ideas and themes to interpret the meaning behind the responses given.

Mixed methods use a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to present multiple findings about a single phenomenon. T his enables triangulation: verification of the data from two or more sources.

Data collection

Explain the rationale behind the sampling procedure you have chosen. This could involve probability sampling (a random sample from the study population) or non-probability sampling (does not use a random sample).

For quantitative studies, describe the sampling procedure and whether statistical tests were used to determine the  sample size .

Following our example of analyzing the changes in electricity consumption by municipalities after installing LED streetlights, you will need to determine which municipal areas will be sampled and how the information will be gathered (e.g., a physical survey of the streetlights or reviewing purchase orders).

For qualitative research, describe how the participants were chosen and how the data is going to be collected.

Following our example about determining customer perceptions on the extension of a range of baking utensils to include silicone muffin trays, you will need to decide the criteria for inclusion as a study participant (e.g., women aged 20–70 years, bakeries, and bakery supply shops) and how the information will be collected (e.g., interviews, focus groups, online or in-person questionnaires, or video recordings) .

Data analysis

For quantitative research, describe what tests you plan to perform and why you have chosen them. Popular data analysis methods in quantitative research include:

  • Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, medians, modes)
  • Inferential statistics (e.g., correlation, regression, structural equation modeling)

For qualitative research, describe how the data is going to be analyzed and justify your choice. Popular data analysis methods in qualitative research include:

  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Narrative analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)

Evaluate and justify your methodological choices

You need to convince the reader that you have made the correct methodological choices. Once again, this ties back to your thesis question and  literature review . Write using a persuasive tone, and use  rhetoric to convince the reader of the quality, reliability, and validity of your research.

Ethical considerations

  • The young researcher should maintain objectivity at all times
  • All participants have the right to privacy and anonymity
  • Research participation must be voluntary
  • All subjects have the right to withdraw from the research at any time
  • Consent must be obtained from all participants before starting the research
  • Confidentiality of data provided by individuals must be maintained
  • Consider how the interpretation and reporting of the data will affect the participants

Tips for writing a robust thesis research methodology

  • Determine what kind of knowledge you are trying to uncover. For example, subjective or objective, experimental or interpretive.
  • A thorough literature review is the best starting point for choosing your methods.
  • Ensure that there is continuity throughout the research process. The authenticity of your research depends upon the validity of the research data, the reliability of your data measurements, and the time taken to conduct the analysis.
  • Choose a research method that is achievable. Consider the time and funds available, feasibility, ethics, and access and availability of equipment to measure the phenomenon or answer your thesis question correctly.
  • If you are struggling with a concept, ask for help from your supervisor, academic staff members, or fellow students.

A thesis methodology justifies why you have chosen a specific approach to address your thesis question. It explains how you will collect the data and analyze it. Above all, it allows the readers of your study to evaluate its validity and reliability.

A thesis is the most crucial document that you will write during your academic studies. For professional thesis editing and thesis proofreading services, visit  Enago Thesis Editing for more information.

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Introduce your methodological approach , for example, quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.

Explain why your chosen approach is relevant to the overall research design and how it links with your  thesis question.

Justify your chosen method and why it is more appropriate than others.

Provide background information on methods that may be unfamiliar to readers of your thesis.

Introduce the tools that you will use for data collection , and explain how you plan to use them (e.g., surveys, interviews, experiments, or existing data).

Explain how you will analyze your results. The type of analysis used depends on the methods you chose. For example, exploring theoretical perspectives to support your explanation of observed behaviors in a qualitative study or using statistical analyses in a quantitative study.

Mention any research limitations. All studies are expected to have limitations, such as the sample size, data collection method, or equipment. Discussing the limitations justifies your choice of methodology despite the risks. It also explains under which conditions the results should be interpreted and shows that you have taken a holistic approach to your study.

What is the difference between methodology and methods? +

Methodology  refers to the overall rationale and strategy of your thesis project. It involves studying the theories or principles behind the methods used in your field so that you can explain why you chose a particular method for your research approach.  Methods , on the other hand, refer to how the data were collected and analyzed (e.g., experiments, surveys, observations, interviews, and statistical tests).

What is the difference between reliability and validity? +

Reliability refers to whether a measurement is consistent (i.e., the results can be reproduced under the same conditions).  Validity refers to whether a measurement is accurate (i.e., the results represent what was supposed to be measured). For example, when investigating linguistic and cultural guidelines for administration of the Preschool Language Scales, Fifth Edition (PLS5) in Arab-American preschool children, the normative sample curves should show the same distribution as a monolingual population, which would indicate that the test is valid. The test would be considered reliable if the results obtained were consistent across different sampling sites.

What tense is used to write the methods section? +

The methods section is written in the past tense because it describes what was done.

What software programs are recommended for statistical analysis? +

Recommended programs include Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) ,  Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) ,  JMP ,  R software,  MATLAB , Microsoft Excel,  GraphPad Prism , and  Minitab .

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How To Write The Methodology Chapter

The what, why & how explained simply (with examples).

By: Jenna Crossley (PhD) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021 (Updated April 2023)

So, you’ve pinned down your research topic and undertaken a review of the literature – now it’s time to write up the methodology section of your dissertation, thesis or research paper . But what exactly is the methodology chapter all about – and how do you go about writing one? In this post, we’ll unpack the topic, step by step .

Overview: The Methodology Chapter

  • The purpose  of the methodology chapter
  • Why you need to craft this chapter (really) well
  • How to write and structure the chapter
  • Methodology chapter example
  • Essential takeaways

What (exactly) is the methodology chapter?

The methodology chapter is where you outline the philosophical underpinnings of your research and outline the specific methodological choices you’ve made. The point of the methodology chapter is to tell the reader exactly how you designed your study and, just as importantly, why you did it this way.

Importantly, this chapter should comprehensively describe and justify all the methodological choices you made in your study. For example, the approach you took to your research (i.e., qualitative, quantitative or mixed), who  you collected data from (i.e., your sampling strategy), how you collected your data and, of course, how you analysed it. If that sounds a little intimidating, don’t worry – we’ll explain all these methodological choices in this post .

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101

Why is the methodology chapter important?

The methodology chapter plays two important roles in your dissertation or thesis:

Firstly, it demonstrates your understanding of research theory, which is what earns you marks. A flawed research design or methodology would mean flawed results. So, this chapter is vital as it allows you to show the marker that you know what you’re doing and that your results are credible .

Secondly, the methodology chapter is what helps to make your study replicable. In other words, it allows other researchers to undertake your study using the same methodological approach, and compare their findings to yours. This is very important within academic research, as each study builds on previous studies.

The methodology chapter is also important in that it allows you to identify and discuss any methodological issues or problems you encountered (i.e., research limitations ), and to explain how you mitigated the impacts of these. Every research project has its limitations , so it’s important to acknowledge these openly and highlight your study’s value despite its limitations . Doing so demonstrates your understanding of research design, which will earn you marks. We’ll discuss limitations in a bit more detail later in this post, so stay tuned!

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methods for bachelor thesis

How to write up the methodology chapter

First off, it’s worth noting that the exact structure and contents of the methodology chapter will vary depending on the field of research (e.g., humanities, chemistry or engineering) as well as the university . So, be sure to always check the guidelines provided by your institution for clarity and, if possible, review past dissertations from your university. Here we’re going to discuss a generic structure for a methodology chapter typically found in the sciences.

Before you start writing, it’s always a good idea to draw up a rough outline to guide your writing. Don’t just start writing without knowing what you’ll discuss where. If you do, you’ll likely end up with a disjointed, ill-flowing narrative . You’ll then waste a lot of time rewriting in an attempt to try to stitch all the pieces together. Do yourself a favour and start with the end in mind .

Section 1 – Introduction

As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the methodology chapter should have a brief introduction. In this section, you should remind your readers what the focus of your study is, especially the research aims . As we’ve discussed many times on the blog, your methodology needs to align with your research aims, objectives and research questions. Therefore, it’s useful to frontload this component to remind the reader (and yourself!) what you’re trying to achieve.

In this section, you can also briefly mention how you’ll structure the chapter. This will help orient the reader and provide a bit of a roadmap so that they know what to expect. You don’t need a lot of detail here – just a brief outline will do.

The intro provides a roadmap to your methodology chapter

Section 2 – The Methodology

The next section of your chapter is where you’ll present the actual methodology. In this section, you need to detail and justify the key methodological choices you’ve made in a logical, intuitive fashion. Importantly, this is the heart of your methodology chapter, so you need to get specific – don’t hold back on the details here. This is not one of those “less is more” situations.

Let’s take a look at the most common components you’ll likely need to cover. 

Methodological Choice #1 – Research Philosophy

Research philosophy refers to the underlying beliefs (i.e., the worldview) regarding how data about a phenomenon should be gathered , analysed and used . The research philosophy will serve as the core of your study and underpin all of the other research design choices, so it’s critically important that you understand which philosophy you’ll adopt and why you made that choice. If you’re not clear on this, take the time to get clarity before you make any further methodological choices.

While several research philosophies exist, two commonly adopted ones are positivism and interpretivism . These two sit roughly on opposite sides of the research philosophy spectrum.

Positivism states that the researcher can observe reality objectively and that there is only one reality, which exists independently of the observer. As a consequence, it is quite commonly the underlying research philosophy in quantitative studies and is oftentimes the assumed philosophy in the physical sciences.

Contrasted with this, interpretivism , which is often the underlying research philosophy in qualitative studies, assumes that the researcher performs a role in observing the world around them and that reality is unique to each observer . In other words, reality is observed subjectively .

These are just two philosophies (there are many more), but they demonstrate significantly different approaches to research and have a significant impact on all the methodological choices. Therefore, it’s vital that you clearly outline and justify your research philosophy at the beginning of your methodology chapter, as it sets the scene for everything that follows.

The research philosophy is at the core of the methodology chapter

Methodological Choice #2 – Research Type

The next thing you would typically discuss in your methodology section is the research type. The starting point for this is to indicate whether the research you conducted is inductive or deductive .

Inductive research takes a bottom-up approach , where the researcher begins with specific observations or data and then draws general conclusions or theories from those observations. Therefore these studies tend to be exploratory in terms of approach.

Conversely , d eductive research takes a top-down approach , where the researcher starts with a theory or hypothesis and then tests it using specific observations or data. Therefore these studies tend to be confirmatory in approach.

Related to this, you’ll need to indicate whether your study adopts a qualitative, quantitative or mixed  approach. As we’ve mentioned, there’s a strong link between this choice and your research philosophy, so make sure that your choices are tightly aligned . When you write this section up, remember to clearly justify your choices, as they form the foundation of your study.

Methodological Choice #3 – Research Strategy

Next, you’ll need to discuss your research strategy (also referred to as a research design ). This methodological choice refers to the broader strategy in terms of how you’ll conduct your research, based on the aims of your study.

Several research strategies exist, including experimental , case studies , ethnography , grounded theory, action research , and phenomenology . Let’s take a look at two of these, experimental and ethnographic, to see how they contrast.

Experimental research makes use of the scientific method , where one group is the control group (in which no variables are manipulated ) and another is the experimental group (in which a specific variable is manipulated). This type of research is undertaken under strict conditions in a controlled, artificial environment (e.g., a laboratory). By having firm control over the environment, experimental research typically allows the researcher to establish causation between variables. Therefore, it can be a good choice if you have research aims that involve identifying causal relationships.

Ethnographic research , on the other hand, involves observing and capturing the experiences and perceptions of participants in their natural environment (for example, at home or in the office). In other words, in an uncontrolled environment.  Naturally, this means that this research strategy would be far less suitable if your research aims involve identifying causation, but it would be very valuable if you’re looking to explore and examine a group culture, for example.

As you can see, the right research strategy will depend largely on your research aims and research questions – in other words, what you’re trying to figure out. Therefore, as with every other methodological choice, it’s essential to justify why you chose the research strategy you did.

Methodological Choice #4 – Time Horizon

The next thing you’ll need to detail in your methodology chapter is the time horizon. There are two options here: cross-sectional and longitudinal . In other words, whether the data for your study were all collected at one point in time (cross-sectional) or at multiple points in time (longitudinal).

The choice you make here depends again on your research aims, objectives and research questions. If, for example, you aim to assess how a specific group of people’s perspectives regarding a topic change over time , you’d likely adopt a longitudinal time horizon.

Another important factor to consider is simply whether you have the time necessary to adopt a longitudinal approach (which could involve collecting data over multiple months or even years). Oftentimes, the time pressures of your degree program will force your hand into adopting a cross-sectional time horizon, so keep this in mind.

Methodological Choice #5 – Sampling Strategy

Next, you’ll need to discuss your sampling strategy . There are two main categories of sampling, probability and non-probability sampling.

Probability sampling involves a random (and therefore representative) selection of participants from a population, whereas non-probability sampling entails selecting participants in a non-random  (and therefore non-representative) manner. For example, selecting participants based on ease of access (this is called a convenience sample).

The right sampling approach depends largely on what you’re trying to achieve in your study. Specifically, whether you trying to develop findings that are generalisable to a population or not. Practicalities and resource constraints also play a large role here, as it can oftentimes be challenging to gain access to a truly random sample. In the video below, we explore some of the most common sampling strategies.

Methodological Choice #6 – Data Collection Method

Next up, you’ll need to explain how you’ll go about collecting the necessary data for your study. Your data collection method (or methods) will depend on the type of data that you plan to collect – in other words, qualitative or quantitative data.

Typically, quantitative research relies on surveys , data generated by lab equipment, analytics software or existing datasets. Qualitative research, on the other hand, often makes use of collection methods such as interviews , focus groups , participant observations, and ethnography.

So, as you can see, there is a tight link between this section and the design choices you outlined in earlier sections. Strong alignment between these sections, as well as your research aims and questions is therefore very important.

Methodological Choice #7 – Data Analysis Methods/Techniques

The final major methodological choice that you need to address is that of analysis techniques . In other words, how you’ll go about analysing your date once you’ve collected it. Here it’s important to be very specific about your analysis methods and/or techniques – don’t leave any room for interpretation. Also, as with all choices in this chapter, you need to justify each choice you make.

What exactly you discuss here will depend largely on the type of study you’re conducting (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods). For qualitative studies, common analysis methods include content analysis , thematic analysis and discourse analysis . In the video below, we explain each of these in plain language.

For quantitative studies, you’ll almost always make use of descriptive statistics , and in many cases, you’ll also use inferential statistical techniques (e.g., correlation and regression analysis). In the video below, we unpack some of the core concepts involved in descriptive and inferential statistics.

In this section of your methodology chapter, it’s also important to discuss how you prepared your data for analysis, and what software you used (if any). For example, quantitative data will often require some initial preparation such as removing duplicates or incomplete responses . Similarly, qualitative data will often require transcription and perhaps even translation. As always, remember to state both what you did and why you did it.

Section 3 – The Methodological Limitations

With the key methodological choices outlined and justified, the next step is to discuss the limitations of your design. No research methodology is perfect – there will always be trade-offs between the “ideal” methodology and what’s practical and viable, given your constraints. Therefore, this section of your methodology chapter is where you’ll discuss the trade-offs you had to make, and why these were justified given the context.

Methodological limitations can vary greatly from study to study, ranging from common issues such as time and budget constraints to issues of sample or selection bias . For example, you may find that you didn’t manage to draw in enough respondents to achieve the desired sample size (and therefore, statistically significant results), or your sample may be skewed heavily towards a certain demographic, thereby negatively impacting representativeness .

In this section, it’s important to be critical of the shortcomings of your study. There’s no use trying to hide them (your marker will be aware of them regardless). By being critical, you’ll demonstrate to your marker that you have a strong understanding of research theory, so don’t be shy here. At the same time, don’t beat your study to death . State the limitations, why these were justified, how you mitigated their impacts to the best degree possible, and how your study still provides value despite these limitations .

Section 4 – Concluding Summary

Finally, it’s time to wrap up the methodology chapter with a brief concluding summary. In this section, you’ll want to concisely summarise what you’ve presented in the chapter. Here, it can be a good idea to use a figure to summarise the key decisions, especially if your university recommends using a specific model (for example, Saunders’ Research Onion ).

Importantly, this section needs to be brief – a paragraph or two maximum (it’s a summary, after all). Also, make sure that when you write up your concluding summary, you include only what you’ve already discussed in your chapter; don’t add any new information.

Keep it simple

Methodology Chapter Example

In the video below, we walk you through an example of a high-quality research methodology chapter from a dissertation. We also unpack our free methodology chapter template so that you can see how best to structure your chapter.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it – the methodology chapter in a nutshell. As we’ve mentioned, the exact contents and structure of this chapter can vary between universities , so be sure to check in with your institution before you start writing. If possible, try to find dissertations or theses from former students of your specific degree program – this will give you a strong indication of the expectations and norms when it comes to the methodology chapter (and all the other chapters!).

Also, remember the golden rule of the methodology chapter – justify every choice ! Make sure that you clearly explain the “why” for every “what”, and reference credible methodology textbooks or academic sources to back up your justifications.

If you need a helping hand with your research methodology (or any other component of your research), be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through every step of the research journey. Until next time, good luck!

methods for bachelor thesis

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  • What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Published on 25 February 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022.

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analysed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).

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Table of contents

How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, frequently asked questions about methodology.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .

It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.

You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.

Option 1: Start with your “what”

What research problem or question did you investigate?

  • Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
  • Explore an under-researched topic?
  • Establish a causal relationship?

And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?

  • Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
  • Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
  • Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?

Option 2: Start with your “why”

Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?

  • Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ?

Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .

Quantitative methods

In order to be considered generalisable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.

Here, explain how you operationalised your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion/exclusion criteria, as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.

Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.

  • How did you design the questionnaire?
  • What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
  • Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • What was your sample size and response rate?

Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment ?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
  • What tools did you use?

Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced?
  • What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.

The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on 4–8 July 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.

Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

Qualitative methods

In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.

Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)

Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many participants took part?
  • What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
  • How long were the interviews?
  • How were they recorded?

Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .

  • What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
  • How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?

Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.

  • What type of materials did you analyse?
  • How did you select them?

In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness shop’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.

Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.

Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.

Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods here.

Next, you should indicate how you processed and analysed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.

In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:

  • How you prepared the data before analysing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
  • Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
  • Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).

Specific methods might include:

  • Content analysis : Categorising and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
  • Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context

Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.

Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .

  • Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviours, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
  • Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalised beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
  • Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalisable.

Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.

1. Focus on your objectives and research questions

The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives  and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .

2. Cite relevant sources

Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:

  • Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
  • Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
  • Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature

3. Write for your audience

Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.

Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your objectives.

Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyse data (e.g. interviews, experiments , surveys , statistical tests ).

In a dissertation or scientific paper, the methodology chapter or methods section comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to test a hypothesis by systematically collecting and analysing data, while qualitative methods allow you to explore ideas and experiences in depth.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research.

For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

Statistical sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. There are various sampling methods you can use to ensure that your sample is representative of the population as a whole.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved 9 April 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/methodology/

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Guide for Thesis Research

  • Introduction to the Thesis Process
  • Project Planning
  • Literature Review
  • Theoretical Frameworks
  • Research Methodology
  • GC Honors Program Theses
  • Thesis Submission Instructions This link opens in a new window
  • Accessing Guilford Theses from 1898 to 2020 This link opens in a new window

Basics of Methodology

Research is a process of inquiry that is carried out in a pondered, organized, and strategic manner. In order to obtain high quality results, it is important to understand methodology.

Research methodology refers to how your project will be designed, what you will observe or measure, and how you will collect and analyze data. The methods you choose must be appropriate for your field and for the specific research questions you are setting out to answer.

A strong understanding of methodology will help you:

  • apply appropriate research techniques
  • design effective data collection instruments
  • analyze and interpret your data
  • develop well-founded conclusions

Below, you will find resources that mostly cover general aspects of research methodology. In the left column, you will find resources that specifically cover qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research.

General Works on Methodology

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Qualitative Research

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Quantitative Research

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Mixed Methods Research

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  • Last Updated: Jan 23, 2024 4:31 PM
  • URL: https://library.guilford.edu/thesis-guide

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
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SciSpace Resources

What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples

Madalsa

Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.

title-page-of-a-thesis

Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.

Abstract-section-of-a-thesis

This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.

Acknowledgments

Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.

Acknowledgement-section-of-a-thesis

This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.

Table-of-contents-of-a-thesis

By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.

List-of-tables-and-figures-in-a-thesis

It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.

Introduction

Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.

Introduction-section-of-a-thesis

  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.

Literature-review-section-thesis

It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.

Methodology

In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.

Methodology-section-thesis

Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.

Results-section-thesis

Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.

Conclusion-section-thesis

Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.

References-section-thesis

In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.

Appendices-section-thesis

Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.

Glossary-section-of-a-thesis

By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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methods for bachelor thesis

How to Write a Bachelor’s Thesis: A Step-by-Step Guide

Mimir Mentor graduated illustration

The bachelor’s degree is an important milestone in your academic life, and creating a successful bachelor’s thesis is an essential part of this process.

Although it can be a challenge, with a structured approach and a clear timetable, a well-researched, informed, and organized bachelor’s thesis can be created.

In this article, we explain how to write a bachelor’s thesis.

11 Facts About Bachelor’s Theses

  • The average length of a bachelor’s thesis is about 30-60 pages.
  • Most bachelor’s theses are written in the field of economics.
  • The average processing time for a bachelor’s thesis is 3-6 months.
  • Typically, bachelor’s theses are supervised by a professor or lecturer.
  • Most bachelor’s theses are still written and submitted on paper.
  • A bachelor’s thesis is always written within the framework of a study program and is an important part of the degree completion.
  • The topic selection for a bachelor’s thesis is usually free, as long as it falls within the field of study.
  • Adherence to citation rules and source references is an important part of a bachelor’s thesis.
  • Submission of a bachelor’s thesis is usually combined with an oral examination.
  • The bachelor’s thesis is the first longer scientific work that a student writes during their studies and therefore represents an important hurdle.
  • In 2021, approximately 260,000 students achieved their bachelor’s degree.

Scientific Formulations in Minutes Seconds

11 Tips for Academic Writing (Bachelor’s Theses)

  • Start your bachelor’s thesis early to have enough time for research, writing, and revision.
  • Choose an interesting and relevant topic that fits well with your field of study.
  • Create a detailed work plan to keep track of your steps and deadlines.
  • Use trustworthy and current sources to underpin your work.
  • Write clearly and precisely, avoid using unnecessarily complicated sentences.
  • Use a consistent citation style and pay attention to the correct source citation.
  • Logically structure your bachelor’s thesis and ensure that the common thread is recognizable.
  • Revise and polish your work multiple times to ensure that it is free from spelling and grammar errors.
  • Have your work read by others and seek feedback to recognize areas for improvement.
  • Consider publishing your bachelor’s thesis to make it accessible to others and to present your work.
  • Have your text scientifically rephrased by Mimir. Sample input : Potatoes are healthy… ➔ Result : Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals and can contribute to a balanced diet.

The Process of Writing a Bachelor’s Thesis: Step by Step Guide

The writing process of a bachelor’s thesis is a challenge for many students. In this section, we give an overview of the most important steps and tips to successfully master the process.

  • Determine the topic of the bachelor’s thesis and discuss it with the supervisor.
  • Conduct comprehensive research and collect relevant sources.
  • Create an outline and divide the topic into individual sections.
  • Write the main part of the paper by processing and summarizing the insights gained from the research.
  • Compose the concluding part, summarizing the main findings of the work and outlining possible further steps or implications.
  • Proofread the work and check for formal requirements.
  • Submit and defend the bachelor’s thesis.

Choosing a Topic: How to Find the Perfect Topic for Your Bachelor’s Thesis

The first step in creating a bachelor’s thesis is selecting the topic. It’s important that your topic is specific and answers a clear research question. If your topic is too general, it will be harder to achieve meaningful results.

Why is the topic important?

An interesting and relevant topic not only captivates your readers but also gives you the motivation to successfully complete the work.

The topic of your bachelor’s thesis is crucial for the success of your work.

A difficult or boring topic, on the other hand, can lead to you finding the writing process frustrating and ultimately not successfully completing the work. Therefore, it’s important to think carefully about which topic you choose for your bachelor’s thesis.

If you have difficulty finding a topic, you can turn to your supervisors and present your ideas to them.

Research & Study: The Right Way to the Perfect Bachelor’s Thesis

Once the topic is set, it’s time to collect the necessary information. This can be done by searching through libraries and databases, reading specialist literature, and interviewing experts. It’s important to carefully organize and document the collected information so that it’s easily accessible when writing the work.

It’s also important that your sources are current, as research and opinions in your subject area are constantly changing.

Possible Sources

  • Academic Publications
  • Professional Journals
  • Reputable Websites (you should consult your supervisor beforehand)

Structure: Setup and Organization of the Bachelor Thesis

It is important to have a clear structure for your bachelor thesis. This should include an introduction, a main part, and a conclusion. Within the main part, you can divide your arguments into different sections. This helps you to structure your thought process and ensure a smooth and logical flow.

Introduction

  • Summary of the research thesis
  • Definition of the main terms
  • Explanation of the research question and area of interest
  • Conduct literature research
  • Develop arguments and hypotheses
  • Draw conclusions and results
  • Cite sources
  • Summary of the results
  • Comparison of hypotheses and results
  • Explanation of the implications of the results
  • Recommendations for further research

Writing: Tips and Tricks for the Writing Process

After you have completed your research and established your structure, it is time to write.

It is important that you write your work in simple, academic German/English.

Avoid using too many technical terms and ensure that each sentence conveys a clear thought.

Compose a clear introduction that explains your topic and presents your argumentation. In the main part of your work, you should provide your arguments and examples to prove your thesis. Make sure that your arguments are logical and understandable.

  • Write a simple and clear introduction
  • Compose the main part of your work
  • Ensure that each sentence conveys a clear thought
  • Provide your arguments and examples to prove your thesis
  • Ensure logical and understandable argumentation
  • Avoid too many technical terms
  • Avoid vague formulations
  • Avoid subjective opinions

Tip: Let Mimir formulate your bullet point ( Example input : Running is great ➔ Result (1/3) : Running is a healthy and effective form of physical activity that can contribute to improving cardiovascular fitness, mobility, and mental health.)

Formatting: How to Properly Format Your Bachelor Thesis

It is important that you adhere to your university’s guidelines when formatting your bachelor thesis. Check the requirements for margins, line spacing, font size, and font type prescribed by your university.

It is also important to format your work consistently to achieve a professional look.

  • Adhere to your university’s guidelines
  • Check margins, line spacing, font size, and font type
  • Consistently format your work
  • Create a professional layout

Citing and Referencing: Rules for Citing and Referencing in the Bachelor Thesis

When referring to the ideas of other authors in your work, it is important to cite and reference them correctly. There are various citation styles you can use, but most universities use the Harvard or APA style.

Make sure to properly cite and reference all sources you refer to, to avoid plagiarism.

  • Use the Harvard or APA style
  • Cite and reference all sources you refer to
  • Avoid plagiarism

Proofreading: Error Sources and Tips for a Flawless Bachelor Thesis

After you have written your bachelor thesis, it is important to thoroughly review it. Check the content for correct grammar, spelling, and structure. Also ensure that your arguments are clear and logical and that your statements are supported by your research.

It is important to proofread and edit your work several times. Make sure to correct all spelling and grammar errors so that your work looks professional.

  • Read your work aloud to detect errors in grammar, sentence structure, and pronunciation.
  • Use a dictionary or an online proofreading program to find errors in spelling and punctuation.
  • Have someone else read your work and ask for feedback to gain additional perspectives and suggestions for improvement.
  • Carefully review and revise your work to improve its quality and content. This can be done by adding examples, removing unnecessary information, or refining arguments.

Tip: Have your text checked by Mimir (Unscientific words, gender conformity, and more…)

Submission: How to Safely Submit and Defend Your Bachelor Thesis

Writing a bachelor thesis can be a challenging task, but if you follow the steps mentioned above, you will complete your work in a professional manner.

Don’t forget to adhere to the guidelines of your university.

Once you have reviewed and revised your bachelor’s thesis, it’s time to submit it. Make sure your work meets the requirements of your examiner and contains the correct information. If possible, have a friend or family member review it before you submit it.

Earning a bachelor’s degree is a great achievement, and creating a successful bachelor’s thesis is an essential part of this process. Remember, choosing a topic, conducting research, and writing a bachelor’s thesis can be a laborious process. However, if you have a clear schedule and follow the steps mentioned above, you can create a well-researched, informed, and organized bachelor’s thesis.

And last but not least: Congratulations!

Two Practical Examples of the Process

To better understand the steps and tips mentioned above, here are two examples from different academic areas:

  • A psychology student writes a bachelor’s thesis on the effects of social media on the mental health of adolescents. She chooses this topic because it combines her personal interest and her expertise in psychology. She gathers information by reading textbooks and conducting interviews with adolescents and experts. She creates an outline consisting of an introduction, three main chapters, and a conclusion, and writes her paper accordingly. She makes sure to use quotes and references and to adhere to the APA formatting requirements. Finally, she carefully corrects her work and has it read by her teacher and a fellow student for improvement suggestions.
  • A computer science student writes a bachelor’s thesis on the development of a new algorithm for machine learning. He chooses this topic because it reflects his expertise in computer science and his curiosity about new technologies. He gathers information by reading academic articles and communicating with other experts in his field. He creates an outline consisting of an introduction, three main chapters, a section on results, and a conclusion, and writes his paper accordingly. He makes sure to use citations and references and to adhere to the IEEE formatting requirements. Finally, he carefully corrects his work and has it read by his supervisor and a reviewer from a professional journal for improvement suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start writing a bachelor’s thesis.

Before you start writing your bachelor’s thesis, you should first plan the topic and structure of the paper. This also includes researching relevant sources and creating an outline. Once you have an overview of the structure of the paper, you can start writing.

How quickly can you write a bachelor’s thesis?

The duration of writing a bachelor’s thesis can vary greatly and depends on various factors, such as the complexity of the topic, the size of the paper, and the time spent on research. However, you should generally plan several weeks or even months for the actual writing of a bachelor’s thesis.

How do you properly write a bachelor’s thesis?

1. Start by selecting an interesting and relevant topic for your bachelor’s thesis. 2. Create a clear and detailed research plan that outlines the goals, methods, and timeline for your work. 3. Gather comprehensive and reliable sources to support your arguments and substantiate your theses. 4. Compose a clear and structured introduction that highlights the topic and significance of your work. 5. Develop your arguments in the main chapters of your bachelor’s thesis and use examples and evidence to support your statements. 6. Conclude your findings and conclusion in a conclusive and detailed section that summarizes the significance and implications of your work. 7. Thoroughly correct and revise your bachelor’s thesis to ensure it is logical, coherent, and error-free.

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Thesis Writing for Master's and Ph.D. Program pp 141–151 Cite as

Methods and Materials in a Thesis

  • Sanjay Gupta 3  
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Vikram Kate

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Topscriptie

Writing your thesis method section

Many students have trouble writing a proper method section for their thesis. What bits of information should be included in this section, and what bits shouldn’t? It obviously matters whether you’re pursuing a vocational or academic degree (and in what direction), but the following practical tips should get you well on the way to properly describing your research methods. We wish you good luck on writing your thesis’ method section!

Introduction

The purpose of your thesis’ method section is to describe what you’ve investigated and how you’ve conducted your investigation. The section often consists of several specific sub-sections and is intended to allow a reader to repeat (replicate) your study, so don’t forget to include all relevant details.

Firstly, it is a good idea to describe what specific research methods were used in your study, and what the (dis)advantages of those methods are. For the qualitative research method of interviews, there are multiple types, such as in-depth interviews, structured interviews and semi-structured interviews. Eventually, your supervisors will not only determine your grade based on whether you’ve made the right choices or not, but more so on whether you’ve correctly justified making these choices (so, it’s important to keep the purpose of your study in the back of your mind).

A solid textbook that covers research methods can really help write the section properly, especially if the book focuses on a method of research that you’ve used in your study. However, a common error is to paraphrase general descriptions from the textbook instead of applying them to your own study. These days, your supervisors will also grade you based on the  reasoning  behind decisions you’ve made about what to focus your study on, and not just on the decisions themselves. So, convince your audience by providing arguments in favor of the choices you’ve made.

 Use  past tense  when writing your method section, as your study has already finished.

methods for bachelor thesis

A handy checklist for your method section

  • As an expert of your own study, you are obviously aware of all the details and know what was done and what not. However, you should realize that your audience knows nothing at all. So, it is important to be complete in your descriptions and clearly state what was done, and for what reason. To help you along the way, we’ve created a checklist that should allow you to make sure you’ve included the essentials in your method section:
  •  First, describe the  type of research  you’ve conducted. Some relevant jargon is: quantitative / qualitative, and explorative (descriptive) / experimental. Expand on your choices.
  •  Next, write about the  respondents  (sample / participants) of your study. Address who participated, and where you got your respondents from (e.g., via social media or a school board advertisement). Do not just provide the number of respondents and your arguments for settling on this number (which can be calculated), but also describe what inclusion and exclusion criteria you applied to select your respondents. It is especially important to also list your sample’s  demographic characteristics  (such as age, native country, profession, and so forth). You can include the final number of respondents in this section, but you can also include this in the results section’s first paragraph.
  •  Then, write about  when  your study took place: how long was your survey running? And during which months?
  •  Provide a description about the  reliability and validity  of the study, in which you explain what steps you took to keep these aspects of research as high as possible. Do not forget to include some bits about the generalizability of the study.
  • Also describe how many respondents there actually were (i.e., how many people actually finished the survey) and what methods you used to increase this. Several methods for increasing  response rates  are described in the literature; these mainly center on sending reminders, applying a personal approach to study recruitment and giving away monetary rewards or gifts.
  • It is also important to describe the  instruments  that were used in the study. For the instruments section, you should, for example, discuss the survey you’ve used and provide sufficient detail to your description. Ask these questions: How many questions did the survey consist of? What do the questions measure? What sources did you use to formulate your questions?  Here,  you can provide a reliability analysis (cronbach’s alpha) of your survey if you’d like.
  •  Next, describe the  procedure , which includes all steps that were undertaken to get your data and respondents. So, you should write something along the lines of:
  • “Firstly, an online survey was created, next e-mail addresses of candidate respondents were gathered using ….. Also, an e-mail with a hyperlink to the survey was sent. Reminder e-mails were sent”, and so forth.
  • You should not forget to, lastly, describe the  data analysis  (quantitative / qualitative) methods you’ve applied in your study. In this paragraph, you should explain what you’ve done with your data: usage of SPSS, steps undertaken for data cleaning, calculations of sum scores (for surveys), usage of specific statistical tests such as  t -tests, correlations and regressions, and so forth. For qualitative studies, you should include that you’ve transcribed and coded the data (and how you’ve done this).

 If applicable:

  • For academic theses, you should also include the design of your study: what were the dependent and independent variables? Were there certain conditions? It is common to summarize your hypotheses in a conceptual model.

methods for bachelor thesis

This page was written for all students who are writing their thesis, and it is therefore general and does not account for the specific details of your study and research. We’d love to help you write a great research method section.  Do you need help writing your method section?

Get in touch and we’ll happily provide you with more information!

Topscriptie has already helped more than 6,000 students!

Let us help you with your studies or graduation. Discover what we can do for you.

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Thesis tips

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How do I write an empirical bachelor's or master's thesis?

An empirical thesis is an academic research in which certain information and data from reality (experience = empiricism) are independently collected to answer a certain question.

There are copious types of data collection, such as surveys, interviews, observations, text analyses, experiments, test series, simulations and modifications of these methods.

What are the advantages of an empirical thesis?

  • Collect your own data
  • Personal contribution is clearly defined
  • Sometimes a higher grade is possible
  • Clear guidelines for action
  • Many methodological sources
  • Chance to show your creativity
  • You can learn more
  • You can gain reputation and credibility

What are the disadvantages of empirical work?

  • You are dependent on others
  • Time needed to learn new methods
  • More time may be required
  • Somewhat uncertain ending
  • Possibly a larger workload
  • Possible costs for interviews and experts

What does a topic for an empirical thesis look like?

Like other types of work. The difference lies in the data sources and methods. Try our topic trip.

What does an outline in an empirical thesis look like? What chapters does it contain?

The topic trip provides you with a complete sample layout that even includes page numbers per chapter.

  • Introduction
  • State of research
  • Methodology

What are the challenges of an empirical thesis and how do I overcome them?

1. you must locate a real research gap.

You have to ask a real question that has never been answered before in the way you plan to do so. To do this, you have to evaluate real scientific studies. Books are not proper sources, not even by a long shot. The studies are 95% in English, have their own unique terminology and require a lot of knowledge in the subject area because the analyses come from experts who have been researching such questions for a long time. So it’s best to first find the research gap because so much has already been researched. This is not easy even for experienced researchers.

The Thesis Guide takes you by the hand and leads you through this process step-by-step by providing an example topic. You absolutely MUST write a proposal. We can show you HOW and WHAT belongs in there!

2. You must work with new methods!

Most likely this is your first empirical analysis. The methods are new, you don’t have much time and you have to create a questionnaire or conduct an interview. But HOW???? You have to attract participants and collect data. But HOW????

The Thesis Guide provides you with an overview of the methods and detailed instructions for working with them. You also have concrete examples and templates of all kinds.

3. You must gain real NEW insight!

You cannot use old literature for writing your own findings. An empirical analysis is creative and you must add something new. Sometimes the NEW knowledge is apparently only clear at the end but not with us! The Thesis Guide will help you know from very early on with what the results and findings will be.

The Thesis Guide will help you see the end of the work right at the beginning, using proven patterns and examples for the beginning, guiding questions, detailed questions and formulation of objectives. This makes YOUR results clear, right from the start. It even makes work fun!

What is the best way to start an empirical thesis?

Start with the research question, topic and the appropriate sources! What answers are you looking for? Then follow this standardized procedure in the Aristolo Thesis Guide:

  • Write a proposal,
  • Specifically filter books and write theory chapters,
  • Survey the state of research by means of study evaluation and write chapters,
  • Consider and describe analytical methods (research methods),
  • Obtain and evaluate information, data and arguments from sources,
  • Gain new insight by means of analyses
  • Draw conclusions, write the chapter on results and complete the thesis.

How can the Aristolo Thesis Guide help with your empirical thesis?

The Thesis Guide helps by providing detailed descriptions of the contents of every chapter with micro questions, sample formulations, all kinds of aids, file templates for all kinds of tasks such as interview guidelines, questionnaire templates etc. Good luck writing your text!

Silvio and the Aristolo Team

PS: Check out the interactive Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.

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Service Learning in the Nursing Bachelor Thesis: A Mixed-Methods Study

Judith roca.

1 Department of Nursing and Physiotherapy, University of Lleida, 25003 Lleida, Spain

2 Health Care Research Group (GRECS), Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida, 80 Alcalde Rovira Roure St., 25198 Lleida, Spain

Silvia Gros Navés

Olga canet-velez.

3 Faculty of Health Sciences Blanquerna, University Ramon Llull, 08022 Barcelona, Spain

4 Global Health, Gender and Society Research Group (GHenderS), 326-332 Padilla St., 08025 Barcelona, Spain

Jordi Torralbas-Ortega

5 Nursing Care Research Group, Sant Pau Biomedical Research Institute (IIB SANT PAU), 08041 Barcelona, Spain

Glòria Tort-Nasarre

6 CAP Calaf. SAP ANOIA, Gerència Territorial Catalunya Central, Institut Català de la Salut (ICS), 25600 Lleida, Spain

7 AFIN, Research Group and Outreach Centre, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain

Tijana Postic

8 Igualada University Hospital, University of Lleida, 25003 Lleida, Spain

Laura Martínez

Associated data.

Data are contained within the article.

The Final Degree Project (FDP) is a module that, although intended for the completion of a bachelor thesis (BT), consists of theoretical and clinical teaching. Therefore, introducing service learning (SL) can support student adjustments to the real-world professional role. This study plans to evaluate a teaching innovation project that combines BT and SL through Kirkpatrick’s four-level model (reaction, learning, behaviour and results). It takes the form of a convergent parallel mixed-methods design study. The participants were 15 final-year students obtaining a Bachelor of Nursing degree, 4 BT supervising mentors and 4 nurses. At the request of a hospital institution, in their BT, students completed a review of evidence-based nursing protocols. For data collection, the researchers used: an SL questionnaire, student narratives, mentor field diaries and nurse interviews. According to student opinion, the results showed high satisfaction rates (4.44 out of 5), the most developed skills were Independent Work and Information Management, but they signal the need to reinforce the research methodology skills. Finally, positive feedback from all participants is that using SL promotes both the opinion that the BT is useful and also promotes a collaboration between academic and clinical settings.

1. Introduction

University education should be aimed at providing skills that give students a critical assimilation of information that allows them to be more autonomous, independent and self-regulated. That is, schooling that really enables them to learn how to learn [ 1 ]. In the academic context, the subject of the Final Degree Project (FDP) offers a relevant learning context and therefore an opportunity for the student to demonstrate the skills developed during nursing training [ 2 ]. This is a module that, although intended for the completion of a bachelor thesis (BT), consists of theoretical and clinical teaching and assesses the intended learning outcomes over the course of the degree [ 3 , 4 ]. In most European Union countries, this module is a compulsory part of the final year, totalling between 6 and 12 credits under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), depending on the course (equivalent to 150 to 300 h of study) [ 2 , 5 ]. However, not all international higher education institutions require nursing students to write a BT and sit the subsequent viva examination [ 6 ]. The BT should be based in the professional context of each degree title [ 7 ] and promote student adjustment to and awareness of the real-world professional role [ 8 ]. Consequently, it allows students to demonstrate their understanding [ 9 ] and see that what they have learned can be transferred to nursing practice [ 10 ].

Alongside the professional nursing environment, a teaching methodology that this frame of the BT can foster is that of service learning (SL). SL allows experience-based learning in a practical environment, combining academic learning with community care [ 11 ]. Several studies have demonstrated the advantages of SL in various aspects of the field of nursing, such as: in cultural regards [ 12 ]; in care and social responsibility or self-care [ 13 ], as well as the fostering of reciprocal learning in the student–community dyad [ 14 ]. This strategy promotes trust and motivation [ 15 ], and consequently, by training in “reality”, learning becomes experiential and meaningful [ 16 ].

There have been no studies found in the literature review that combine the BT and SL, although some successes have been noted in other sources, with the results showing improvements in competency [ 17 ]. It can be highlighted that, being the greatest representation of the acquired professional competencies of a graduand, the BT is the ideal learning space to carry out SL [ 2 , 3 ]. The student can perform a genuine act of service using more consolidated knowledge and under less supervision [ 18 ] and can give this acquired knowledge back to the community and the profession in the form of service.

A combined experience of the BT and SL, such as that detailed in this teaching innovation project, can support the development of another basic element: evidence-based practice within the nursing discipline. This would help to face situations from an optimally informed perspective, improving decision-making, nursing practice and patient outcomes [ 19 ]. Students can support professionals in overcoming some of the implementation barriers associated with evidence-based practice within clinical settings, such as those regarding technology and methodology [ 20 ]. Moreover, the potential of this teaching innovation project is based in the contextualisation that is achieved with the BT and SL, wherein the student learns evidence-based practice in the most theoretical academic environment and puts it into practice upon moving to the clinical context [ 21 ]. It is in the later years that students show more preparation and readiness to develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes related to evidence-based practices [ 22 ].

Finally, it should be noted that the Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model [ 23 ] will form the backbone of the evaluation for this learning method. The levels are: Level 1 (reaction), which facilitates the assessment of the key characteristics of the BT learning module; Level 2 (learning), which measures the skills and competencies acquired; Level 3 (behaviour), which evaluates if participants use acquired knowledge in context and Level 4 (results), which assesses the impact of training when moving to the workplace.

Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to evaluate a teaching innovation project that combines SL and BT through the Kirkpatrick’s four-level model (reaction, learning, behaviour and results).

2.1. Study Design

This study used a convergent parallel mixed-methods design [ 24 ]. In this research approach, quantitative and qualitative data are collected and analysed at the same time.

2.2. Description of the Teaching Innovation Project

During the planning of this teaching innovation project, a new type of BT was brought forward, which consisted of a revision of hospital protocol following evidence-based research criteria (see Supplementary Materials : Brief protocol development guidelines). In this way, the SL was incorporated with the BT.

Students were free to choose the type of their BT and the protocol they would develop. The IUH previously supplied a list of potential nursing protocols for revision according to their established needs.

Students chose their topic in October. During the writing process, they completed one tutorial session per month and met with expert nursing staff in the hospital to consult with them as needed. In May, each student handed in their BT, and in June, the live BT viva took place, as with all other students undertaking a BT module. Once the process was finalised, the completed project was delivered to the hospital institution for its final assessment.

2.3. Study Context

The framework for this investigation is the Final Degree Project (FDP) module, in which a BT is written during the fourth, and last, year of the Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Lleida’s Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy. It is worth 9 ECTS credits (225 h). In Spain, the Bachelor of Nursing degree lasts 4 years at 240 ECTS (roughly 6000 h), and this module is compulsory.

The Igualada University Hospital (IUH), the central hub of the Igualada campus, offered to act as the host service centre for the duration of this study. Students revised the nursing protocols at this hospital.

2.4. Study Participants

Participants were recruited through purposeful sampling of convenience specifically [ 25 ]. The participant eligibility criteria were as follows: participants must be students who will write a BT incorporating SL, they must participate voluntarily and they must be able to report on the various dimensions of the project. The clinical nurses were selected based on their expertise in each protocol specialty. The academic mentors formed the investigation group and were responsible for tutoring the students who had chosen this type of BT for their expertise in this SL methodology. In total, there were 23 participants: 15 nursing students, 4 mentors and 4 working nurses. All of the participants were women (23 out of 23). The mean age of the students was 21.78 years old (SD = 1.39); of the mentors, it was 50 years of age (SD = 4.5) and of the working nurses, the mean age was 41 years old (SD = 3.5). Regarding the mentors, 4 out of 6 had PhDs, and all of them had extensive teaching experience mentoring the BT (mean = 7.33 years, SD = 2.88). The working nurses were clinical professionals in a hospital institution, with a mean of 45 years’ work experience (SD = 15), and 6 out of 6 were educated to the Master’s or postgraduate level.

2.5. Data Collection

To assess this teaching innovation project, the following data collection plan was adhered to:

  • (1) Upon starting the module, students provided a narrative account of their expectations and again upon completion of the module to discuss whether they had met these expectations. At this final stage, they also completed a questionnaire about SL, created in Spanish and validated in an academic university context, the dimensions of which demonstrated adequate reliability (0.871–0.941) [ 26 ]. This questionnaire covered 6 dimensions and had 16 questions in total. However, to present the results of this study, only two of these dimensions were selected: general and soft skills (questions 7 and 8) and overall satisfaction (questions 13–16). The other questions referred directly to SL and were outside of the Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model [ 23 ]. In addition, the questionnaire contained 4 open questions to garner student opinions of their experience completing the BT, such as what completing this work meant to them, the experiment, meeting expectations and areas for improvement.
  • (2) During the process, the mentors measured the students’ progress through use of a field diary as a means of observing the experiment.
  • (3) Clinical nurses were interviewed by researchers. A semi-structured interview was carried out covering the following areas: assessment of the innovation, utility and strategies to improve the student–mentor–nurse working relationship.

Table 1 lists Kirkpatrick’s four levels alongside the associated data collection instruments and the time of collection. In total, 55 documents were analysed. Data collection ended in June 2022.

Summary of the instruments, participants and data collection following the Kirkpatrick model.

2.6. Data Analysis

For the quantitative analysis, the researchers used measures of central tendency (means and SDs) and percentages using IBM’s SPSS program (SPSS Statistics V24.0, IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). The qualitative analysis was performed using the content analysis technique [ 27 ] supported by the Atlas-ti V7 program. The units of analysis were selected, and for clarity and conciseness, the categories and themes were created afterwards.

To ensure that the credibility, dependability and transferability criteria were met [ 27 , 28 , 29 ], a series of actions took place during the qualitative analysis of the data: (1) the sampling of participants allowed for a diverse range of information and a response to the planning of the research; (2) the context and participants were reported on and (3) the research team reviewed the units of meaning and the abstraction, condensation and category creation processes.

2.7. Ethical Considerations

This study was assessed positively by the Research Commission at the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy at the University of Lleida and was granted permission to move forward by the IUH. Participants were asked for consent. Data confidentiality and anonymity were guaranteed throughout the entire study by assigning each document and participant an alphanumeric code.

3. Findings

The results were presented according to the four levels proposed by Kirkpatrick’s four-level model (reaction, learning, behaviour and results). Level 1 permits an evaluation of the key learning principles before and after completion of the BT according to student opinion. Table 2 details the results of the student narrative analysis (beginning and end).

Qualitative results matrix, Level 1 (participant student: PS).

In Level 2, learning is measured through acquired knowledge and skills and overall student satisfaction. The students rated both the skills they attained through the BT and their degree of involvement as 4.44 out of 5 (SD = 0.73) ( Table 3 ).

Quantitative results: satisfaction rates, Level 2 (students).

Note: * (M): median and (SD): standard deviation.

Table 4 details the most developed soft skills according to the students. Independent work and Information management are the two highest rated skills at 4.44.

Quantitative results: soft skills assessment, Level 2 (students).

Level 3 assesses whether students have applied their acquired knowledge or not and its utility in context. Table 5 details the results of the student narrative analysis in relation to the connected skills.

Qualitative results matrix, Level 3 (participant student: PS).

Finally, Level 4 involves assessing the impact of training. This section is rated by mentors and nurses. Table 6 presents the results of the field diaries of the teaching staff and of the nurse interviews.

Qualitative results matrix, Level 4 (participant nurse: PN and participant mentor: PM).

4. Discussion

This mixed-methods study presents its results by means of an evaluation of a teaching innovation project for a Bachelor of Nursing degree, which incorporates a SL teaching strategy in the BT writing process. For this, the Kirkpatrick’s four-level model (reaction, learning, behaviour and results) was used as a frame of reference. This model allows us to integrate different participants (students, mentors and working nurses) and different stages of learning into the analysis. It also simplifies the assessment of training programs and services [ 30 , 31 ].

Regarding Level 1 (reaction), students highlight the utility of the task, i.e., a revision of an evidence-based nursing protocol, by its relation to clinical practice and its potential for later use in healthcare. Some studies discuss BT typology [ 2 , 32 ], but the BT does not feature this. In this respect, as well as in the use of SL, is this project’s innovative nature. The use of SL reinforces the ongoing collaborative relationship between theory and practice [ 15 ]. Furthermore, according to Anderson, Boyd, Ariemma Marin and McNamara [ 33 ], SL bridges the gap between academic results and the inherent value of performed service. Another aspect that students highlight is the learning that has taken place, reinforcing the stance of Jefferies et al. [ 6 ], who claimed that writing a BT is an exercise in academic literacy. Moreover, in dealing with an evidence-based protocol, the SL strengthens two key aspects of the BT: professional development and the integration of evidence-based practice [ 34 ]. Offering different types of BT allows for a richer and more multifaceted approach in undergraduate nursing education [ 21 ].

Learning through acquired skills and knowledge, as well as student satisfaction, are measured in Level 2. Students highlight that their most developed skills are Independent Work, thereby enabling them to manage their own learning [ 35 ]. Other skills that are developed according to the students’ perceptions are related to those described by other authors, such as the ability to analyse and synthesise, search for and manage information, autonomous work, communication, critical reasoning and ethical commitment [ 36 ]. These results are consistent with those of other studies [ 2 , 8 , 10 , 37 ]. Furthermore, in Henttonen et al. [ 38 ] about expectations when writing a thesis, the nursing students hoped to obtain valuable knowledge for professional practice. In our study, they attained this knowledge, reflected by their high satisfaction rate, although the writing process generated anxiety and difficulty due to a specific lack of training [ 39 ].

Level 3 explores skills and their utility in context. Students feel that the BT allows them to apply a great deal of the knowledge and resources they have gathered during their degree, and therefore, it complies with the current Spanish legislation [ 40 ]. However, they note a lack of training in research and methodology skills. The process of writing a BT helps introduce students to scientific activities [ 41 ] and helps to develop a positive attitude towards research [ 42 ] by creating opportunities to do so [ 43 ]. Developing research and evidence-based practice skills during their nursing training helps students value the importance of research and its applications in clinical settings, resulting in positive patient outcomes [ 44 , 45 ], or for students who wish to work in research [ 46 ], it acts as an introduction to this option [ 38 ].

Finally, Level 4 measures the impact of training according to BT mentors and expert nurses assessing the performed work. Just like students, both working nurses and mentors highlight the utility of the project and the potential for collaboration. The BT offers the opportunity to develop research skills in a guided academic environment [ 47 ] and, in our case, also in a clinical setting, where nurses take part in the process alongside students. Ryan [ 43 ] emphasises the importance of ensuring nurses support students in their research. Furthermore, this type of BT offers students the possibility to take initiative and introduce small improvements to clinical nursing practices [ 46 ], motivates everyone involved in the process and allows for discipline-relevant topics to be discussed [ 48 ]. Finally, it is essential that any educational protocol promotes constructive interactions between participants (tutors and students) to achieve the learning outcomes proposed in a BT [ 49 ].

5. Conclusions

The results of this teaching innovation project combining the BT and SL demonstrates that all participants (students, mentors and working nurses) find it useful and that there are collaborative opportunities between academic and clinical practice and the potential for professional career advancement, as well as the possibility of improved student competency and future specialisation in the field of research and evidence-based practice. That said, however, the research methodology skills should be further developed within nursing training.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the translators and experts who helped them throughout the study, with special thanks to the nursing professionals and students who participated.

Supplementary Materials

The following supporting information can be downloaded at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10.3390/ijerph191912387/s1 : Protocol development guidelines.

Funding Statement

This research received external funding from the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy of the University of Lleida.

Author Contributions

Conceptualisation: L.M. and J.R.; methodology: L.M., J.R. and S.G.N.; software: L.M. and G.T.-N.; validation: O.C.-V.; formal analysis: S.G.N. and L.M.; resources: J.T.-O. and T.P.; data curation: L.M. and J.R.; writing—original draft preparation: J.T.-O., J.R., G.T.-N. and S.G.N.; writing—review and editing: S.G.N., J.R. and O.C.-V. and supervision: J.R. and L.M. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion

Published on September 6, 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on November 20, 2023.

The conclusion is the very last part of your thesis or dissertation . It should be concise and engaging, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your main findings, as well as the answer to your research question .

In it, you should:

  • Clearly state the answer to your main research question
  • Summarize and reflect on your research process
  • Make recommendations for future work on your thesis or dissertation topic
  • Show what new knowledge you have contributed to your field
  • Wrap up your thesis or dissertation

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Table of contents

Discussion vs. conclusion, how long should your conclusion be, step 1: answer your research question, step 2: summarize and reflect on your research, step 3: make future recommendations, step 4: emphasize your contributions to your field, step 5: wrap up your thesis or dissertation, full conclusion example, conclusion checklist, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about conclusion sections.

While your conclusion contains similar elements to your discussion section , they are not the same thing.

Your conclusion should be shorter and more general than your discussion. Instead of repeating literature from your literature review , discussing specific research results , or interpreting your data in detail, concentrate on making broad statements that sum up the most important insights of your research.

As a rule of thumb, your conclusion should not introduce new data, interpretations, or arguments.

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Depending on whether you are writing a thesis or dissertation, your length will vary. Generally, a conclusion should make up around 5–7% of your overall word count.

An empirical scientific study will often have a short conclusion, concisely stating the main findings and recommendations for future research. A humanities dissertation topic or systematic review , on the other hand, might require more space to conclude its analysis, tying all the previous sections together in an overall argument.

Your conclusion should begin with the main question that your thesis or dissertation aimed to address. This is your final chance to show that you’ve done what you set out to do, so make sure to formulate a clear, concise answer.

  • Don’t repeat a list of all the results that you already discussed
  • Do synthesize them into a final takeaway that the reader will remember.

An empirical thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:

A case study –based thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:

In the second example, the research aim is not directly restated, but rather added implicitly to the statement. To avoid repeating yourself, it is helpful to reformulate your aims and questions into an overall statement of what you did and how you did it.

Your conclusion is an opportunity to remind your reader why you took the approach you did, what you expected to find, and how well the results matched your expectations.

To avoid repetition , consider writing more reflectively here, rather than just writing a summary of each preceding section. Consider mentioning the effectiveness of your methodology , or perhaps any new questions or unexpected insights that arose in the process.

You can also mention any limitations of your research, but only if you haven’t already included these in the discussion. Don’t dwell on them at length, though—focus on the positives of your work.

  • While x limits the generalizability of the results, this approach provides new insight into y .
  • This research clearly illustrates x , but it also raises the question of y .

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You may already have made a few recommendations for future research in your discussion section, but the conclusion is a good place to elaborate and look ahead, considering the implications of your findings in both theoretical and practical terms.

  • Based on these conclusions, practitioners should consider …
  • To better understand the implications of these results, future studies could address …
  • Further research is needed to determine the causes of/effects of/relationship between …

When making recommendations for further research, be sure not to undermine your own work. Relatedly, while future studies might confirm, build on, or enrich your conclusions, they shouldn’t be required for your argument to feel complete. Your work should stand alone on its own merits.

Just as you should avoid too much self-criticism, you should also avoid exaggerating the applicability of your research. If you’re making recommendations for policy, business, or other practical implementations, it’s generally best to frame them as “shoulds” rather than “musts.” All in all, the purpose of academic research is to inform, explain, and explore—not to demand.

Make sure your reader is left with a strong impression of what your research has contributed to the state of your field.

Some strategies to achieve this include:

  • Returning to your problem statement to explain how your research helps solve the problem
  • Referring back to the literature review and showing how you have addressed a gap in knowledge
  • Discussing how your findings confirm or challenge an existing theory or assumption

Again, avoid simply repeating what you’ve already covered in the discussion in your conclusion. Instead, pick out the most important points and sum them up succinctly, situating your project in a broader context.

The end is near! Once you’ve finished writing your conclusion, it’s time to wrap up your thesis or dissertation with a few final steps:

  • It’s a good idea to write your abstract next, while the research is still fresh in your mind.
  • Next, make sure your reference list is complete and correctly formatted. To speed up the process, you can use our free APA citation generator .
  • Once you’ve added any appendices , you can create a table of contents and title page .
  • Finally, read through the whole document again to make sure your thesis is clearly written and free from language errors. You can proofread it yourself , ask a friend, or consider Scribbr’s proofreading and editing service .

Here is an example of how you can write your conclusion section. Notice how it includes everything mentioned above:

V. Conclusion

The current research aimed to identify acoustic speech characteristics which mark the beginning of an exacerbation in COPD patients.

The central questions for this research were as follows: 1. Which acoustic measures extracted from read speech differ between COPD speakers in stable condition and healthy speakers? 2. In what ways does the speech of COPD patients during an exacerbation differ from speech of COPD patients during stable periods?

All recordings were aligned using a script. Subsequently, they were manually annotated to indicate respiratory actions such as inhaling and exhaling. The recordings of 9 stable COPD patients reading aloud were then compared with the recordings of 5 healthy control subjects reading aloud. The results showed a significant effect of condition on the number of in- and exhalations per syllable, the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable, and the ratio of voiced and silence intervals. The number of in- and exhalations per syllable and the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable were higher for COPD patients than for healthy controls, which confirmed both hypotheses.

However, the higher ratio of voiced and silence intervals for COPD patients compared to healthy controls was not in line with the hypotheses. This unpredicted result might have been caused by the different reading materials or recording procedures for both groups, or by a difference in reading skills. Moreover, there was a trend regarding the effect of condition on the number of syllables per breath group. The number of syllables per breath group was higher for healthy controls than for COPD patients, which was in line with the hypothesis. There was no effect of condition on pitch, intensity, center of gravity, pitch variability, speaking rate, or articulation rate.

This research has shown that the speech of COPD patients in exacerbation differs from the speech of COPD patients in stable condition. This might have potential for the detection of exacerbations. However, sustained vowels rarely occur in spontaneous speech. Therefore, the last two outcome measures might have greater potential for the detection of beginning exacerbations, but further research on the different outcome measures and their potential for the detection of exacerbations is needed due to the limitations of the current study.

Checklist: Conclusion

I have clearly and concisely answered the main research question .

I have summarized my overall argument or key takeaways.

I have mentioned any important limitations of the research.

I have given relevant recommendations .

I have clearly explained what my research has contributed to my field.

I have  not introduced any new data or arguments.

You've written a great conclusion! Use the other checklists to further improve your dissertation.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

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Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples

Pre-requisites

INDG4001 - Indigenous Research Theory and Practice AND INDG4002 - Indigenous Research Thesis (Stage 1 of 3)

Unit description

Engages students in a staged thesis unit for the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge with Honours program. Students have the opportunity to complete a thesis under the guidance of a supervisor. This is the second of a series of thesis units for the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge with Honours (the other units are INDG4002 and INDG4004).

Unit content

With guidance from an academic supervisor, students will typically cover the following topics:

  • Planning and conducting a research project
  • Relevant methodologies and methods
  • Literature review
  • Thesis planning
  • Conducting the research project
  • Writing a draft thesis
  • Completing the thesis for submission.

Availabilities

Learning outcomes.

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes . The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

Analyse and interpret information via an Indigenous Knowledge framework

Utilise appropriate Indigenous research methodologies.

Teaching and assessment

Online (dual term), prescribed learning resources, dual term 3.

  • Prescribed text information is not currently available.
  • Prescribed resources/equipment information is not currently available.

Prescribed Learning Resources may change in future Teaching Periods.

Fee information

Commonwealth Supported courses For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts .

Fee paying courses For postgraduate or undergraduate full-fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees .

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Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.

Courses that offer this unit

Bachelor of indigenous knowledge with honours (2024), bachelor of indigenous knowledge with honours (2025), any questions we'd love to help.

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    Step 2: Summarize and reflect on your research. Step 3: Make future recommendations. Step 4: Emphasize your contributions to your field. Step 5: Wrap up your thesis or dissertation. Full conclusion example. Conclusion checklist. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about conclusion sections.

  24. INDG4003

    Engages students in a staged thesis unit for the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge with Honours program. Students have the opportunity to complete a thesis under the guidance of a supervisor. This is the second of a series of thesis units for the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge with Honours (the other units are INDG4002 and INDG4004).