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ResMAP: Methodology

Mapping the research journey for Post Graduate and Doctoral Researchers


This stage of the process will be significant to the rest of your dissertation.

Your methodology will be guided by your research question, what you have found in the literature review and the aims and objectives of your research. You will need to understand the different approaches to research and the methods for data collection.

Examples of methodological approaches include:

    • Quantitative: based on measurement and data, usually analysed using statistical tests.
    • Qualitative: usually concerned with how people think and behave and why rather than measurement. Examples include phenomenology and ethnography.
    • Mixed Methods: usually a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches.
    • Experimental (Laboratory or Field)

Examples of methods for data collection include:

    • survey
    • questionnaire
    • interview
    • observation
    • focus group

Methods can be used in combination – for example: Focus Groups to establish a general group experience or attitude. Interviews can then be used to seek understanding of individual motivation.Use the library catalogue to identify resources on research methodologies and methods.Once you have selected your methodology, you will need to justify why you think this is the right one for your purpose. 

Your methodology should be logically presented to show:

    • The research question (or hypothesis) and the aims and objectives of your study
    • The theoretical basis for your research and justification of the chosen research design
    • The method or methods selected for data collection should be justified in terms of their relevance to the theoretical base of the project, their advantages and disadvantages
    • Sampling strategy and profile and size of samples, with a rationale for each
    • The design of chosen instrument, permissions for use where appropriate and piloting
    • Dependability and credibility; reliability and validity, demonstrating appropriateness to your design
    • Plan and rationale for analysis of data
Jeremy Bentham 1748 - 1832 English philospher

Ethics, Confidentiality and Anonymity

It is very important to give consideration to the ethical implications associated with your research. For further details of the University’s Research Ethical Framework visit:

Birmingham City University’s Research Ethical Framework

Birmingham City University: Guidelines and procedures for good research practice

Faculty of Health Research: Ethics and Indemnity