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Research methodology chapter template
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What’s Included: Methodology Template

This template covers all the core components required in the research methodology chapter or section of a typical dissertation or thesis, including:

  • The opening section
  • The research design, including:
    • Research philosophy
    • Research type
    • Research strategy
    • Time horizon
    • Sampling strategy
    • Data collection methods
    • Data analysis methods
  • Conclusion & summary

The purpose of each section is explained in plain language, followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. The template also includes practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required, along with links to additional free resources (articles, videos, etc.) to help you along your research journey.

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

PS – if you’d like a high-level template for the entire thesis, you can we’ve got that too.

What format is the template (DOC, PDF, PPT, etc.)?

The methodology chapter template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?

The methodology template follows the standard format for academic research projects, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of dissertations and theses (especially those within the sciences), whether they adopt a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods approach. The template is loosely based on Saunders’ research onion, which is recommended as a methodological framework by many universities.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the methodology chapter/section will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalize your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the methodology chapter to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

How long should the methodology chapter be?

This can vary a fair deal, depending on the level of study (undergrad, Master or Doctoral), the field of research, as well as your university’s specific requirements. Therefore, it’s best to check with your university or review past dissertations from your program to get an accurate estimate. 

How detailed should my methodology be?

As a rule of thumb, you should provide enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study. This includes clear descriptions of procedures, tools, and techniques you used to collect and analyse your data, as well as your sampling approach.

How technical should my language be in this chapter?

In the methodology chapter, your language should be technical enough to accurately convey your research methods and processes, but also clear and precise to ensure it’s accessible to readers within your field.

Aim for a balance where the technical aspects of your methods are thoroughly explained without overusing jargon or overly complex language.

Should I include a pilot study in my methodology?

If you conducted a pilot study, you can include it in the methodology to demonstrate the feasibility and refinement of your methods. Be sure to obtain the necessary permissions from your research advisor before conducting any pilot studies, though. 

Can I share this template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, we kindly request that you reference this page as your source.

Do you have templates for the other chapters?

Yes, we do. We are constantly developing our collection of free resources to help students complete their dissertations and theses. You can view all of our template resources here.

Can Grad Coach help me with my methodology?

Yes, we can assist with your methodology chapter (or any other chapter) on a coaching basis. If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch to discuss our private coaching services.

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101