How to Write a Nursing Dissertation Methodology in 4 Simple Steps

dissertation methodology

Introduction to Writing a Nursing Dissertation Methodology

By the end of this article, you’ll have known the answer to the question how to write a dissertation methodology.

Healthcare professionals often say that nursing isn’t just a profession; it’s a vocation. When it comes to writing a nursing dissertation, this sentiment holds true. It’s not just about putting words on paper—it’s about demonstrating your commitment to the field, showcasing your ability to conduct scholarly research, and contributing valuable knowledge to the nursing community.

Central to this process is understanding and effectively executing your nursing dissertation methodology. But what does that entail?  This article will provide a  guide to writing your dissertation methodology. Let’s dive in!

What Is a Research Methodology?

A research methodology is essentially the blueprint for your research project. It is the strategy or plan that guides the research process, from the formulation of your research question to the analysis and interpretation of your findings. The methodology section lays out the reasoning behind your chosen research methods and explains why these methods are the most suitable for answering your research question.

In nursing dissertation writing, your methodology is particularly crucial because it underpins the quality and integrity of your entire study. It covers the following areas:

Research Design

This is the overall strategy that dictates the methods used for data collection, measurement, and analysis. The design you choose depends on the type of research question and the nature of the data you need to answer it. In nursing research, common designs include experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental designs for quantitative studies; and phenomenological, grounded theory, and ethnographic designs for qualitative studies. You may also use a mixed-methods design, which combines elements of both quantitative and qualitative research.

Data Collection Methods

This pertains to the specific techniques you use to gather data. Depending on your research design, you might use surveys, interviews, observations, document analysis, or a combination of these. You need to describe your data collection methods in sufficient detail to enable other researchers to replicate your study.

Data Analysis Methods

This involves the procedures you use to process and interpret your data. For quantitative research, this could involve statistical analysis techniques such as t-tests, ANOVA, regression analysis, etc. For qualitative research might involve thematic analysis, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, etc.

Ethical Considerations

Research involving human participants must adhere to ethical principles to protect the rights, dignity, and welfare of the participants. This includes obtaining informed consent, ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, and minimizing harm to participants. In your methodology section, you should discuss the ethical considerations relevant to your study and how you addressed them.

Why Is a Methods Section Important?

The methods section of your dissertation or research paper serves several crucial purposes.


One of the hallmarks of robust research is that it can be reproduced by others. Providing a detailed methods section allows other researchers to replicate your study. This reproducibility is important for verifying results and advancing knowledge in the field.


When you write a methodology section, you ensure transparency in your research. It shows readers exactly how you conducted your research, which aids in building trust in your results. It also allows readers to evaluate the suitability and reliability of the methods you used.


The methods section is crucial for readers, including your reviewers or examiners, to evaluate your research. They can assess whether your methodological approach aligns with your research question, whether the methods are appropriate for the data you collected, and whether the research was carried out rigorously and ethically.


The methods section provides context for your findings. By understanding how data was collected and analyzed, readers can better interpret your results and the subsequent conclusions you draw.


Finally, a well-written methods section contributes to the overall comprehensiveness of your research paper or dissertation topic. It shows that you’ve considered all aspects of your research, from the overarching approach down to the fine details of data collection and analysis.

What Should My Dissertation Methodology Look Like?

The methodology section of your nursing dissertation or thesis is critical to establish the rigor and validity of your research. It should provide enough detail for the reader to understand exactly how you carried out your research and why you made the decisions you did. Here’s a more detailed look at what each section of your methodology might look like:


The introduction to your methodology should set the stage for the details to follow. Here, you’ll briefly overview what will be covered in this chapter. Importantly, this dissertation introduction should also establish the context for your methodological choices. What is the nature of your research problem? What are your research questions or hypotheses? By providing a snapshot of these, the reader will be better prepared to understand your methodological decisions.

Research Design

In this section, you’ll discuss the overarching design of your research. This involves explaining whether you’ve chosen a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods approach and why. You should also provide details about your specific research design (e.g., randomized controlled trial, case study, ethnography, etc.) and explain why this design is the most suitable for answering your research question(s).

Data Collection Methods

Here, you’ll delve into the specifics of how you collected your data. This involves describing the techniques you used (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations, etc.), the setting and participants of your study, and your procedures for data collection.

If you used instruments or tools for data collection, you should describe these in detail, including information about their validity and reliability. You should also discuss how you addressed ethical issues, such as obtaining informed consent, ensuring confidentiality, and minimizing harm.

Data Analysis Methods

In this section, you’ll describe how you processed and analyzed your data. This could involve detailing the statistical tests you used (for quantitative data) or the process of coding and theme development (for qualitative data). You should also discuss how you ensured the rigor of your analysis, such as steps taken to ensure the reliability and validity (or trustworthiness, in qualitative research) of your findings.


This is where you defend your methodological choices. Discuss why the methods you chose were the best for answering your research questions and why other methods were less suitable. This is also the place to acknowledge any limitations when you choose your methodology and discuss how you mitigated these or how they might impact your findings.


Finally, recap the main points of your methodology, reinforcing the thoughtfulness and rigor of your research design. This section should also smoothly transition into the next chapter of your dissertation, often the results or findings.

Remember, the key to a strong methodology section is detail – anyone reading your methodology should be able to replicate your study. Additionally, write in the past tense and use clear, concise language to ensure your methodology is as accessible as possible to your readers.

Common Types of Dissertation Methodology

The methodology chosen when you write a dissertation methodology will largely depend on the nature of your research question and the discipline in which you’re working. However, some common types of methodologies include:

Quantitative Methods

Quantitative research is about collecting numerical data and then converting it into information that can be used to make decisions. It involves the use of statistical, mathematical, or computational techniques.

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative research involves collecting non-numerical data. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research. It uses methods like interviews, participant observations, field notes, and open-ended survey questions.

Mixed Methods

As the name suggests, this methodology combines both qualitative and quantitative methods. The aim here is to draw on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of both approaches.

Experimental Research

This methodology involves the manipulation of variables to test a hypothesis. It’s commonly used in natural and social sciences.

Non-experimental Research

This methodology involves studying relationships as they naturally occur, without manipulating any variables. It can be observational (like cross-sectional or longitudinal studies) or comparative (like case-control or cohort studies).

Ethnographic Research

This is a qualitative methodology that involves studying people in their natural settings.

Case Studies

A case study methodology involves in-depth investigations of a single entity or small number of entities.

dissertation methodology

What Should My Dissertation Methodology Not Contain?

While it’s important to include a detailed account of your methods, there are certain things that your methodology should not contain:

  • Unnecessary Details: While it’s important to be thorough, you shouldn’t include unnecessary details that don’t directly contribute to the understanding of your research methods.
  • Results or Discussion: The methodology section should focus on your methods, not your findings or the implications of those findings. These should be reserved for the results and discussion sections of your postgraduate dissertation.
  • Unsupported Claims: Don’t make claims about the effectiveness or significance of your methods without providing evidence to support these claims.
  • Methods You Didn’t Use: If you considered some methods of research but didn’t use them, there’s no need to include them in your research philosophy. Stick to what you did, not what you didn’t do.
  • References to Unpublished Work: Only refer to published works or works in press. It’s important to make sure that your references are accessible to your readers.

Deciding on Your Dissertation Methodology

Deciding on your methodology involves considering a number of different factors. You’ll need to think about your research question, the nature of your data, the strengths and weaknesses of different methods, and the conventions of your discipline.

You should also consider the resources you have available, including time, equipment, and technical skills. It may be helpful to discuss your options with your supervisor or other experienced researchers in your field.

What Makes a Great Dissertation Methodology?

A great dissertation presentation methodology is clear, coherent, and logically structured. It provides enough detail for another researcher to reproduce your study, and it explains why the chosen methods were the most appropriate for your research question. It shows a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methods and provides a strong justification for your choices. It also adheres to ethical standards and guidelines for research in your field.


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Steps to Writing Your Dissertation Methodology

Writing a methodology for your nursing dissertation involves a series of well-thought-out steps. Here’s a more detailed look at what these steps might entail:

Step 1: Explain Your Methodological Approach

Your approach could be mixed, quantitative or qualitative methods, and it’s vital to justify why you chose it. You can start by outlining the methods you used (Option 1: “what”) or explaining the rationale behind your choice of methodology (Option 2: “why”). Both options should give a clear sense of what you did and why you did it.

Option 1: Outline the specific methods you used in your research. For example, did you use surveys, interviews, experiments, observations, or a combination of these? Provide a brief overview of these methods, but be prepared to delve into more detail in the next steps.

Option 2: Discuss why you chose the particular methodology for a dissertation that you did. For instance, you might explain why other methodologies were unsuitable for your research questions or objectives or how your dissertation research methodology aligns with your research aims and objectives.

Step 2: Describe Your Data Collection Methods

Next, you’ll need to provide a detailed account of your data collection process. This should involve a thorough description of the techniques you used, the population and sample, and how you addressed ethical considerations. Depending on your research, you could have used:

Quantitative Methods: These are structured and numerical, and might include surveys, questionnaires, or experiments.

Qualitative Methods: These are more subjective and exploratory, and might include interviews, focus groups, observations, or document analysis.

Mixed Methods: This is a combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods, allowing you to leverage the strengths of both approaches.

Step 3: Describe Your Data Analysis Method

After detailing your data collection process, you’ll need to explain how you analyzed your data. This could involve a variety of methods, depending on the nature of your data:

Quantitative Analysis: For numerical data, you might discuss statistical analysis techniques you used, such as correlation, regression, t-tests, ANOVA, etc.

Qualitative Analysis: For non-numerical data, you might detail how you conducted thematic analysis, content analysis, discourse analysis, or another form of qualitative analysis.

Mixed Methods Analysis: If you used both qualitative and quantitative methods, you would describe how you integrated and analyzed both types of data.

Step 4: Evaluate and Justify Your Methodological Choices

Finally, you should evaluate and justify your methodological decisions. Explain why the methods you chose were the most suitable for your research objectives and questions, and discuss any limitations that these methods might have. Also, explain how you addressed or mitigated these limitations. By doing this, you demonstrate a thorough understanding of your methodology and its implications for your research.

Remember, the goal of your methodology chapter is to provide a clear, comprehensive, and replicable description of your research process. Write your dissertation abstract in a way that allows others to understand and potentially replicate your study.

Tips for Writing a Strong Dissertation Methodology Chapter

Writing a strong methodology chapter in a dissertation is vital as it lays the foundation for your research. Here are some tips to help you strengthen this chapter:

Focus on Your Objectives and Research Questions

Your perfect methodology should align closely with your research objectives and questions. It should be designed in a way that allows you to effectively answer these questions. Consistently refer back to your objectives and questions to ensure that your chosen methods meet the demands of your study.

Cite Relevant Sources

When explaining and justifying your methodological choices, cite relevant scholarly sources. This can bolster the credibility of your decisions and demonstrate that your methods align with established research practices. It also shows that you have a firm understanding of the literature in your field.

Write for Your Audience

Your whole dissertation will be read by your committee, other scholars in your field, and potentially future students who may wish to replicate or build upon your research. Therefore, your methodology should be written in a clear and comprehensible way. Avoid unnecessary jargon and ensure your explanations are concise yet thorough.

Provide Detailed Descriptions

Be sure to detail your methods thoroughly. This includes how you collected and analyzed your data. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be for others to understand your research process.

Justify Your Methods

Make sure to explain why you chose certain methods over others. This justification should tie back to your research objectives and questions and explain why these methods are best suited to your study.

Address Limitations

Be honest about any limitations or potential weaknesses of your chosen methods. Discussing these limitations and how you’ve mitigated them can add credibility to your study and show that you’ve thought critically about your methodology.

Remember, a well-written methodology chapter can strengthen your overall dissertation by providing a clear and comprehensive guide to your research process.

Conclusion on Writing a Methodology for a Dissertation

Writing a nursing dissertation methodology is a critical step that requires careful planning and execution. The methodology section not only informs your readers about how you conducted your research but also demonstrates the validity and reliability of your study. Therefore, ensure you provide a clear, detailed, and well-justified account of your research methods, data collection, and data analysis procedures.

The methodology you choose should align with your research questions and objectives. Always remember to consider ethical issues related to your research and discuss how these were addressed. Lastly, acknowledge any limitations of your methodology to maintain the credibility of your research.

We understand that this process can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with complex nursing topics and strict deadlines. But don’t worry, help is just a click away. Our expert writers will provide nursing assignment help on dissertation methodology, helping you navigate through this demanding process. We offer personalized assistance to help you develop a robust methodology that meets the rigorous standards of nursing research. So why wait? Take the first step towards a successful dissertation today.

What Is a Dissertation Preface?

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing a Dissertation Methodology

What is the purpose of a methodology in a dissertation? 

The purpose of the methodology is to describe how the research was conducted, including the methods used, the data collection and analysis process, and the reasons for choosing these methods.

What is included in a methodology? 

A methodology includes your research design (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods), data collection methods (surveys, interviews, observations), data analysis methods (statistical analysis, thematic analysis), and ethical considerations.

How long should a methodology be? 

The length of a methodology can vary depending on the complexity of your research. However, it should be thorough enough to allow another researcher to replicate your study.

Can a dissertation be all qualitative research? 

Yes, a dissertation can be entirely based on qualitative research, especially when the research aims to explore phenomena in-depth, understand contexts, or interpret complex realities.

What’s the difference between method and methodology? 

Method refers to the specific tools and procedures used to collect and analyze data. Methodology, on the other hand, refers to the theory and systematic study of methods and how they should be applied. It includes the theoretical concepts that inform the choice and use of methods.

Where does the methodology section go in a research paper? 

The methodology section typically follows the literature review section and precedes the results section in a research paper.

What’s the difference between quantitative and qualitative methods? 

Quantitative methods involve numerical data and statistical analysis, while qualitative methods involve non-numerical data and analysis of themes, patterns, and meanings.

What’s the difference between reliability and validity? 

Reliability refers to the consistency of your measurements, while validity refers to the accuracy of your measurements.

What is sampling? 

Sampling is the process of selecting a subset of individuals from a population to participate in your study.

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