Writing a Good Thesis: What is Methodology?

You as a student have been writing for so long that you do not exactly know what something is. All you know is that the instructor or professor says “here is an assignment, go write it.” You have a research paper coming up and you see a word on there you do not know: Methodology.

So what is methodology?

Methodology is the way that data is collected for research. This entails four different ways of collecting data:


For an experiment, the most important item to remember is that there must be two types of groups: a control group and an uncontrolled. For example, in studies done about sleep patterns, there may be a group that sleeps with no noise and the other that gets quiet periods followed by loud noises. One is the control (the latter part) while the other is not.


A survey is a form that has a number of questions on it that deals with a particular subject. College students will use this one when they are on a deadline and need quick data. Nowadays, most schools have updates that can be sent out and there is an announcement from one student once a week asking for people to fill out a survey about a particular topic.

Archival Research:

In research papers, having researched through archives is important because that is where you will get all the background information that you will need in order to back up your claims and have the support for your argument. If a person is doing a topic on history in the area that they live, then this method would be the best because a lot of books throughout the local libraries will help them find out what they are looking for and if anything important has taken place.


This method is traditionally used in psychology experiments in order to gain data that would be beneficial to a long term study. For example, if someone decided to try and replicate Jean Piaget’s bobo doll theory, they would need to get a group of children that are in their toddler years, find a bobo doll, a television set and a video of someone hitting someone. Then the psychologist would sit and watch not only the children’s reaction to the video they are watching but also how afterwards they would hit the doll and with what objects.