Past Event details

Writing your Methodology Section/Chapter: Writing about Research Methods in Journal Papers, Books and PhD Theses’

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Too often, the methodology section of a research paper, or the methods chapter in a PhD thesis, are the weakest parts of a manuscript. Yet, if we know how to write well about our research designs and our methodological choices, it should not only impress reviewers and examiners, but it could also open up a rich seam of additional publications and broaden the impact of your work across the social sciences and humanities.

Writing your Methodology/Section is aimed at PhD students, post-docs and junior researchers, and acts as a practical guide to the basics of writing about methods. Drawing on good (and bad) examples throughout, and interspersed with hands-on exercises, the course serves as an introduction to an often thorny academic skill for anyone new or newish to research writing.

The course covers:

  • Understanding research writing
  • Traditions in research writing
  • Disciplinary traditions
  • Methodological traditions
  • Online or in-print delivery?


Understanding your audience

  • Supervisors
  • Examiners
  • The scholarly community


Identifying the points of interest and points of departure

  • Unique contributions
  • Methodological innovations
  • Benchmarking from your research problematics
  • All research is unique (in some aspects) and all research is not unique in others


Explaining your key choices and decisions

  • Writing about research design
  • And knowing what can go unexplained


Drawing on the methodological literature

  • A lit review in miniature
  • Referring to methodological authorities


Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology and Methods

  • What, why, when?
  • The history of the method(ology)
  • Standpoint vs ideology vs philosophy


Writing about research ethics & ethical review boards

Showcasing your data and field experience

  • Understanding warrant
  • Using examples
  • Deploying evidence
  • Describing, as well as citing, your data


Understanding methods basics helps methods writing

  • Validity and reliability in writing (as well as in research)


Writing about methods elsewhere in your thesis/article

  • Introductions
  • Conclusions
  • The main body of your article/thesis


Common issues when writing about quantitative methods and statistics

Common issues when writing about qualitative methods

Good housekeeping in methodological writing

  • ‘Suggests’ not ‘shows’; ‘argues’ not ‘proves’ etc
  • ‘For example’ and ‘for instance’
  • Voice
  • Territorial-centrism, cultural-centrism, disciplinary and methodological-centrism
  • Over claiming and under claiming


Can you get a methods publication from your work?

About the author:

Patrick Brindle spent 15 years in academic publishing with Oxford University Press and SAGE. At SAGE he was Publisher for Research Methods and worked with hundreds of authors from around the world on their methods books. Patrick has managed books, journals and new online products. He is now the founder and director of Into Content Ltd, a company that offers training to researchers on publication strategies and maximising research impact. He is also Visiting Lecturer at City University, London, where he teaches modules in Research Methods, Digital Publishing and Designing Interactive Media. Patrick has a PhD in History from Cambridge University.

Network: Professional Development Programme
Date(s): Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Times: 11.00 - 16.00
Location: SRHE 73 Collier Street, London, N1 9BE
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