Methodology of analysis in PhD projects

18 Jul

As many of you senior academics have done before me, and as many of my PhD candidate peers, I am grappling with mechanisms related to the methodology of my project.

What I just read at another blog has inspired me to re-assert two key lessons I learned there.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between one’s research methods and one’s meta-methodological framework.

That is, our methods are those actual techniques we apply to access our data, whether theoretically, or actually – as in interviewing subjects (also known as qualitative research).

Our methodology relates to the philosophical, ideological and theoretical justification for applying our methods of investigation. Many institutions of higher learning require that PhD proposals explicitly state one’s ontological framework. Our emergent or declared ontological stances may be perceived as methodological models…I stand to be corrected!

Secondly, it is vital to identify the inter-relationship between both our methods and methodology as our investigations progress. It might be wiser to list our methodology first, as this will influence the types of methods we employ:

For example: our framing of questions should be designed so as to illicit data which may be positioned within our broader, stated – ontologic device.

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