Research Methodology and Writing of Thesis

How to complete my thesis in time? It is a question that bothers graduate or post-graduate students or even scientists all the time. To accomplish this task, you need to have your research methodology thought through, develop a research proposal accordingly, conduct the actual research activities, and finally make an appropriate presentation.

For a start, the research methodology defines what the subject is, how to proceed, how to measure progress, how to analyze, and what constitutes success.

            The research methodology is a way to solve the research problem by logically adopting successive steps. For an empiricist quantitative research design, the overall structure includes observations, question of interest, hypotheses, predictions, and tests of experimental data. In some cases, additional observation is required to verify your findings, and make your conclusion.

For scientific investigation and technological innovation, problem solving is an important skill constituted of five major stages: defining, reviewing, planning, doing, and reflecting. For an engineering problem, whether open or closed ended, the first stage of solving the problem is to answer the following question: What is the boundary of the system? Why doing this? What is the goal? The second stage is to review literature, to collect related data and information available from similar topics that have been done, and to answer: what are their findings? What are the points they have not reached yet? And why? The third stage is to design a doable plan according to the tools, data, or information available. The fourth stage is doing. After the doing stage results will ensue, but they have to be checked critically. Are they reasonable in terms of magnitude, scale, or physical restraints, etc.? For every round of stages aforementioned, the performances have to be evaluated. If the results are not satisfying, you have to go back to the planning stage and come up with a new strategy and carry out research activities accordingly. Bare in mind the possibility of redefining the problem as well.

Finally, your findings have to be presented in an appropriate form to engage various types of audience. The presentation generally takes two forms: oral presentation, and written form of thesis. This lecture concerns more with the latter. The format of a written thesis includes: abstract, introduction, mathematical formulation, method of analysis, parameter study, discussion and conclusion (concluding remarks). For the purpose of clarification, acknowledgement, references, appendix, tables, and figures can be supplemented to the main text.

            All in all, scientific research is an endless pursuit. The works is fun, but more often daunting and dreary. During the investigating procedure you will discover new problems, come across new challenges, ponder on solutions, collect findings of experiments, and reflect on subjects. To think is to enjoy.

Everything can be achieved by well preparations. (Chinese motto:凡事豫則立).