What is research methodology?
Research methodology simply refers to the practical “how” of any given piece of research. More specifically, it’s about how a researcher systematically designs a study to ensure valid and reliable results that address the research aims and objectives.
For example, how did the researcher go about deciding:
What data to collect (and what data to ignore)
Who to collect it from (in research, this is called “sampling design”)
How to collect it (this is called “data collection methods”)
How to analyse it (this is called “data analysis methods”)
In a dissertation, thesis, academic journal article (or pretty much any formal piece of research), you’ll find a research methodology chapter (or section) which covers the aspects mentioned above. Importantly, a good methodology chapter in a dissertation or thesis explains not just what methodological choices were made, but also explains why they were made.
In other words, the methodology chapter should justify the design choices, by showing that the chosen methods and techniques are the best fit for the research aims and objectives, and will provide valid and reliable results. A good research methodology provides scientifically sound findings, whereas a poor methodology doesn’t.