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I'm currently writing the methodology section of my thesis and wondered if I was including too much.

In the methodology section I have currently included:

  • Alternative approaches I considered
  • The pros/cons of those approaches/applicability to this project
  • Why I selected the approach I used

This information is needed somewhere but it is resulting in a very long methodology which is going a lot deeper into "Why I chose this approach" than "Here's how I did the research".

Does this "Why" discussion belong in the methodology section of a research paper or should it be placed somewhere else? If so, where?

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As an example: I can either survey people or perform an analysis of existing discussions on the topic. There are pros/cons to each approach (sample size, recruitment, etc) . The approach I choose will impact the research but I want to discuss the differences in the possible approaches and explain my reasoning for my choice.

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Methodology section should focus on your own method (or algorithms or mathematical modeling) for the research.

  • Alternative approaches should also be discussed there in the same section precisely (if the alternatives are not highly different from the principal trunk).

  • The pros/cons of your approaches should be discussed in "Results and Discussion" or in the "Conclusion" section with points.

  • Why you selected the approach belongs to "Introduction" along with a small statement in "Methodology" itself.

Overall, methodology section tells the story of "HOW" rather than too much of "WHY". "WHY" should belong to introduction.

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  • Thanks. I've added an example of what my "why" discussion is about. In this case, I don't think "Why I selected this approach" makes any sense until I describe the different approaches so putting "I chose to do it like this because" before "Here are the choices I have" feels illogical. I'll think about re-wording it and see if it makes sense.
    – Tom B
    Feb 13, 2018 at 18:07

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