First, some background: I'm currently doing a PhD/Doctorate in social sciences/education field. Usually, theses in my country (Algeria) do not justify the research paradigm nor mention the philosophical assumptions of the researcher and would rather jump straight to the research design. Yet, the research design in itself is usually 1 page long. I have checked other theses in the UK and USA, they provide a research paradigm (philosophical assumptions etc), however, all of this is usually done in two pages.

I'm currently sitting at 10 pages in my research methodology chapter and I feel like I'm being too informative, to the point I've wrote x5/x10 the usual amount. Is it fine to do if I'm stating my reasoning & Logic behind such a lengthy description of the methodology I followed? Should I mention explicitly why my sub section is longer than the usual amount inside my PhD thesis

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    You say that your country is Algeria and you say what is usual there. You then mention the US and say what is usual there ... but you don't actually say what country you're doing your PhD in, which would seem to be the most important thing! Mar 8 at 4:39
  • You should ask your supervisor, or other people in your research group, not random people on the internet. Mar 8 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


The most straightforward answer I received when I asked this question to other senior researchers was, “as many pages as you need to justify your work”. I think this answer doesn’t say anything specific but yet I think is the best answer because how you want to present your method and in which depth is your choice. One single method can be described in 1 page to 1 book depending upon the depth of discussion. So there is no set rules. While saying so, I would suggest you to see what is the general norms in your field and in the department/university you are in.

Depending upon fields, norms differs. The modern approach several PhD students often follow nowadays is to develop individual chapter as a separate and unique paper which can be published in a journal. Often PhD thesis has 3 independent papers, short introduction and short conclusions chapters. Within each paper method has its own section which is a few pages at the longest—just like in peer reviewed papers.

My suggestion is that do not decide how much you need to write for each section based on number of pages but decide based on information you want/need to put to justify your work.

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