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You'll notice I have refrained from using "Phd by publication" here, but I think my question might well apply to a PhD by publication, and am happy for my PhD to reside under this category.

Basically - over the course of my Phd I have published in genomics and epidemiology. They will comprise of two results chapters and one combined methods chapter, but the overarching thesis message is that in the future the data types in both realms of research can benefit each other when linked.

Each results chapter will describe the work undertaken in getting multiple papers published - and this is what I am finding difficult. I am writing a standalone methods chapter that describes the general approaches in both research areas, but I keep refraining from going into to too much detail because I feel they need to be presented in close proximity to the results of each paper. I am now finding myself writing the exact methodologies, respective to the results they generate all in the results chapters. It almost seems as if I do not need a standalone methods chapter - but this is science and feels very wrong to think that way!

So what I am asking is: is it entirely possible to have a high-level standalone methods chapter which documents the basic approaches to how I have done my research, listing all the data sources I have used and the software products I have written, to then go on and elaborate in detail during the results chapter? That is, the results chapter than becomes a series of papers with a narrative to link them all together.

  • "but this is science and feels very wrong to think that way!"? Maybe you want to elaborate why you feel this way? – xLeitix Aug 9 '16 at 21:02
  • Methods sections in their own right are drilled into the scientific process. Not to suggest non-scientific thesis do not require a methods section of course. – brucezepplin Aug 9 '16 at 21:04

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