Why Methodology?

methodsPhoto credit: https://ideas.darden.virginia.edu/2015/11/whats-new-in-project-management-a-hybrid-methodology/

Methodology section of any research paper is arguably the most important part of it. Mainly because the ways of data collection determine whether the research question will be answered or not. Besides, research methods influence the interpretation of the findings. The qualitative study focuses on understanding thoughts, reasons, and opinions of participants; whereas the quantitative study deals with numerical data, statistics, and facts.

Choosing the right methodology is a challenging process which should be viewed through the lens of the practical application of the research findings. In the local context, statistical data is of particular interest among the administrators and policy-makers due to giving a clear overview on any topic. Qualitative studies are often seen as subjective, their findings are difficult to generalize, and therefore cannot be used as widely.

Personally, I prefer qualitative methods because they allow deeper and more meaningful investigations. This is exactly what I what from my research experience: engaging with participants, collecting data in direct interactions to fully capture and share their stories. Therefore, planning to study the aspirations for higher education across vulnerable student groups in Kazakhstan, from the beginning I decided to follow the qualitative methodology, namely, the critical ethnographic research design.

Methodology section, if consistent with the introduction and literature review, can inform the readers about the nature of the research just as well. Critical ethnography, for instance, focuses on advocating for marginalized groups in certain cultural or social scenarios often constructed by the society in limiting ways. Thus, by following the critical ethnographic design, it is clear that my purpose is to potentially empower vulnerable students to receive higher education reflecting on the first-hand experience of others in the context of Kazakhstan.

I believe there is no right answer about the most effective or productive type of research. Afterall, the intention of researching is to draw attention and start a discussion on problematic topics.  Any research design if applied properly manages to do that. Right choice of methods just makes the process easier by providing necessary tools.

2 thoughts on “Why Methodology?

  1. Dear Natalya,

    I agree with you on the point that qualitative research approach allows to conduct more meaningful research. Especially in the national context of inclusive education, which is still in the process of defining its status and conception. I believe, that it is important to narrate the stories of people who suffer and overcome the numerous barriers in order to eventually bring their needs on the policymaking agenda.


  2. Thanks Natalya. Your discussion of the role of research methodology in your studies and in Kazakhstan’s educational sphere is quite informative and well written. You are wise to give a conceptual context first, summarizing the broad strokes of the research design world before sharing your personal views. I did, however, notice several mistakes with articles.

    Have you heard of “The x of y Rule”? If you give us a concrete frame of reference for a noun by adding “of + noun”, you will most likely need a definite article. “The methodology chapter of the thesis…” “The students of NUGSE…” “The peel of an orange…” Even though you are introducing the topic for the first time, you are defining it with the following details, and therefore making it specific. Hope this helps!


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