Research methods

Research methods

Research methods used when writing a thesis

With the concept of “research methods” the student faces not only in the thesis work. A good example is the writing of a course paper, where, also in the introduction, you have to list the methods of conducting research that were used in writing scientific work.

In this article you will learn the definition of this concept, what are the methods of scientific research in the thesis, which ones are recommended to use in projects of specific topics, as well as the features of each method.

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What are the methods in the thesis

The research method of the graduation project is the use of the principles of ideology in relation to the processes of knowledge.

Simply put, the research methodology is nothing but the correlation of research data with other basic sciences, the main of which is philosophy.

Science uses a huge number of methods. But we will be specifically interested only in what methods are used in the thesis work. And all because their choice is directly dependent on what goals and objectives were set in the work. Already on the basis of this, the student will determine the graduation design methods.


Research methods used in the thesis, can be divided into:

  • general (theoretical, universal) research methods in the thesis;
  • private (empirical or practical) research methods in the thesis work.

Let’s take a closer look at each group in order to reasonably choose the right method to solve a particular problem.

Theoretical methods

These methods are universal and serve to systematize the facts in scientific work.

When writing a thesis, they mainly use the following methods.


The most commonly used method used in the thesis work.

Methods of analysis in the thesis are designed to decompose the subject or the described phenomenon into characteristics and properties in order to study it more specifically.

As an example, we can cite frequent comparisons of different artistic styles, the automotive characteristics of different brands, the styles of expression of the writers’ thoughts.


In contrast to the previous method, the synthesis is intended to combine the individual elements (properties, attributes) into a single whole for a more detailed study.

This research method is rather closely related to the analysis method, since it is always present as the main element combining individual analysis results.


With the method of modeling, the object of study that exists in reality is transferred to an artificially created model. This is done in order to more successfully simulate situations and obtain results that would be difficult to achieve in reality.


In the case of analogy, a search is made for the similarity of objects and phenomena on certain grounds.


The deduction method allows to draw conclusions about certain phenomena and objects, based on data on a large number of small (private) signs.


In contrast to the previous method, the inductive method induces reasoning from the big picture to particular moments.


The method of generalization is somewhat similar to deduction. It also makes a general conclusion about objects or phenomena based on many small signs.

Experts distinguish:

  • inductive generalization (empirical) – transition from more specific properties / characteristics of the object / phenomenon to more general ones;
  • analytical generalization – the transition from one opinion to another in the course of the thinking process, without applying empirical reality.


The classification method involves the division of the object or phenomenon into groups according to certain characteristics.

The main objective of this method is to structure, make the information more clear and understandable for assimilation.

You can classify based on different characteristics. For example, by:

  • physical properties (weight, size, volume);
  • material (plastic, wood, metal, porcelain);
  • genres (sculpture, painting, literature);
  • architectural styles.

It is possible to classify according to geopolitical factors, chronological and other.


The basis of this method is the concretization of a particular property of a phenomenon or object that must be studied in the framework of the study.

The essence of abstraction is to study a particular property of the object or phenomenon being studied, without taking into account all the other characteristics of it.


The essence of the formalization method consists in transferring the structure or essence of a phenomenon or object to a signed model using mathematical schemes, formulas, symbols.


Under concretization understand the detailed study of the object or phenomenon in real-world conditions.


The essence of the method of analogy is that, knowing certain properties and characteristics of an object or phenomenon, it is possible to draw a certain line to another, similar to our object of study, object or phenomenon. As a result, you can come to certain conclusions.

This method is not absolutely true and does not always give reliable results. However, in general, its effectiveness is quite high. Most often it is used in cases where certain objects or phenomena cannot be studied directly (for example, when exploring terrestrial planets, in determining their properties, conditions for potential population of the Earth).

Practical (private) methods

In the thesis work, along with theoretical methods, practical methods are applied on an equal basis, depending on the object or phenomenon. Their feature lies in a special way of studying information, its collection and processing, and conducting experiments.

Private research methods in the thesis are used directly to collect specific data about a phenomenon or object. These methods often help describe and identify new phenomena and objects, find patterns, or prove hypotheses.

And now let’s get acquainted with the most popular practical methods when writing a thesis project.


The basis of the method of observation in the thesis work is an objective perception of reality for collecting data on the properties and relations of the objects of study.


The comparison method is considered one of the most popular. It is used to compare two or more objects of study for any one sign.


The measurement method is quite accurate. It is based on the definition of the numerical values ​​of certain indicators.


The experiment method is interpreted as reproducing the observation or phenomenon under certain conditions.

Experiment can also serve as an experiment, the purpose of which will be the verification (refutation or confirmation) of existing provisions. The main thing is that during the study there were two points: evidence and repeatability. The point is that the task of the experiment consists not only in the visual demonstration or discovery of some property, but also in the ability to reproduce.


This method opens up any scientific knowledge, which is why it is key in any research.

The essence of the observation method is to observe the object of study and record any important changes or positions (reactions, properties).


The measurement method is one of the most effective. It is about fixing any physical parameters of the object of study (volume, height, weight, length, etc.) by means of units of measurement.

The result obtained during the application of this method will be recorded in a numerical value.


In a general sense, a model is a structured, reduced image of something imitating one or more objects.

Simulation can be:

  • subject (when playing a separate part of the object);
  • sign (when using formulas, drawings, diagrams, etc.);
  • mental (when conducting operations in the virtual world or mentally).
  • Modeling is indispensable when developing new technologies, designing cars, structures, etc.
Chat and interview

The essence of both methods is to search for a person who has any valuable information about the subject of study.

Many may not see the difference between a conversation and an interview. The latter is distinguished by a more structured and regulated order: during the interview, the interviewee answers clearly asked questions that have been prepared in advance. In addition, the person asking the questions does not demonstrate his opinion.

Survey and questioning

These methods also have a lot in common. The essence of both consists in preliminary preparation of questions to which you should get answers. As a rule, respondents are given a choice of several answers.

The main difference of the survey from the survey is in the form of conducting. The survey, as a rule, can be oral or written. But the survey is possible only in writing or on computer media. Often, during the survey, the answer can be given in graphical form.


Experts note the similarity of the description method with the observation method. When conducting a study by the method of description, it is not only the behavior and phenomena that are recorded, but the appearance and characteristics of the object of study.

Other private methods

Depending on the direction of the student’s specialization, you can use the following private highly specialized research methods:

Economy. Analysis: positive, regulatory, functional, static, dynamic. Economic and mathematical modeling. The method of financial ratios. Scenario method of forecasting economic phenomena. The method of unity of historical and logical. Construction of economic hypotheses. Method “with other things being equal”.

Pedagogy / Psychology. The study of the products of the creativity of students. Interview. Conversation. Study group differentiation. Included observation. Pedagogical control tests (testing). Questioning (survey). Ranging. Scaling Check in.

Philology. Analysis: compositional, discourse, motivating, intertextual, distributive, contextual, semantic. Linguistic experiment. Biographical method. Content analysis. Lexicographic statistics. Differential analysis of oppositions. Narrative method. Dichotomy. Transformational synthesis and analysis. “Specific Literary Criticism”. Semiotic method.

Other methodology

Academician A.Ya. Flier singled out a somewhat different system of methods used in writing theses. In his opinion, all methods are divided into humanitarian and socio-scientific.

Humanitarian Methodologies

Historical – describes the history of culture in accordance with the principle of building a linear chronological sequence of its events and events.

Hermeneutic – explores the culture through the disclosure (decryption) of the original meanings of the cultural phenomena inherent in their creation.

Phenomenological – treats historical facts of culture from the point of view of their manifestation to the observer and looking for meanings in them that are relevant outside the historical context.

Historical and psychological – studies the historical dynamics of culture from the point of view of identifying in it stable stage (civilizational) types of socially determined consciousness and state of mind.

Cultural symbolism and poststructuralism is an eclectic methodology that interprets material in contextual frameworks established for various reasons by the authors of the research and interprets it as inevitably incomplete in its symbolic-semantic knowability.

Socio-scientific methodologies

Evolutionism is the study of the history of culture from the standpoint of recognizing its progressive development by gradually complicating its structures (branches of evolutionism; formational theory, diffusionism, neo-evolutionism, cultural materialism).

Cyclic and wave models of cultural dynamics – the description of cultures as separate “self-sufficient organisms” (civilizations) and the processes occurring in them as closed cycles or repetitive wave movements.

Structural functionalism is the interpretation of cultural-historical processes as functional, solving some immanent social tasks to meet the interests and needs of people.

Structuralism – the description of cultural and historical objects from the point of view of finding in them the relationship between the material and conceptual aspects, the analysis of the structure of culture as a system of signs.

Borderline methodology, defining new problem areas of cultural and historical science, postmodernism

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