During this dissertation journey, I’ve done one thing that I didn’t do well during my undergraduate program, that’s writing the chapters as my research goes. I still remember what my research process was like during my undergraduate program. Maybe I shouldn’t say ‘research’, for that time it was rather just a project. In Computer Science, building a system is more important than the paperwork itself during those years. Writing was the least of my problem then as I was struggling with developing the system most of the time during that project. Whatever we learnt in system development life cycle was never followed the correct way. Most of the time we just worked backward with developing the system to modeling the design to writing the introduction and objectives.
All these never happen in my dissertation journey. Or any dissertation journey for that matter, demands those they admit practice rock-solid research methodology. So surprise! For the first time in my life, I followed a research methodology meticulously. I truly started from the start with a research proposal and literature review, followed by data collection and analysis, system design, system development, and evaluation. My writing has progressed according to these phases too, though on slower pace than I expected. Nevertheless, I’m just glad I ‘stick’ to the methodology as best as I can.
When people talked about the importance of research methodology, I didn’t take it to heart because I believed it wasn’t true at that time. However, I’ve discovered now that a research methodology is the best guideline one can get during the long journey of dissertation, especially if you are working on the research alone most of the time. Think of it as a road-map where you are travelling alone. Although the directions sometimes can change, the destination remains the same. I was unsure of the directions in the early stage but I was aware of the destination and the methodology proved to be a good guide to help connecting the directions from one point to another until I reach the destination. It’s very important not to get lost in the journey, which I’m sure it would happen without this road-map.
So my sincere advice to all is take extra care of your research methodology as it will be your precious guide from start until the end of your research journey. Don’t worry about the type of methodology to use. As long as you can justify your choice and any changes you adapt, you are good to go.