How to write research methodology for HRP?

One of the major hurdle in the process of hospitality research project is understanding how to plan and write the research methodology. This article simplifies the steps.

What is research methodology?

Research methodology refers to all the methods that are employed for the conducting your research.

What to write in the chapter “Research methodology “?

In this chapter you have to discuss the methods you have used in the research. This chapter explains the what you did and how you did it, this allows the readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of the research. The research methodology shall include:

  • The type of research you did – Descriptive/ Empirical
  • How you collected your data
  • How you analysed your data
  • Any tools or material you used in the research
  • Your rationale for choosing these methods

Hence, the research methodology chapter shall have various headings and subheadings. Let”s look at those:

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

Introduction to your overall approach to the research. What research problem or question did you investigate, and what kid of data did you need to answer it?

Have you used Quantitative method or Qualitative method? Refer the table below :

Research methodPrimary or secondaryQuantitative or QualitativeWhen to use
ExperimentPrimaryQuantitativeTo test cause and effect relationship
SurveyPrimaryQuantitativeTo understand general characteristics of population
Interview/ Focus groupPrimaryQualitativeTo gain in depth understanding of a topic
ObservationPrimaryEitherTo understand how something occurs in its natural settings.
Literature reviewSecondaryEitherTo decide the direction and scope of your research, or to evaluate trends within a research topic
Case studyEitherEitherTo gain in depth understanding of a specific group or context, or when you don’t have the resource for a large study
Overview of the research methods

You can also discuss the rationale and assumption on which your research is based on. The following questions answer might help you figure that out:

  • Was your aim to address a practical or theoretical research problem?
  • Why is this method most suitable approach to answering your research problem ?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical or philosophical considerations?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research?

3.2 Method of data collection

Once you have introduced the over all methodological approach, you should give full details of the research methods you used. Outline of the tools, procedures and materials you used to gather data, and the criteria you used to select participants or sources.

There are various methods of data collection, listed below are the suggestions for the content within this heading based on the type of method employed:

Quantitative methods

Surveys – Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted

  • How did you design the questions and what form did they take (multiple choice, yes or no, rating scale)
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • Did you conduct surveys by phone, mail, online or in person, how long did participants have to respond?
  • What was the sample size and response rate?

Note: A copy of the questinnare should be attached as annexure or appendix for reference.

Experiments – Give full details of the tools, techniques and procedures you used to conduct the experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables?
  • What tools or techniques did you use in the experiment?

In experimental research, it is important to give sufficient detail for another researcher to reproduce you results.

Existing data – Explain how you gather and select materials (such as publications or archival data) for inclusion in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced ?
  • What criteria did you use to select material(e.g. date range)?

Quantitative method example: The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions that the respondents had to answer with a 7-point Likert scale. The aim was to conduct the survey with 350 students of SJIHMCT from 4-8 March 2020 between 11:00 and 15:00. The students were selected since they are BHM students, their awareness about green practises is a key factor in the investigation. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously, and 408 students responded. Because not all surveys were fully completed, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

Qualitative methods

Interviews or focus groups – Describe where, when and how the interviews were conducted.

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many people took part?
  • What type of interview structure was adopted? (Structured, semi- structured, unstructured)
  • How long were the interviews and how were they recorded?

Participant observation – Describe where, when and hwo you conducted the observation.

  • What group or community did you observe and how did you gain access to them?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research and where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g. audiovisual recordings, note taking)

Existing data – Explain how you selected case study material (such as text or images) for the focus of your analysis.

  • What type of materials did you analyse?
  • How did you collect and select them?

Qualitative methods example:
In order to gain a better insight into the possibilities for improvement of the product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers from the main target group of Company X. A returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from Company X. The surveys were used to select participants who belonged to the target group (20-45 years old). Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register, and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.

3.3 Data Analysis methods

In this section you can indicate how you processed and analysed the data. Avoid going into too much detail – you should not start presenting or discussing any of your results at this stage.

Note: The steps for data analysis in descriptive research methods:

Step – I: Cleaning and organizing the data for analysis (Data Preparation)


Step – II: Describing the data (Descriptive Statistics)

Data Preparation involves checking or logging the data in; checking the data for accuracy; entering the data into the computer; transforming the data; and developing and documenting a database structure that integrates the various measures.

Descriptive Statistics are used to describe the basic features of the data in a study. They provide simple summaries about the sample and the measures. Together with simple graphics analysis, they form the basis of virtually every quantitative analysis of data. With descriptive statistics you are simply describing what is, what the data shows.

Quantitative methods – In quantitative research, the analysis will be based on numbers. The section may include:

  • How you prepared the data before analysing it (e.g. checking for missing data, remove outliers, transforming variables)
  • Which software did you use to analyse the data (e.g. SPSS or Stata)
  • Which statistical methods you used (e.g. two tailed t test, simple linear regression)

Qualitative methods – In qualitative research , the analysis will be based on language, images and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis). Specifica methods are listed below:

  • Content analysis – categorising and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences.
  • Thematic analysis – Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis – Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context.

3.4 Scope & Limitations of the methodology used

Summarise, why you chose these particular methods, especially if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. Discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

You can acknowledge limitations or weaknesses in the approach you chose, but justify why these were outweighed by the strengths.

Tips for writing an effective research methodology chapter

The aim of this chapter is to show how and why you applied the methods for conducting the research.

Focus on your objectives and research questions – The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suits your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions. Throughout the section, relate your choices back to the central purpose of your dissertation.

Cite relevant sources – Your methodology can be strengthened by reference to existing research in the field, so that:

  • Confirms that you followed established practices for this type of research
  • Discuss how you evaluated different methodologies and decide on your approach
  • Show that you took a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature.

Discuss obstacles -If you encountered difficulties in collecting or analyzing data, explain how you dealt with them.


Thus the chapter shall have the following headings:

3. Research methodology

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Methods of data collection

3.3 Data Analysis Methods

3.4 Scope and limitations of the methodology used


Note: Sub heading may be added if required

For example:

3.2 Methods of data collection

3.2.1 Questionnaire

3.2.1.1 For the hotels
3.2.1.2 For the students

3.2.2 Interview methods


Still wondering how to write the research methodology?

It will be better if a demonstration of research methodology is available, right?

I have created a demonstration of how to write a research methodology, here I have identified the research problem as ” How to effectively guide the students of BHM so that they can create excellent hospitality research project” , the research methodology for the same shall be as follows:


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