PhD thesis writing: materials and methods

Writing a PhD thesis is a very tough job. It is lengthy and time taking process. Students who want to get an advanced or post graduate degree must submit their thesis to the dissertation committee of the university and get it approved for getting a degree. It is an important piece of academic writing and has some certain formats and structures to be followed. The parts and chapters of each thesis are specified and each of them must be included in order to get a complete thesis. Even if a single one of them is missing your thesis will be considered incomplete and will not be approved.

Today we will be discussing the materials and method section of the thesis.

What are Materials and Methods?

The materials and methods section of the thesis is of critical importance. A student is supposed to list down all the references from where he has collected his data and include all the methods he has used for reaching a conclusion in his thesis. It is important to state both of these in your thesis because they will determine the validity and credibility of your research. If you include a good and strong material section it will add to your thesis and the reliability of your research will not be in question.


The material section of a thesis includes all the references to the researched material a student has used. It can be direct or indirect data both. Direct research data is the one that you have personally carried out. First hand interviews, surveys and questionnaires. Whereas second hand data means the data you find in libraries, books, government reports, newspaper articles, journals etc. internet however is not considered a much authenticated source unless you cite the reference from another published material. This section has two purposes.

  • One- it helps the reader in knowing where they can find this research
  • Two-it helps in strengthening your thesis


This portion requires a student to list the methods he has used for carrying out research and the tools that have helped in interpreting the data and concluding the final results. The student is supposed to show the reader that how he came down to a certain finding. Moreover he has to justify his preferences. He needs to tell the reader that why he chose a certain research methodology over the other and how was this best possible solution.