How to write a methodology

Write the main part - the guide for your term paper & bachelor thesis

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Write the prologue to the main part

Who does not know this: After you have finally found a good sentence to start your work and wrote an exciting introduction, you come to the next, no less difficult part - because now you have to write the main part. In the main part, all relevant details, the promises of the introduction and the result, should now be extensively illuminated.

frequently asked Questions

In addition to the introduction and the Conclusion, the main part is the largest part of a scientific paper. The main part shows in detail what was necessary to answer the research question and what results came out of it.

In our post you will find, among other things, a step-by-step procedure and further information on writing the main part.

At the beginning of the bulk of your paper, you should state the current state of research you are doing. Followed by other components such as a method chapter, the results section and finally you should bring these components together.

tip: In our field of academic writing there is more valuable information!

Writing the main part of homework

Write at the beginning of the main partDiscuss the current state of research, show how it is embedded in the scientific context, clarify terms
Middle - end of the main partMethodology, sample description, implementation, results
Important when writing the main partThe common thread must be recognizable - logically comprehensible and systematic processing
Write strategy for the main part"From general to specific"

Write the basics of the main part

A scientific work has three important content-related components: an introduction, a main part and a conclusion or a conclusion. The introduction guides the reader to the topic, prepares them, discusses relevance, literature and the associated research question.

Like building blocks, one part builds on the next. The conclusion or that Conclusion of the bachelor thesis once again clearly answered that Research question, draws a final conclusion and possibly offers an outlook for further research possibilities or, if necessary, discusses the purpose of the present work.

The heart of the whole thing, almost the climax of the work, is the main part, between the introduction and the end. When writing the main part, you combine the introduction and the conclusion by explaining in detail what was necessary to answer the research question, how this was done, what results came to light and also define necessary theoretical aspects (Karmasin & Ribing 2014: 29).

As a result, the main part takes up the most space in quantitative terms and thus offers enough space for the scientific discussion of a topic and the specific question. When writing the main part, it should also be noted that the main part of the thesis is not identified by its name, but by its content: You should include everything relevant to the processing of the research question when writing the main part.

The right approach

When writing the main part, the necessary content should be clarified at the beginning, which means that, for example, terms should be discussed and thus a theoretical framework for the following is created. Explanations of terms should show what the respective term means for the author of the work and in connection with the research question (Franck & Stary 2009: 148). An objective comparison of various positions in the literature and previous studies is therefore recommended when writing the main part.

The table shows a possible strategy for writing the main part.

stepHow to write the main part
oneAt the beginning of the main part, write the content, clarify what is necessary and create a theoretical framework. Example: Explanations of terms should show what the respective term means for the author of the work and in connection with the research question (Franck & Stary 2009: 148).
TwoObjective comparison of various positions from literature and previous studies is recommended here
ThreeProcessing of the current state of research (can be done in conjunction with the definition of terms or as an embedding of the research question in the existing scientific context)
FourDetails on the study design, implementation, sample description, results, etc.

This excerpt makes it clear that the basic ideas behind the writing of the main part create the central theme. In addition, this figure illustrates the different steps involved in developing empirical and theoretical Bachelor theses or housework is necessary (Karmasin & Ribing 2014: 32).

So the author can also check whether he is his red thread stay true to writing the main part. When writing the main part, one should always recall the connection between the three central building blocks of a work: The introduction forms the basis, the main part builds the detailed structure argumentation and the conclusion finally leads to the result and, if necessary, an outlook.

In the chapters of the main part, as well as in the rest of the work, the sequence of thoughts should be systematically designed for the reader to understand (Theisen 2013: 152). One stone on top of the other, so to speak. A logical connection is essential (the common thread, there it is again!), On the one hand, in order to avoid overlaps and repetitions. On the other hand, to remedy a rigid sequence of arguments (Theisen 2013: 153). When writing the main part, it is also useful to create suitable transitions between the individual chapters.

Useful W-questions for writing the main part can be found in this table, which can help the author to cover all the important details - on a large scale (structure of the entire main part) and on a small scale (structure of the individual points) (Franck & Stary 2009: 159 ).


  • Create a framework for detailed explanations in the main part
  • Inclusion of relevant literature for the state of research, possible definitions of terms, embedding in a scientific context (e.g. which gap should this work fill?), Etc.
  • Systematically show the necessary steps to answer the research question (Why? What? Where? Who? How? What for?)

Write methodology for the main part

The division of the main part can be very different. A Red thread However, this should be the basis for this, depending on the research question and the task at hand. A key difference when writing the main part is whether it is the scientific work empirical research or a theoretical work, because: The goals and questions of a work can be very different.

Nevertheless, there are some requirements that are common to all and should be observed when writing the main part. The main part includes the elaboration of the topic of the term paper, bachelor thesis or master thesis. This includes a running text divided into chapters, which is structured by paragraphs and sections of meaning for better readability.

In the main part, the respective analysis steps to answer the research question are brought into context. In addition, the topic-relevant hypotheses are explained and discussed on the basis of a clear structure. The central question should always be kept in mind when writing the main part and ideally run like a red thread through the elaboration (PlĂĽmper 2008: 81).


  • Red thread in the main part
  • Clear structure of the main part
  • Establish connections between the individual points when writing the main part

Kornmeier offers a baking recipe for writing the main part (Gugelhupf ... mmh, delicious!). Just like with baking, you need to make preparations when writing the main part. Then it's just as much fun as baking (or eating!). (Kornmeier 2008: 122). When writing the main part, they look like this:

Empirical research vs. theoretical research

When writing a main part, there are big differences, since the preparation of empirical research requires a different processing compared to theory-based work.

Write methodology for the main partEmpirical researchTheoretical work
executionfield researchLiterature research
Decisions in the work processEvaluation of your own dataEvaluate literature
Answering the research question in the main partResults from field researchResults from theoretical knowledge (mostly from other authors)

You can find more about this here:Empirical research for bachelor and master theses

Write relevant information for the main part

Fundamental for all (empirical) bachelor theses and Homework it can be said that when writing the main part you should always include a theoretical part. Also relevant for the writing of a main part of all scientific papers is how one got the results and what they are, i. H. this should also be written in the main part.

In the case of literary work, however, the main part is limited to the theories or literature that are necessary to answer the research question.

The description of the methodology must be used for theoretical Bachelor theses and housework does not necessarily have to be done in a separate chapter, but can, according to Esselborn-Krummbiegel (2010: 113), also be done directly after the introduction to the main part.

The description and justification of the methodology for writing the main part on a theoretical basis is usually much shorter than for empirical work.

Tip:It can prove helpful to answer the method with the help of questions, as in the following figure (Esselborn-Krummbiegel 2010: 114).

In a theoretical work, the knowledge from the existing literature, i.e. the current state of research and history, is processed in more detail when writing the main part. This means that the theoretical and empirical findings of others are examined in detail here (Kornmeier 2016: 114). Hypotheses are also incorporated here when writing the main part.

Danger:Only the description of the methodology CAN be included in the introduction. This means that the beginning of the main part is used as a direct transition from the introduction to the main part. In the main part, the connection between the current state of research and the answer to the research question is established (Karmasin / Ribing 2014: 31).

If you work with theories as a basis in your work, just sketch the main features of known theories (Esselborn-Krummbiegel 2010: 114). In the case of unknown theories, you should explain them in more detail when writing the main part and, if possible, show them with an example.

In the case of an adaptation of theories, i.e. a further development of these, it makes sense to write exactly in the main part what exactly has been changed or further developed. Questions answered by a further development of a theory can also be discussed in the main part (Esselborn-Krummbiegel 2010: 116).

Note: A differentiated distinction was made here between purely theoretical work and empirical work. In a purely literary work, the theoretical part is of course the relevant part when writing the main part. In the case of empirical bachelor theses and term papers, this is followed by the description of the empirical research.

Avoid doing this when writing the main part

The strategy “from the specific to the general” is not recommended for the structure of the main part, because it hardly avoids ambiguities (Karmasin & Ribing 2014: 29). Specifically, when writing the main part, the methodology is explained and justified, the implementation and, if necessary, the sample is described, and results are presented and discussed.

All aspects that were necessary to answer one or more research questions should be shown in detail when writing the main part (Nitsch & Hackfort 1994: 215ff.).


  • Avoid the following strategy: "from the specific to the general"
  • Describe in small steps and, above all, logically what led to which result, becausethe reader would like to know which background led to which result!


  • Writing a main part is not difficult!
  • At the beginning of writing the main part, create a framework: the current state of research, explanations of terms and embedding in the scientific context
  • Middle: all details (methodology, implementation, sample, etc.)
    • Make it systematically and logically comprehensible - the reader knows neither your data nor your approach
  • Conclusion: results
  • Not from the smallest detail to the most general, rather the other way around: creating the basis for the reader, explaining the details in small steps, then shedding light on individual aspects
  • Proceed systematically when writing the main part: The common thread loves you and your work - and you love it!
  • Establish connections and explain the background - they want to be shared!
  • Create a framework at the beginning and include the current state of research - without a solid foundation, the masonry crumbles quickly!


Esselborn-Krumbiegel, H. (2010). Write correctly scientifically. Scientific language in rules and remarks. Ferdinand Schöningh: Paderborn.

Franck, N. & Stary, J. (2009). The technique of scientific work. 15th revised edition. Ferdinand Schöningh GmbH: Paderborn.

Herschleb, E. (2017). Master's thesis: Inclusive pedagogy at Thuringian day-care centers:The implementation of the language daycare program in Thuringia. University of Erfurt.

Karmasin, M. & Ribings, R. (2014). The design of scientific work. 8th, updated edition. Facultas Verlags- und Buchhandels AG: Vienna.

Kornmeier, M. (2008). Scientific writing made easy. For bachelor, master and dissertation. 7th, updated and supplemented edition. Haupt Verlag: Bern.

Nitsch, J. & Hackfort, D. (Eds.), 1994. The Red Thread. An introduction to the technique of scientific work. bps-Verlag: Köln.

PlĂĽmper, T. (2008). Write efficiently. Guide to writing qualification papers and academic texts. 2nd, completely revised and expanded edition. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag: Munich.

Theisen, R. M. (2013). Scientific work. Successful with bachelor and master theses. 16th, completely revised edition. Franz Vahlen GmbH: Munich.

About the author

Elisa Herschleb

Elisa Herschleb has a master's degree in applied linguistics and a bachelor's degree in translation. She is a trained translator for English - German and can therefore fall back on a wide range of experience in drafting translations. With her master's thesis on language education at Thuringian kindergartens and her work at the professorship for language acquisition and multilingualism, she gained a good insight into the world of academic work.