methodology isn’t methods.. or… what goes in a methods chapter

Damn, this is extremely helpful!


Since I’ve been posting about methods and methodology, I’ve been asked several times to discuss the difference between methodology and methods and how these appear in a methods chapter. This post is by way of an answer.

Not all dissertations have a methods chapter. Although much of the how-to-write-it material (including my own) suggests that there is a distinct chapter called methods, some disciplines and many research projects don’t have one per se.

However, most (but not all) arts, humanities and social science theses do have to include, somewhere in the first few chapters, something about the way that the researcher has approached the task of researching, how they think about themselves as a researcher, and how they have designed the actual piece of research that they are doing, and why it is the way that it is. (In the textbooks these things are usually called epistemology, methodology, and methods.)

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Some day again it will rain,
Like all that repeats
Because nothing eventually is
Different enough to surprise,
But take for instance this
Pleasant because we know it, and because we know what it does and what it needs.
It won’t be exact in its replication oh no,
And that is what I live for.
For next time, in a car with rain-smoked-bacon-streaked windows,
Breathing in festering leather and relived metal,
The world outside aesthetically blurred, like they say it’s supposed to be in dreams,
But never is in mine,
The water rising back from the street that gave up long before any of us even began-
In spiral whorls such that from inside,
I don’t know if it’s rain fresh from the sky,
Or rain’s own puddle twin, attempting a vain restoration of position.
This next time then,
I won’t be alone,
Feverishly touching
My neck,
My throat
My cheeks
My breasts,
Next time, in the confused darkness lit up by the out-of place innocence of crystal rain drips,
Next time, I will have you.
– Piko


– Years have gone by and I haven’t written a good poem…
– What is a good poem?
– What is it? A good poem is one that transcends age.
– A poem that transcends age is an accident…
– Is it?
           – After all, what people remember is just as accidental as what they forget.
– It is not easy to forget.
– Is it easier to remember?
– What do people remember?
– What hurts, what tortures, what burns, what rips; what eatsandshitsandcutsandbleeds!
People remember the bad things.
– Just the bad?
– Perhaps not.
                          But just the good?
– Perhaps not.
– Why remember? Why be remembered?
                                                                             A need?
– A want.
– Desire?
– Expectation.
– And here I thought…
                                          – I didn’t expect?
– You didn’t expect. Do you want success?
– Yes!
                    – No?
– Yes, and no…
– What do you want?
– A poem. A good poem, A great poem…. A poem. Worth the ages.
– Is that a good poem, Just the adoration of the ages?
– What else then? What else can it be?
– Just being.
                     Be a poem, will you? Complete; Talkative, or silent. Or both. At different point, or the same. Be a poem, will you? Flawed; incomprehensible; moving.
– Pointless.
– Yes,
                                           Yes! Pointless.
                                                                      You are a poem; not you. Not engaged in imperial war against yourself, not bruising your feet to success. You are not the divisions of time, a story arc, a crescendo, a circle being drawn. You are a poem. You were completed.
                                                                                                                                                  Long, Long before you were born.
– Shakya

Post Script

Just after sex,
You lie on your side
Retiring yourself.
The mop of hair is a little chaotic,
Which suits the talkative smile
That looks a little unhinged from here.
The air is full of sweat
And sour pickles.
You tap your toes to some unknown tune.
The discussion we have-
Are having-
Is sexual.
We discuss tongues in odd places
And censored fluids.
It’s sexual.
You giggle in your irritating way
While I think of witty reprisals.
It feels like an epistolary novel.
A conversation full of long monologues,
Disjointed in its edges; falling apart, if not for the wonderful prose.
Our replies are hidden within our letters;
They are simply expressions of repressed conversations
That weren’t allowed.
– Shakya
(The picture belongs to me, along with the rest of the post… :3 )

In A Bus Stop

When  I saw her, sitting in the bus stop,
Wearing sweat in her arm pits
In embarrassment,
I found her beautiful.
She sat
Crumpled in herself,
A frightened tissue paper,
Holding the bag of groceries close to her chest.
She seemed lost,
Staring into the future in the middle of the road.
It was an empty street, full of heat and dust;
The usual suspects.
I saw her eyes wonder with the wind,
Looking beyond the bus routes, the frustratingly empty road.
Her hold slipped,
The bag slid down her gown.
She let it.
The polka dots dissolved into the shadows;
She caught me staring.
Dismissed me with a wave of her lashes.
I was a speck of dust.
My weight shifted,
I looked;
She lifted her bag,
Conscious, perhaps for the first time, of vegetables on her lap.
A disgusted grimace.
A drop on the next seat.
I waited, to be noticed.
The speck of dust on a
The sun trickled in through the shade, irritating her skin.
She brushed it off with an itch,
Getting up, stretching,
Revealing tributaries on her back
Running pell mell to the ridge of her hip.
Her broad arms felt the air,
Crawled out of her fear like a cat,
Yawning at the moon.
The privacy of the street betrayed me.
I felt my prying eyes slide down, looking at other specks that ran the streets.
The landscape bent to her yawns.
The gown felt light in the summer air,
Flapping like the ends of a cape.
The sun shone too bright,
On that little summer noon,
On the deserted bus stop.
I sent myself away;
She stood, wearing sweat in her arm pits.
She was


– Shakya

Fat People Making Love

The Image

Imagine fat people making love.
Interrupted, in breaths lost in another.
Long sighs and apologies
As their excess flesh
Pour over each other, in grotesque…
Lost genitalia are locked
In embarrassing embraces,
Nakedly touching.
Sweat,and cheeks, fall
Like breaths
Making their exhaustion merge,
In a collection of flesh.

The Language

Imagine fat people making love.
Interrupted, in breaths lost in another…
Long sighs and deep ties,
As their ample flesh
Melt on each other, in tandem.
Forgotten genitalia are locked
In embarrassed embraces,
Bared in touches.
Sweat and cheeks fall
Like breaths,
Making their tired bodies merge
In a collection of flesh.



–  Shakya


I could have been the best writer of your generation,
The better of a bad time;
Could have…
I could have imagined things no one dared; in languages borrowed from the future.
Or I could have written things everyone imagined,
But no one wrote.


But I never wanted to be.
There wasn’t that ambition in place.
All there was, was the desire to ride the waves of a wrong time.
Away and towards all the indefinites one could conjure.
It wasn’t a lack of ambition.
It was an ambition to be nothing.


Nothing is not easy.
What nothing is, is nothing.
Not darkness,
Nor silence,
Nor the still air preceding a storm.
Nothing is teleology;
The redundance of language,
A wall.
Nothing is what nothing is:


I want to be nothing.
The space at the end of each word,
The silence between conversations,
The excuse of secret thoughts,
The reality of a mischief,
The darkness at the end of it all,
(Only because there’s no one to see)
Remember the words on a blank page?
The pictures that filled a blank canvas?
The air that brushed your face on a windless night?
I am that.


I am the dirty secret of all the family albums,
The undefined toddler,
Prodigal in nothingness
But despised, now.
Could be.
Anything could be,
Stripped of the bright blue cot.


I am not the writer I could have been,
Or a person worth being.
I am, but, the end of a thought,
The end of a civilization.
Pursuing destruction with a detached duty.


I am also what stands at the end of its fall.
I am




A thousand years in a hotel room

Of those times when you are not there, I have felt very little.
I don’t believe in time.
Time is like a myth that refuses to fade,
A nuisance.
It’s not like a railway track; not an example of a ray
learnt all the way back in grade school.
It’s not movement,
it doesn’t move with you and me.
When you read this, time hasn’t moved.
Time stays still,
like waves in a glacier.
It has been days without you,
and time has been still,
a broken clock,
ticking away at all the wrong places.
Meet me on the bed,
so that we can make love on its edge,
and have time melt on us.
and all our frozen time, shall be lost in a heart beat.
Won’t that be worth it?
– Shakya