How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

What is the ‘methods section’ of a research paper?

The methods section is the part where you describe the way in which you did your test, experiment, or observation regarding your topic of research. The section also offers a rationale for why you used the specific methods to reach and prove your hypothesis and make conclusions.

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Why is the methods section relevant?

The methods section is essential before it allows other researchers to see the specific manner in which you conducted your research. Hence, it offers a chance for replicating and reproducing the research process for your peers. The section also offers alternative options that may reproduce the different alternatives. The methods section makes your research valid to the audience.

What do you write in the methods section?

The subheading of dividing the methods sections should be in terms of:

Detailed information on the research technique starting with:

  1. Participants

Here, write the unique features of the participants through detailed descriptions that are crucial to the study.

  • How are the participants different from the population?
  • How many were the participants?
  • How did you select the participants?
  • Was it a random selection?
  • What is their demographic? Where do they come from? What is their sex, ethnicity, gender, religion, age?
  • Did you have specific restrictions when it came to choosing your participants?
  • Who were the cases, and who the control? How were they assigned their conditions in the study?
  • What selection method was used?
  • Equipment and Materials used.
  • What measures, equipment, stimuli, or materials did you use in the study?
  • Which testing instruments or technical equipment did you use?
  • Were there any special equipment such as psychological assessments used in the study?
  • Were there any special apparatus?
  • Design
  • Which design did you use?
  • Which variable and what was the level of these variables?
  • Which was your dependent or independent variable?
  • Which were the extraneous or control variables?
  • How did the variable influence your results?
  • How did you manipulate the measurement procedures to complete your experiment?
  • What was the baseline?
  • What assumptions and rationale did you have for this particular design?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Procedure: Describe how you did the research
  • What did the participants do?
  • Which order did you take in collecting the data?
  • How did you collect the data? 
  • What did you do? How did you do it?
  • Measurements and Calculations
  • What variables did you measure?
  • How?
  • Data Analysis

This is the last step

  • Which statistical analysis tools did you use, and why?
  • How will the data appear in the results section?
  • Are there any statistically significant differences?

Note:

Be concise and detailed in the procedure section.

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Therefore, the methods section has the following components:

  • Describe the actions taken to answer the research question
  • Justify why you used that specific method
  • Explain the analysis of the results
  • Describe all materials used in the study
  • Describe how you prepared before your research
  • Describe the study process
  • Explain the measurements taken
  • Describe the calculations performed.
  • Logically present the subsections while paying attention to the topic in the research paper.

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Now you can edit your work using the following checklist.

  • Is your methods section in the past tense?
  • Have you provided enough information that another researcher can emulate the procedure and still get similar outcomes?
  • Is your method section descriptive?
  • Is your methods section connected to the research paper?
  • Do you have any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors?
  • Have you checked for typos or missing information that is crucial to the research?
  • Have you gotten a second opinion when it comes regarding your work?
  • Have you followed the specific guidelines or instructions given by the instructor or journal requirements of the paper?

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Always:

  • Use the past tense to write the methods section.
  • Proofread the methods in context to the research paper.
  • Provide experiment details so that peers can replicate the study and report similar results
  • Please pay attention to how you write the methods section because it measures your entire research paper’s validity.
  • The readers judge the validity of your conclusions from this section.
  • The validity explains the applicability of your results in the target general population.
  • Your variables should show a cause-and-effect relationship.

Ethical considerations

If working with human or animal subjects, you should declare the adherence to ethical procedures to increase the validity and credibility of your research paper.

As you can see, writing the methods section for your research paper is simple if you follow the guidelines above.

All the best in your writing endeavors!

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