When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

  • PLOS Biology
  • PLOS Climate
  • PLOS Complex Systems
  • PLOS Computational Biology
  • PLOS Digital Health
  • PLOS Genetics
  • PLOS Global Public Health
  • PLOS Medicine
  • PLOS Mental Health
  • PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • PLOS Pathogens
  • PLOS Sustainability and Transformation
  • PLOS Collections
  • How to Write Your Methods

how to write methods in research paper

Ensure understanding, reproducibility and replicability

What should you include in your methods section, and how much detail is appropriate?

Why Methods Matter

The methods section was once the most likely part of a paper to be unfairly abbreviated, overly summarized, or even relegated to hard-to-find sections of a publisher’s website. While some journals may responsibly include more detailed elements of methods in supplementary sections, the movement for increased reproducibility and rigor in science has reinstated the importance of the methods section. Methods are now viewed as a key element in establishing the credibility of the research being reported, alongside the open availability of data and results.

A clear methods section impacts editorial evaluation and readers’ understanding, and is also the backbone of transparency and replicability.

For example, the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology project set out in 2013 to replicate experiments from 50 high profile cancer papers, but revised their target to 18 papers once they understood how much methodological detail was not contained in the original papers.

how to write methods in research paper

What to include in your methods section

What you include in your methods sections depends on what field you are in and what experiments you are performing. However, the general principle in place at the majority of journals is summarized well by the guidelines at PLOS ONE : “The Materials and Methods section should provide enough detail to allow suitably skilled investigators to fully replicate your study. ” The emphases here are deliberate: the methods should enable readers to understand your paper, and replicate your study. However, there is no need to go into the level of detail that a lay-person would require—the focus is on the reader who is also trained in your field, with the suitable skills and knowledge to attempt a replication.

A constant principle of rigorous science

A methods section that enables other researchers to understand and replicate your results is a constant principle of rigorous, transparent, and Open Science. Aim to be thorough, even if a particular journal doesn’t require the same level of detail . Reproducibility is all of our responsibility. You cannot create any problems by exceeding a minimum standard of information. If a journal still has word-limits—either for the overall article or specific sections—and requires some methodological details to be in a supplemental section, that is OK as long as the extra details are searchable and findable .

Imagine replicating your own work, years in the future

As part of PLOS’ presentation on Reproducibility and Open Publishing (part of UCSF’s Reproducibility Series ) we recommend planning the level of detail in your methods section by imagining you are writing for your future self, replicating your own work. When you consider that you might be at a different institution, with different account logins, applications, resources, and access levels—you can help yourself imagine the level of specificity that you yourself would require to redo the exact experiment. Consider:

  • Which details would you need to be reminded of? 
  • Which cell line, or antibody, or software, or reagent did you use, and does it have a Research Resource ID (RRID) that you can cite?
  • Which version of a questionnaire did you use in your survey? 
  • Exactly which visual stimulus did you show participants, and is it publicly available? 
  • What participants did you decide to exclude? 
  • What process did you adjust, during your work? 

Tip: Be sure to capture any changes to your protocols

You yourself would want to know about any adjustments, if you ever replicate the work, so you can surmise that anyone else would want to as well. Even if a necessary adjustment you made was not ideal, transparency is the key to ensuring this is not regarded as an issue in the future. It is far better to transparently convey any non-optimal methods, or methodological constraints, than to conceal them, which could result in reproducibility or ethical issues downstream.

Visual aids for methods help when reading the whole paper

Consider whether a visual representation of your methods could be appropriate or aid understanding your process. A visual reference readers can easily return to, like a flow-diagram, decision-tree, or checklist, can help readers to better understand the complete article, not just the methods section.

Ethical Considerations

In addition to describing what you did, it is just as important to assure readers that you also followed all relevant ethical guidelines when conducting your research. While ethical standards and reporting guidelines are often presented in a separate section of a paper, ensure that your methods and protocols actually follow these guidelines. Read more about ethics .

Existing standards, checklists, guidelines, partners

While the level of detail contained in a methods section should be guided by the universal principles of rigorous science outlined above, various disciplines, fields, and projects have worked hard to design and develop consistent standards, guidelines, and tools to help with reporting all types of experiment. Below, you’ll find some of the key initiatives. Ensure you read the submission guidelines for the specific journal you are submitting to, in order to discover any further journal- or field-specific policies to follow, or initiatives/tools to utilize.

Tip: Keep your paper moving forward by providing the proper paperwork up front

Be sure to check the journal guidelines and provide the necessary documents with your manuscript submission. Collecting the necessary documentation can greatly slow the first round of peer review, or cause delays when you submit your revision.

Randomized Controlled Trials – CONSORT The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) project covers various initiatives intended to prevent the problems of  inadequate reporting of randomized controlled trials. The primary initiative is an evidence-based minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials known as the CONSORT Statement . 

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses – PRISMA The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses ( PRISMA ) is an evidence-based minimum set of items focusing  on the reporting of  reviews evaluating randomized trials and other types of research.

Research using Animals – ARRIVE The Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments ( ARRIVE ) guidelines encourage maximizing the information reported in research using animals thereby minimizing unnecessary studies. (Original study and proposal , and updated guidelines , in PLOS Biology .) 

Laboratory Protocols Protocols.io has developed a platform specifically for the sharing and updating of laboratory protocols , which are assigned their own DOI and can be linked from methods sections of papers to enhance reproducibility. Contextualize your protocol and improve discovery with an accompanying Lab Protocol article in PLOS ONE .

Consistent reporting of Materials, Design, and Analysis – the MDAR checklist A cross-publisher group of editors and experts have developed, tested, and rolled out a checklist to help establish and harmonize reporting standards in the Life Sciences . The checklist , which is available for use by authors to compile their methods, and editors/reviewers to check methods, establishes a minimum set of requirements in transparent reporting and is adaptable to any discipline within the Life Sciences, by covering a breadth of potentially relevant methodological items and considerations. If you are in the Life Sciences and writing up your methods section, try working through the MDAR checklist and see whether it helps you include all relevant details into your methods, and whether it reminded you of anything you might have missed otherwise.

Summary Writing tips

The main challenge you may find when writing your methods is keeping it readable AND covering all the details needed for reproducibility and replicability. While this is difficult, do not compromise on rigorous standards for credibility!

how to write methods in research paper

  • Keep in mind future replicability, alongside understanding and readability.
  • Follow checklists, and field- and journal-specific guidelines.
  • Consider a commitment to rigorous and transparent science a personal responsibility, and not just adhering to journal guidelines.
  • Establish whether there are persistent identifiers for any research resources you use that can be specifically cited in your methods section.
  • Deposit your laboratory protocols in Protocols.io, establishing a permanent link to them. You can update your protocols later if you improve on them, as can future scientists who follow your protocols.
  • Consider visual aids like flow-diagrams, lists, to help with reading other sections of the paper.
  • Be specific about all decisions made during the experiments that someone reproducing your work would need to know.

how to write methods in research paper

Don’t

  • Summarize or abbreviate methods without giving full details in a discoverable supplemental section.
  • Presume you will always be able to remember how you performed the experiments, or have access to private or institutional notebooks and resources.
  • Attempt to hide constraints or non-optimal decisions you had to make–transparency is the key to ensuring the credibility of your research.
  • How to Write a Great Title
  • How to Write an Abstract
  • How to Report Statistics
  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
  • How to Edit Your Work

The contents of the Peer Review Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

The contents of the Writing Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …

There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

  • Affiliate Program

Wordvice

  • UNITED STATES
  • 台灣 (TAIWAN)
  • TÜRKIYE (TURKEY)
  • Academic Editing Services
  • - Research Paper
  • - Journal Manuscript
  • - Dissertation
  • - College & University Assignments
  • Admissions Editing Services
  • - Application Essay
  • - Personal Statement
  • - Recommendation Letter
  • - Cover Letter
  • - CV/Resume
  • Business Editing Services
  • - Business Documents
  • - Report & Brochure
  • - Website & Blog
  • Writer Editing Services
  • - Script & Screenplay
  • Our Editors
  • Client Reviews
  • Editing & Proofreading Prices
  • Wordvice Points
  • Partner Discount
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • APA Citation Generator
  • MLA Citation Generator
  • Chicago Citation Generator
  • Vancouver Citation Generator
  • - APA Style
  • - MLA Style
  • - Chicago Style
  • - Vancouver Style
  • Writing & Editing Guide
  • Academic Resources
  • Admissions Resources

How to Write a Methods Section for a Research Paper

how to write methods in research paper

A common piece of advice for authors preparing their first journal article for publication is to start with the methods section: just list everything that was done and go from there. While that might seem like a very practical approach to a first draft, if you do this without a clear outline and a story in mind, you can easily end up with journal manuscript sections that are not logically related to each other. 

Since the methods section constitutes the core of your paper, no matter when you write it, you need to use it to guide the reader carefully through your story from beginning to end without leaving questions unanswered. Missing or confusing details in this section will likely lead to early rejection of your manuscript or unnecessary back-and-forth with the reviewers until eventual publication. Here, you will find some useful tips on how to make your methods section the logical foundation of your research paper.

Not just a list of experiments and methods

While your introduction section provides the reader with the necessary background to understand your rationale and research question (and, depending on journal format and your personal preference, might already summarize the results), the methods section explains what exactly you did and how you did it. The point of this section is not to list all the boring details just for the sake of completeness. The purpose of the methods sections is to enable the reader to replicate exactly what you did, verify or corroborate your results, or maybe find that there are factors you did not consider or that are more relevant than expected. 

To make this section as easy to read as possible, you must clearly connect it to the information you provide in the introduction section before and the results section after, it needs to have a clear structure (chronologically or according to topics), and you need to present your results according to the same structure or topics later in the manuscript. There are also official guidelines and journal instructions to follow and ethical issues to avoid to ensure that your manuscript can quickly reach the publication stage.

Table of Contents:

  • General Methods Structure: What is Your Story? 
  • What Methods Should You Report (and Leave Out)? 
  • Details Frequently Missing from the Methods Section

More Journal Guidelines to Consider 

  • Accurate and Appropriate Language in the Methods

General Methods Section Structure: What Is Your Story? 

You might have conducted a number of experiments, maybe also a pilot before the main study to determine some specific factors or a follow-up experiment to clarify unclear details later in the process. Throwing all of these into your methods section, however, might not help the reader understand how everything is connected and how useful and appropriate your methodological approach is to investigate your specific research question. You therefore need to first come up with a clear outline and decide what to report and how to present that to the reader.

The first (and very important) decision to make is whether you present your experiments chronologically (e.g., Experiment 1, Experiment 2, Experiment 3… ), and guide the reader through every step of the process, or if you organize everything according to subtopics (e.g., Behavioral measures, Structural imaging markers, Functional imaging markers… ). In both cases, you need to use clear subheaders for the different subsections of your methods, and, very importantly, follow the same structure or focus on the same topics/measures in the results section so that the reader can easily follow along (see the two examples below).

If you are in doubt which way of organizing your experiments is better for your study, just ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the reader need to know the timeline of your study? 
  • Is it relevant that one experiment was conducted first, because the outcome of this experiment determined the stimuli or factors that went into the next?
  • Did the results of your first experiment leave important questions open that you addressed in an additional experiment (that was maybe not planned initially)?
  • Is the answer to all of these questions “no”? Then organizing your methods section according to topics of interest might be the more logical choice.

If you think your timeline, protocol, or setup might be confusing or difficult for the reader to grasp, consider adding a graphic, flow diagram, decision tree, or table as a visual aid.

What Methods Should You Report (and Leave Out)?

The answer to this question is quite simple–you need to report everything that another researcher needs to know to be able to replicate your study. Just imagine yourself reading your methods section in the future and trying to set up the same experiments again without prior knowledge. You would probably need to ask questions such as:

  • Where did you conduct your experiments (e.g., in what kind of room, under what lighting or temperature conditions, if those are relevant)? 
  • What devices did you use? Are there specific settings to report?
  • What specific software (and version of that software) did you use?
  • How did you find and select your participants?
  • How did you assign participants into groups?  
  • Did you exclude participants from the analysis? Why and how?
  • Where did your reagents or antibodies come from? Can you provide a Research Resource Identifier (RRID) ?
  • Did you make your stimuli yourself or did you get them from somewhere?
  • Are the stimuli you used available for other researchers?
  • What kind of questionnaires did you use? Have they been validated?
  • How did you analyze your data? What level of significance did you use?
  • Were there any technical issues and did you have to adjust protocols?

Note that for every experimental detail you provide, you need to tell the reader (briefly) why you used this type of stimulus/this group of participants/these specific amounts of reagents. If there is earlier published research reporting the same methods, cite those studies. If you did pilot experiments to determine those details, describe the procedures and the outcomes of these experiments. If you made assumptions about the suitability of something based on the literature and common practice at your institution, then explain that to the reader.

In a nutshell, established methods need to be cited, and new methods need to be clearly described and briefly justified. However, if the fact that you use a new approach or a method that is not traditionally used for the data or phenomenon you study is one of the main points of your study (and maybe already reflected in the title of your article), then you need to explain your rationale for doing so in the introduction already and discuss it in more detail in the discussion section .

Note that you also need to explain your statistical analyses at the end of your methods section. You present the results of these analyses later, in the results section of your paper, but you need to show the reader in the methods section already that your approach is either well-established or valid, even if it is new or unusual. 

When it comes to the question of what details you should leave out, the answer is equally simple ‒ everything that you would not need to replicate your study in the future. If the educational background of your participants is listed in your institutional database but is not relevant to your study outcome, then don’t include that. Other things you should not include in the methods section:

  • Background information that you already presented in the introduction section.
  • In-depth comparisons of different methods ‒ these belong in the discussion section.
  • Results, unless you summarize outcomes of pilot experiments that helped you determine factors for your main experiment.

Also, make sure your subheadings are as clear as possible, suit the structure you chose for your methods section, and are in line with the target journal guidelines. If you studied a disease intervention in human participants, then your methods section could look similar to this:

materials an methods breakdown

Since the main point of interest here are your patient-centered outcome variables, you would center your results section on these as well and choose your headers accordingly (e.g., Patient characteristics, Baseline evaluation, Outcome variable 1, Outcome variable 2, Drop-out rate ). 

If, instead, you did a series of visual experiments investigating the perception of faces including a pilot experiment to create the stimuli for your actual study, you would need to structure your methods section in a very different way, maybe like this:

materials and methods breakdown

Since here the analysis and outcome of the pilot experiment are already described in the methods section (as the basis for the main experimental setup and procedure), you do not have to mention it again in the results section. Instead, you could choose the two main experiments to structure your results section ( Discrimination and classification, Familiarization and adaptation ), or divide the results into all your test measures and/or potential interactions you described in the methods section (e.g., Discrimination performance, Classification performance, Adaptation aftereffects, Correlation analysis ).

Details Commonly Missing from the Methods Section

Manufacturer information.

For laboratory or technical equipment, you need to provide the model, name of the manufacturer, and company’s location. The usual format for these details is the product name (company name, city, state) for US-based manufacturers and the product name (company name, city/town, country) for companies outside the US.

Sample size and power estimation

Power and sample size estimations are measures for how many patients or participants are needed in a study in order to detect statistical significance and draw meaningful conclusions from the results. Outside of the medical field, studies are sometimes still conducted with a “the more the better” approach in mind, but since many journals now ask for those details, it is better to not skip this important step.

Ethical guidelines and approval

In addition to describing what you did, you also need to assure the editor and reviewers that your methods and protocols followed all relevant ethical standards and guidelines. This includes applying for approval at your local or national ethics committee, providing the name or location of that committee as well as the approval reference number you received, and, if you studied human participants, a statement that participants were informed about all relevant experimental details in advance and signed consent forms before the start of the study. For animal studies, you usually need to provide a statement that all procedures included in your research were in line with the Declaration of Helsinki. Make sure you check the target journal guidelines carefully, as these statements sometimes need to be placed at the end of the main article text rather than in the method section.

Structure & word limitations

While many journals simply follow the usual style guidelines (e.g., APA for the social sciences and psychology, AMA for medical research) and let you choose the headers of your method section according to your preferred structure and focus, some have precise guidelines and strict limitations, for example, on manuscript length and the maximum number of subsections or header levels. Make sure you read the instructions of your target journal carefully and restructure your method section if necessary before submission. If the journal does not give you enough space to include all the details that you deem necessary, then you can usually submit additional details as “supplemental” files and refer to those in the main text where necessary.

Standardized checklists

In addition to ethical guidelines and approval, journals also often ask you to submit one of the official standardized checklists for different study types to ensure all essential details are included in your manuscript. For example, there are checklists for randomized clinical trials, CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) , cohort, case-control, cross‐sectional studies, STROBE (STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology ), diagnostic accuracy, STARD (STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies) , systematic reviews and meta‐analyses PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta‐Analyses) , and Case reports, CARE (CAse REport) .

Make sure you check if the manuscript uses a single- or double-blind review procedure , and delete all information that might allow a reviewer to guess where the authors are located from the manuscript text if necessary. This means that your method section cannot list the name and location of your institution, the names of researchers who conducted specific tests, or the name of your institutional ethics committee.  

methods section checklist

Accurate and Appropriate Language in the Methods Section

Like all sections of your research paper, your method section needs to be written in an academic tone . That means it should be formal, vague expressions and colloquial language need to be avoided, and you need to correctly cite all your sources. If you describe human participants in your method section then you should be especially careful about your choice of words. For example, “participants” sounds more respectful than “subjects,” and patient-first language, that is, “patients with cancer,” is considered more appropriate than “cancer patients” by many journals.

Passive voice is often considered the standard for research papers, but it is completely fine to mix passive and active voice, even in the method section, to make your text as clear and concise as possible. Use the simple past tense to describe what you did, and the present tense when you refer to diagrams or tables. Have a look at this article if you need more general input on which verb tenses to use in a research paper . 

Lastly, make sure you label all the standard tests and questionnaires you use correctly (look up the original publication when in doubt) and spell genes and proteins according to the common databases for the species you studied, such as the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee database for human studies .  

Visit Wordvice AI’s AI Text Editor to receive a free grammar check and English editing services (including manuscript editing , paper editing , and dissertation editing ) before submitting your manuscript to journal editors.

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Published on 25 February 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022.

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analysed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, frequently asked questions about methodology.

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

how to write methods in research paper

Correct my document today

Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .

It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.

You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.

Option 1: Start with your “what”

What research problem or question did you investigate?

  • Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
  • Explore an under-researched topic?
  • Establish a causal relationship?

And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?

  • Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
  • Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
  • Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?

Option 2: Start with your “why”

Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?

  • Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ?

Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .

Quantitative methods

In order to be considered generalisable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.

Here, explain how you operationalised your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion/exclusion criteria, as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.

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

  • How did you design the questionnaire?
  • What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
  • Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • What was your sample size and response rate?

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

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

Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used 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)?

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.

The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on 4–8 July 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.

Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

Qualitative methods

In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.

Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)

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

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many participants took part?
  • What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
  • How long were the interviews?
  • How were they recorded?

Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .

  • What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
  • How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?

Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.

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

In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness shop’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.

Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.

Surveys were used to select participants. 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.

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.

Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods here.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Next, you should indicate how you processed and analysed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.

In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:

  • How you prepared the data before analysing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
  • Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
  • Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).

Specific methods might include:

  • 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

Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.

Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .

  • Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviours, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
  • Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalised beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
  • Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalisable.

Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.

1. Focus on your objectives and research questions

The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives  and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .

2. Cite relevant sources

Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:

  • Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
  • Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
  • Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature

3. Write for your audience

Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.

Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your objectives.

Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyse data (e.g. interviews, experiments , surveys , statistical tests ).

In a dissertation or scientific paper, the methodology chapter or methods section comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to test a hypothesis by systematically collecting and analysing data, while qualitative methods allow you to explore ideas and experiences in depth.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research.

For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

Statistical sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. There are various sampling methods you can use to ensure that your sample is representative of the population as a whole.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved 14 May 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/methodology/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a dissertation proposal | a step-by-step guide, what is a literature review | guide, template, & examples, what is a theoretical framework | a step-by-step guide.

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Therapy Center
  • When To See a Therapist
  • Types of Therapy
  • Best Online Therapy
  • Best Couples Therapy
  • Best Family Therapy
  • Managing Stress
  • Sleep and Dreaming
  • Understanding Emotions
  • Self-Improvement
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Student Resources
  • Personality Types
  • Guided Meditations
  • Verywell Mind Insights
  • 2024 Verywell Mind 25
  • Mental Health in the Classroom
  • Editorial Process
  • Meet Our Review Board
  • Crisis Support

How to Write a Methods Section for a Psychology Paper

Tips and Examples of an APA Methods Section

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

how to write methods in research paper

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

how to write methods in research paper

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

The methods section of an APA format psychology paper provides the methods and procedures used in a research study or experiment . This part of an APA paper is critical because it allows other researchers to see exactly how you conducted your research.

Method refers to the procedure that was used in a research study. It included a precise description of how the experiments were performed and why particular procedures were selected. While the APA technically refers to this section as the 'method section,' it is also often known as a 'methods section.'

The methods section ensures the experiment's reproducibility and the assessment of alternative methods that might produce different results. It also allows researchers to replicate the experiment and judge the study's validity.

This article discusses how to write a methods section for a psychology paper, including important elements to include and tips that can help.

What to Include in a Method Section

So what exactly do you need to include when writing your method section? You should provide detailed information on the following:

  • Research design
  • Participants
  • Participant behavior

The method section should provide enough information to allow other researchers to replicate your experiment or study.

Components of a Method Section

The method section should utilize subheadings to divide up different subsections. These subsections typically include participants, materials, design, and procedure.

Participants 

In this part of the method section, you should describe the participants in your experiment, including who they were (and any unique features that set them apart from the general population), how many there were, and how they were selected. If you utilized random selection to choose your participants, it should be noted here.

For example: "We randomly selected 100 children from elementary schools near the University of Arizona."

At the very minimum, this part of your method section must convey:

  • Basic demographic characteristics of your participants (such as sex, age, ethnicity, or religion)
  • The population from which your participants were drawn
  • Any restrictions on your pool of participants
  • How many participants were assigned to each condition and how they were assigned to each group (i.e., randomly assignment , another selection method, etc.)
  • Why participants took part in your research (i.e., the study was advertised at a college or hospital, they received some type of incentive, etc.)

Information about participants helps other researchers understand how your study was performed, how generalizable the result might be, and allows other researchers to replicate the experiment with other populations to see if they might obtain the same results.

In this part of the method section, you should describe the materials, measures, equipment, or stimuli used in the experiment. This may include:

  • Testing instruments
  • Technical equipment
  • Any psychological assessments that were used
  • Any special equipment that was used

For example: "Two stories from Sullivan et al.'s (1994) second-order false belief attribution tasks were used to assess children's understanding of second-order beliefs."

For standard equipment such as computers, televisions, and videos, you can simply name the device and not provide further explanation.

Specialized equipment should be given greater detail, especially if it is complex or created for a niche purpose. In some instances, such as if you created a special material or apparatus for your study, you might need to include an illustration of the item in the appendix of your paper.

In this part of your method section, describe the type of design used in the experiment. Specify the variables as well as the levels of these variables. Identify:

  • The independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Control variables
  • Any extraneous variables that might influence your results.

Also, explain whether your experiment uses a  within-groups  or between-groups design.

For example: "The experiment used a 3x2 between-subjects design. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs."

The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Your procedures should explain:

  • What the participants did
  • How data was collected
  • The order in which steps occurred

For example: "An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average. The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded."

Keep this subsection concise yet detailed. Explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

Tips for How to Write a Methods Section

In addition to following the basic structure of an APA method section, there are also certain things you should remember when writing this section of your paper. Consider the following tips when writing this section:

  • Use the past tense : Always write the method section in the past tense.
  • Be descriptive : Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your experiment, but focus on brevity. Avoid unnecessary detail that is not relevant to the outcome of the experiment.
  • Use an academic tone : Use formal language and avoid slang or colloquial expressions. Word choice is also important. Refer to the people in your experiment or study as "participants" rather than "subjects."
  • Use APA format : Keep a style guide on hand as you write your method section. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the official source for APA style.
  • Make connections : Read through each section of your paper for agreement with other sections. If you mention procedures in the method section, these elements should be discussed in the results and discussion sections.
  • Proofread : Check your paper for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.. typos, grammar problems, and spelling errors. Although a spell checker is a handy tool, there are some errors only you can catch.

After writing a draft of your method section, be sure to get a second opinion. You can often become too close to your work to see errors or lack of clarity. Take a rough draft of your method section to your university's writing lab for additional assistance.

A Word From Verywell

The method section is one of the most important components of your APA format paper. The goal of your paper should be to clearly detail what you did in your experiment. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your study if they wanted.

Finally, if you are writing your paper for a class or for a specific publication, be sure to keep in mind any specific instructions provided by your instructor or by the journal editor. Your instructor may have certain requirements that you need to follow while writing your method section.

Frequently Asked Questions

While the subsections can vary, the three components that should be included are sections on the participants, the materials, and the procedures.

  • Describe who the participants were in the study and how they were selected.
  • Define and describe the materials that were used including any equipment, tests, or assessments
  • Describe how the data was collected

To write your methods section in APA format, describe your participants, materials, study design, and procedures. Keep this section succinct, and always write in the past tense. The main heading of this section should be labeled "Method" and it should be centered, bolded, and capitalized. Each subheading within this section should be bolded, left-aligned and in title case.

The purpose of the methods section is to describe what you did in your experiment. It should be brief, but include enough detail that someone could replicate your experiment based on this information. Your methods section should detail what you did to answer your research question. Describe how the study was conducted, the study design that was used and why it was chosen, and how you collected the data and analyzed the results.

Erdemir F. How to write a materials and methods section of a scientific article ? Turk J Urol . 2013;39(Suppl 1):10-5. doi:10.5152/tud.2013.047

Kallet RH. How to write the methods section of a research paper . Respir Care . 2004;49(10):1229-32. PMID: 15447808.

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

American Psychological Association. APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards . Published 2020.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 6. The Methodology
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The methods section describes actions taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

Kallet, Richard H. "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004): 1229-1232.

Importance of a Good Methodology Section

You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons:

  • Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper.
  • Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings.
  • In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique.
  • The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from.
  • The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings.
  • The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.
  • In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized.

Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects . 5th edition. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2014; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Groups of Research Methods

There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:

  • The e mpirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences . This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation.
  • The i nterpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way . Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes. Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge.

II.  Content

The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. This is followed by situating the methods you used to gather, analyze, and process information within the overall “tradition” of your field of study and within the particular research design you have chosen to study the problem. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i.e., your review of the literature demonstrates that the method is not commonly used], provide a justification for how your choice of methods specifically addresses the research problem in ways that have not been utilized in prior studies.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following:

  • Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined,
  • Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables,
  • The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and
  • The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should:

  • Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem . Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both (mixed method)? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?
  • Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design . Your methods for gathering data should have a clear connection to your research problem. In other words, make sure that your methods will actually address the problem. One of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is not suitable to achieving the stated objective of your paper.
  • Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use , such as, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. If you are analyzing existing data, such as a data set or archival documents, describe how it was originally created or gathered and by whom. Also be sure to explain how older data is still relevant to investigating the current research problem.
  • Explain how you intend to analyze your results . Will you use statistical analysis? Will you use specific theoretical perspectives to help you analyze a text or explain observed behaviors? Describe how you plan to obtain an accurate assessment of relationships, patterns, trends, distributions, and possible contradictions found in the data.
  • Provide background and a rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers . Very often in the social sciences, research problems and the methods for investigating them require more explanation/rationale than widely accepted rules governing the natural and physical sciences. Be clear and concise in your explanation.
  • Provide a justification for subject selection and sampling procedure . For instance, if you propose to conduct interviews, how do you intend to select the sample population? If you are analyzing texts, which texts have you chosen, and why? If you are using statistics, why is this set of data being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate to addressing the research problem.
  • Provide a justification for case study selection . A common method of analyzing research problems in the social sciences is to analyze specific cases. These can be a person, place, event, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis that are either examined as a singular topic of in-depth investigation or multiple topics of investigation studied for the purpose of comparing or contrasting findings. In either method, you should explain why a case or cases were chosen and how they specifically relate to the research problem.
  • Describe potential limitations . Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? How will you attempt to control for potential confounding variables and errors? If your methodology may lead to problems you can anticipate, state this openly and show why pursuing this methodology outweighs the risk of these problems cropping up.

NOTE :   Once you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. If necessary, consider using appendices for raw data.

ANOTHER NOTE : If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data [e.g., through interviews or observations], the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.

YET ANOTHER NOTE :   If your study involves interviews, observations, or other qualitative techniques involving human subjects , you may be required to obtain approval from the university's Office for the Protection of Research Subjects before beginning your research. This is not a common procedure for most undergraduate level student research assignments. However, i f your professor states you need approval, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the office and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university. This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper.

III.  Problems to Avoid

Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but concise. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.e., the choice of a survey should include any citations to the works you used to help construct the survey].

It’s More than Sources of Information! A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.

Azevedo, L.F. et al. "How to Write a Scientific Paper: Writing the Methods Section." Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia 17 (2011): 232-238; Blair Lorrie. “Choosing a Methodology.” In Writing a Graduate Thesis or Dissertation , Teaching Writing Series. (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers 2016), pp. 49-72; Butin, Dan W. The Education Dissertation A Guide for Practitioner Scholars . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010; Carter, Susan. Structuring Your Research Thesis . New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; Kallet, Richard H. “How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper.” Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004):1229-1232; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Methods Section. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Rudestam, Kjell Erik and Rae R. Newton. “The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan.” In Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process . (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2015), pp. 87-115; What is Interpretive Research. Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah; Writing the Experimental Report: Methods, Results, and Discussion. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Writing Tip

Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them!

Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

To locate data and statistics, GO HERE .

Another Writing Tip

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods

There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world. Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce.

Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem. This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory.

Reynolds, R. Larry. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics . Part 1, Chapter 3. Boise State University; The Theory-Method Relationship. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Methods and the Methodology

Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology." As Schneider notes, a method refers to the technical steps taken to do research . Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used . This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. "Of Methods and Methodology." Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 3 (2008): 159-168; Schneider, Florian. “What's in a Methodology: The Difference between Method, Methodology, and Theory…and How to Get the Balance Right?” PoliticsEastAsia.com. Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands.

  • << Previous: Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Next: Qualitative Methods >>
  • Last Updated: May 9, 2024 11:05 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide

UCI Libraries Mobile Site

  • Langson Library
  • Science Library
  • Grunigen Medical Library
  • Law Library
  • Connect From Off-Campus
  • Accessibility
  • Gateway Study Center

Libaries home page

Email this link

Writing a scientific paper.

  • Writing a lab report
  • INTRODUCTION

Writing a "good" methods section

"methods checklist" from: how to write a good scientific paper. chris a. mack. spie. 2018..

  • LITERATURE CITED
  • Bibliography of guides to scientific writing and presenting
  • Peer Review
  • Presentations
  • Lab Report Writing Guides on the Web

The purpose is to provide enough detail that a competent worker could repeat the experiment. Many of your readers will skip this section because they already know from the Introduction the general methods you used. However careful writing of this section is important because for your results to be of scientific merit they must be reproducible. Otherwise your paper does not represent good science.

  • Exact technical specifications and quantities and source or method of preparation
  • Describe equipment used and provide illustrations where relevant.
  • Chronological presentation (but related methods described together)
  • Questions about "how" and "how much" are answered for the reader and not left for them to puzzle over
  • Discuss statistical methods only if unusual or advanced
  • When a large number of components are used prepare tables for the benefit of the reader
  • Do not state the action without stating the agent of the action
  • Describe how the results were generated with sufficient detail so that an independent researcher (working in the same field) could reproduce the results sufficiently to allow validation of the conclusions.
  • Can the reader assess internal validity (conclusions are supported by the results presented)?
  • Can the reader assess external validity (conclusions are properly generalized beyond these specific results)?
  • Has the chosen method been justified?
  • Are data analysis and statistical approaches justified, with assumptions and biases considered?
  • Avoid: including results in the Method section; including extraneous details (unnecessary to enable reproducibility or judge validity); treating the method as a chronological history of events; unneeded references to commercial products; references to “proprietary” products or processes unavailable to the reader. 
  • << Previous: INTRODUCTION
  • Next: RESULTS >>
  • Last Updated: Aug 4, 2023 9:33 AM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/scientificwriting

Off-campus? Please use the Software VPN and choose the group UCIFull to access licensed content. For more information, please Click here

Software VPN is not available for guests, so they may not have access to some content when connecting from off-campus.

Enago Academy

How to Write the Methods Section of a Scientific Article

' src=

What Is the Methods Section of a Research Paper?

The Methods section of a research article includes an explanation of the procedures used to conduct the experiment. For authors of scientific research papers, the objective is to present their findings clearly and concisely and to provide enough information so that the experiment can be duplicated.

Research articles contain very specific sections, usually dictated by either the target journal or specific style guides. For example, in the social and behavioral sciences, the American Psychological Association (APA) style guide is used to gather information on how the manuscript should be arranged . As with most styles, APA’s objectives are to ensure that manuscripts are written with minimum distractions to the reader. Every research article should include a detailed Methods section after the Introduction.

Why is the Methods Section Important?

The Methods section (also referred to as “Materials and Methods”) is important because it provides the reader enough information to judge whether the study is valid and reproducible.

Structure of the Methods Section in a Research Paper

While designing a research study, authors typically decide on the key points that they’re trying to prove or the “ cause-and-effect relationship ” between objects of the study. Very simply, the study is designed to meet the objective. According to APA, a Methods section comprises of the following three subsections: participants, apparatus, and procedure.

How do You Write a Method Section in Biology?

In biological sciences, the Methods section might be more detailed, but the objectives are the same—to present the study clearly and concisely so that it is understandable and can be duplicated.

If animals (including human subjects) were used in the study, authors should ensure to include statements that they were treated according to the protocols outlined to ensure that treatment is as humane as possible.

  • The Declaration of Helsinki is a set of ethical principles developed by The World Medical Association to provide guidance to scientists and physicians in medical research involving human subjects.

Research conducted at an institution using human participants is overseen by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) with which it is affiliated. IRB is an administrative body whose purpose is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects during their participation in the study.

Literature Search

Literature searches are performed to gather as much information as relevant from previous studies. They are important for providing evidence on the topic and help validate the research. Most are accomplished using keywords or phrases to search relevant databases. For example, both MEDLINE and PubMed provide information on biomedical literature. Google Scholar, according to APA, is “one of the best sources available to an individual beginning a literature search.” APA also suggests using PsycINFO and refers to it as “the premier database for locating articles in psychological science and related literature.”

Authors must make sure to have a set of keywords (usually taken from the objective statement) to stay focused and to avoid having the search move far from the original objective. Authors will benefit by setting limiting parameters, such as date ranges, and avoiding getting pulled into the trap of using non-valid resources, such as social media, conversations with people in the same discipline, or similar non-valid sources, as references.

Related: Ready with your methods section and looking forward to manuscript submission ? Check these journal selection guidelines now!

What Should be Included in the Methods Section of a Research Paper?

One commonly misused term in research papers is “methodology.” Methodology refers to a branch of the Philosophy of Science which deals with scientific methods, not to the methods themselves, so authors should avoid using it. Here is the list of main subsections that should be included in the Methods section of a research paper ; authors might use subheadings more clearly to describe their research.

  • Literature search : Authors should cite any sources that helped with their choice of methods. Authors should indicate timeframes of past studies and their particular parameters.
  • Study participants : Authors should cite the source from where they received any non-human subjects. The number of animals used, the ages, sex, their initial conditions, and how they were housed and cared for, should be listed. In case of human subjects, authors should provide the characteristics, such as geographical location; their age ranges, sex, and medical history (if relevant); and the number of subjects. In case hospital records were used, authors should include the subjects’ basic health information and vital statistics at the beginning of the study. Authors should also state that written informed consent was provided by each subject.
  • Inclusion/exclusion criteria : Authors should describe their inclusion and exclusion criteria, how they were determined, and how many subjects were eliminated.
  • Group characteristics (could be combined with “Study participants”) : Authors should describe how the chosen group was divided into subgroups and their characteristics, including the control. Authors should also describe any specific equipment used, such as housing needs and feed (usually for animal studies). If patient records are reviewed and assessed, authors should mention whether the reviewers were blinded to them.
  • Procedures : Authors should describe their study design. Any necessary preparations (e.g., tissue samples, drugs) and instruments must be explained. Authors should describe how the subjects were “ manipulated to answer the experimental question .” Timeframes should be included to ensure that the procedures are clear (e.g., “Rats were given XX drug for 14 d”). For animals sacrificed, the methods used and the protocols followed should be outlined.
  • Statistical analyses: The type of data, how they were measured, and which statistical tests were performed, should be described. (Note: This is not the “results” section; any relevant tables and figures should be referenced later.) Specific software used must be cited.

What Should not be Included in Your Methods Section?

Common pitfalls can make the manuscript cumbersome to read or might make the readers question the validity of the research. The University of Southern California provides some guidelines .

  • Background information that is not helpful must be avoided.
  • Authors must avoid providing a lot of detail.
  • Authors should focus more on how their method was used to meet their objective and less on mechanics .
  • Any obstacles faced and how they were overcome should be described (often in your “Study Limitations”). This will help validate the results.

According to the University of Richmond , authors must avoid including extensive details or an exhaustive list of equipment that have been used as readers could quickly lose attention. These unnecessary details add nothing to validate the research and do not help the reader understand how the objective was satisfied. A well-thought-out Methods section is one of the most important parts of the manuscript. Authors must make a note to always prepare a draft that lists all parts, allow others to review it, and revise it to remove any superfluous information.

' src=

m so confused about ma research but now m okay so thank uh so mxh

Mil gracias por su ayuda.

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

how to write methods in research paper

Enago Academy's Most Popular Articles

manuscript writing with AI

  • AI in Academia
  • Infographic
  • Manuscripts & Grants
  • Reporting Research
  • Trending Now

Can AI Tools Prepare a Research Manuscript From Scratch? — A comprehensive guide

As technology continues to advance, the question of whether artificial intelligence (AI) tools can prepare…

difference between abstract and introduction

Abstract Vs. Introduction — Do you know the difference?

Ross wants to publish his research. Feeling positive about his research outcomes, he begins to…

how to write methods in research paper

  • Old Webinars
  • Webinar Mobile App

Demystifying Research Methodology With Field Experts

Choosing research methodology Research design and methodology Evidence-based research approach How RAxter can assist researchers

Best Research Methodology

  • Manuscript Preparation
  • Publishing Research

How to Choose Best Research Methodology for Your Study

Successful research conduction requires proper planning and execution. While there are multiple reasons and aspects…

Methods and Methodology

Top 5 Key Differences Between Methods and Methodology

While burning the midnight oil during literature review, most researchers do not realize that the…

How to Draft the Acknowledgment Section of a Manuscript

Discussion Vs. Conclusion: Know the Difference Before Drafting Manuscripts

how to write methods in research paper

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

how to write methods in research paper

As a researcher, what do you consider most when choosing an image manipulation detector?

How to write the methods section of a research paper

Affiliation.

  • 1 Respiratory Care Services, San Francisco General Hospital, NH:GA-2, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA. [email protected]
  • PMID: 15447808

The methods section of a research paper provides the information by which a study's validity is judged. Therefore, it requires a clear and precise description of how an experiment was done, and the rationale for why specific experimental procedures were chosen. The methods section should describe what was done to answer the research question, describe how it was done, justify the experimental design, and explain how the results were analyzed. Scientific writing is direct and orderly. Therefore, the methods section structure should: describe the materials used in the study, explain how the materials were prepared for the study, describe the research protocol, explain how measurements were made and what calculations were performed, and state which statistical tests were done to analyze the data. Once all elements of the methods section are written, subsequent drafts should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and logically as possibly. The description of preparations, measurements, and the protocol should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. Material in each section should be organized by topic from most to least important.

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Research Design
  • Writing* / standards
  • Locations and Hours
  • UCLA Library
  • Research Guides
  • Research Tips and Tools

Advanced Research Methods

Writing the research paper.

  • What Is Research?
  • Library Research
  • Writing a Research Proposal

Before Writing the Paper

Methods, thesis, and hypothesis, clarity, precision, and academic expression, format your paper, typical problems, a few suggestions, avoid plagiarism.

  • Presenting the Research Paper
  • Try to find a subject that really interests you.
  • While you explore the topic, narrow or broaden your target and focus on something that gives the most promising results.
  • Don't choose a huge subject if you have to write a 3 page long paper, and broaden your topic sufficiently if you have to submit at least 25 pages.
  • Consult your class instructor (and your classmates) about the topic.
  • Find primary and secondary sources in the library.
  • Read and critically analyse them.
  • Take notes.
  • Compile surveys, collect data, gather materials for quantitative analysis (if these are good methods to investigate the topic more deeply).
  • Come up with new ideas about the topic. Try to formulate your ideas in a few sentences.
  • Review your notes and other materials and enrich the outline.
  • Try to estimate how long the individual parts will be.
  • Do others understand what you want to say?
  • Do they accept it as new knowledge or relevant and important for a paper?
  • Do they agree that your thoughts will result in a successful paper?
  • Qualitative: gives answers on questions (how, why, when, who, what, etc.) by investigating an issue
  • Quantitative:requires data and the analysis of data as well
  • the essence, the point of the research paper in one or two sentences.
  • a statement that can be proved or disproved.
  • Be specific.
  • Avoid ambiguity.
  • Use predominantly the active voice, not the passive.
  • Deal with one issue in one paragraph.
  • Be accurate.
  • Double-check your data, references, citations and statements.

Academic Expression

  • Don't use familiar style or colloquial/slang expressions.
  • Write in full sentences.
  • Check the meaning of the words if you don't know exactly what they mean.
  • Avoid metaphors.
  • Almost the rough content of every paragraph.
  • The order of the various topics in your paper.
  • On the basis of the outline, start writing a part by planning the content, and then write it down.
  • Put a visible mark (which you will later delete) where you need to quote a source, and write in the citation when you finish writing that part or a bigger part.
  • Does the text make sense?
  • Could you explain what you wanted?
  • Did you write good sentences?
  • Is there something missing?
  • Check the spelling.
  • Complete the citations, bring them in standard format.

Use the guidelines that your instructor requires (MLA, Chicago, APA, Turabian, etc.).

  • Adjust margins, spacing, paragraph indentation, place of page numbers, etc.
  • Standardize the bibliography or footnotes according to the guidelines.

how to write methods in research paper

  • EndNote and EndNote Basic by UCLA Library Last Updated May 8, 2024 1037 views this year
  • Zotero by UCLA Library Last Updated Apr 23, 2024 760 views this year

(Based on English Composition 2 from Illinois Valley Community College):

  • Weak organization
  • Poor support and development of ideas
  • Weak use of secondary sources
  • Excessive errors
  • Stylistic weakness

When collecting materials, selecting research topic, and writing the paper:

  • Be systematic and organized (e.g. keep your bibliography neat and organized; write your notes in a neat way, so that you can find them later on.
  • Use your critical thinking ability when you read.
  • Write down your thoughts (so that you can reconstruct them later).
  • Stop when you have a really good idea and think about whether you could enlarge it to a whole research paper. If yes, take much longer notes.
  • When you write down a quotation or summarize somebody else's thoughts in your notes or in the paper, cite the source (i.e. write down the author, title, publication place, year, page number).
  • If you quote or summarize a thought from the internet, cite the internet source.
  • Write an outline that is detailed enough to remind you about the content.
  • Read your paper for yourself or, preferably, somebody else. 
  • When you finish writing, check the spelling;
  • Use the citation form (MLA, Chicago, or other) that your instructor requires and use it everywhere.

Plagiarism : somebody else's words or ideas presented without citation by an author

  • Cite your source every time when you quote a part of somebody's work.
  • Cite your source  every time when you summarize a thought from somebody's work.
  • Cite your source  every time when you use a source (quote or summarize) from the Internet.

Consult the Citing Sources research guide for further details.

  • << Previous: Writing a Research Proposal
  • Next: Presenting the Research Paper >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 4, 2024 12:24 PM
  • URL: https://guides.library.ucla.edu/research-methods

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • Turk J Urol
  • v.39(Suppl 1); 2013 Sep

How to write a materials and methods section of a scientific article?

In contrast to past centuries, scientific researchers have been currently conducted systematically in all countries as part of an education strategy. As a consequence, scientists have published thousands of reports. Writing an effective article is generally a significant problem for researchers. All parts of an article, specifically the abstract, material and methods, results, discussion and references sections should contain certain features that should always be considered before sending a manuscript to a journal for publication. It is generally known that the material and methods section is a relatively easy section of an article to write. Therefore, it is often a good idea to begin by writing the materials and methods section, which is also a crucial part of an article. Because “reproducible results” are very important in science, a detailed account of the study should be given in this section. If the authors provide sufficient detail, other scientists can repeat their experiments to verify their findings. It is generally recommended that the materials and methods should be written in the past tense, either in active or passive voice. In this section, ethical approval, study dates, number of subjects, groups, evaluation criteria, exclusion criteria and statistical methods should be described sequentially. It should be noted that a well-written materials and methods section markedly enhances the chances of an article being published.

How to Write a Materials and Methods Section of a Scientific Article?

Up to the 18 th Century scientific researches were performed on a voluntary basis by certain scientists. However from the second half of the 19 th century, scientific development has gained momentum with the contributions of numerous scientists including Edison, Fleming, and Koch. In parallel with these developments, apparently each scientific field, and even their branches made, and still making magnificent progressions from the end of the 18 th century. Secondary to these developments, scientific researches have been implemented systematically by universities, and various institutions in every part of the world as an integral component of national strategies. Naturally, the number of researchers who performed scientific investigations or sponsored by various institutions increased considerably. Also, as is known very well, all over the world scientists, and researchers move from one place to another to disseminate scientific knowledge. All of these scientific efforts, and activities reflect on clinical practice, and hundreds of thousands, and millions scientific articles which we can currently gain access into all of them online. As indicated by the investigator Gerard Piel, “Without publication, science is dead” which explains the importance of publication. In other words, if you don’t share your investigation and knowledge, they don’t mean anything by themselves. Although sharing the knowledge is essential for writing a scientific paper, nowadays writing a scientific article is mostly learnt as a master-apprentice relationship, and therefore certain standards have not been established. This phenomenon creates serious stress especially for young investigators in their early stage of writing scientific papers. Indeed investigators receiving their residency training confront this reality finally during writing of their dissertations. Though sharing knowledge is known as a fundamental principle in writing a scientific paper, it creates difficulties in the whole world. Relevant to this issue, in the whole world investigations have been performed, and books have been written on the subject of how to write a scientific paper. Accordingly, in our country mostly local meetings, and courses have been organized. These organizations, and investigations should be performed. Indeed, nowadays, in the first assessments, the rejection rate of the journals by internationally acknowledged scientific indexes as “Science Citation İndex (SCI)” and “Science Citation İndex Expanded (SCI-extended” which have certain scientific standards, increases to 62 percent. As a matter of fact only 25% of Class A journals have been included in the lists of SCI, and SCI-extended.

As we all know very well, scientific articles consist of sections of summary, introduction, material, and methods, discussion, and references. Among them, conventionally Materials and Methods section has been reported as the most easily written or will be written section. Although it is known as the most easily written section, nearly 30% of the reasons for rejection are related to this section per se. Therefore due care, and attention should be given to the writing of this section. In the writing process of the ‘Material and Methods’ section, all achievements performed throughout the study period should be dealt with in consideration of certain criteria in a specific sequence. Since as a globally anticipated viewpoint, ‘Materials and Methods’ section can be written quite easily, it has been indicated that if difficulties are encountered in writing a manuscript, then one should start writing from this section. In writing this section, study design describing the type of the article, study subjects to be investigated, methods, and procedures of measurements should be provided under four main headings. [ 1 , 2 ] Accordingly, in brief, we can emphasize the importance of providing clear-cut, adequate, and detailed information in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section to the scientists who will read this scientific article. Meeting these criteria carries great importance with respect to the evaluation of reliability of the investigation by the readers, and reviewers, and also informing them about procedural method, design, data collection, and assessment methods of the investigation, Priorly, as is the case in all scientific investigations, one should be reminded about the importance, and indispensability of compliance with certain standard writing rules. Accordingly, rules of grammar should be obeyed, and if possible passive voice of simple past tense should be used. Related to these rules, use of verbs ‘investigated’, ‘evaluated’ or ‘performed’ will be appropriate. Recently, expressions showing the ownership of the investigation as ‘we performed’, ‘we evaluated’, ‘we implemented’ have taken priority. Since the important point is communication of the message contained in the scientific study, the message should be clearly comprehensible. While ensuring clarity of the message, use of flourishing, and irrelevant sentences should be avoided. [ 1 , 3 ] According to another approach, since our article will be read by professionals of other disciplines, it is important to comply with certain rules of writing. To that end, standard units of measurements, and international abbreviations should be used. Abbreviations should be explained within parentheses at their first mention in the manuscript. For instance let’s analyze the following sentence” The patients were evaluated with detailed medical history, physical examination, complete urinalysis, PSA, and urinary system ultrasound” The abbreviation PSA is very well known by the urologist. However we shouldn’t forget that this article will be read by the professionals in other medical disciplines. Similarly this sentence should not be written as: “The patients were evaluated with detailed medical history, physical examination, complete urinalysis PSA (prostate-specific antigen), and urinary system ultrasound.” Indeed the abbreviation should follow the explanation of this abbreviation. Then the appropriate expression of the sentence should be. “The patients were evaluated with detailed medical history, physical examination, complete urinalysis, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and urinary system ultrasound.”

In addition to the abovementioned information, in the beginning paragraphs of ‘Materials and Methods’ section of a clinical study the answers to the following questions should be absolutely provided:

  • The beginning, and termination dates of the study period.
  • Number of subjects/patients/experimental animals etc. enrolled in the study,
  • Has the approval of the ethics committee been obtained?
  • Study design (prospective, retrospective or other). [ 1 , 2 , 4 – 7 ]

Still additional features of the study design (cross-sectional) should be indicated. Apart from this, other types of study designs (randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled or double-blind, parallel control etc.) should be revealed.

The heading of the section “Materials and Methods” can be changed to “Patients and the Method” in accordance with writing rules of the journal in question. Indication of starting, and termination dates of a clinical study will facilitate scientific interpretation of the article. Accordingly, outcomes obtained during development phase of a newly implemented method might be considered differently from those acquired during conventional use of this method. Besides, incidence of the diseases, and number of affected people might vary under the impact of social fluctuations, and environmental factors. Therefore with this justification study period should be specified. Number of cases included in the study should be absolutely indicated in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section. It will be appropriate to determine study population after consultation to a statistician-and if required-following “power analysis” Accordingly, the need for a control group will be indicated based on the study design. Nowadays, as a requirement of patient rights, obtainment of approval from ethics committee should be indicated with its registration number. In addition, acquirement of informed consent forms from patients should be indicated. Ethics Committee approval should be obtained in prospective studies performed with study drugs. Otherwise in case of occurrence of adverse effects, it should be acknowledged that in compliance with Article #90 of the Turkish Criminal Law, a 3-year prison sentence is given to the guilty parties. [ 8 ] Since issues related to the Ethics Committee are the subject of another manuscript, they won’t be handled herein.

The following paragraph exemplifies clearly the aforementioned arguments: “After approval of the local ethics committee (BADK-22), informed consent forms from the patients were obtained, and a total of 176 cases with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) were retrospectively evaluated between January 2011, and December 2012.” In a prospectively designed study, methods used to communicate with the cases including face-to-face interviews, phone calls and/or e-mail should be indicated. [ 1 , 2 ] Each paragraph or subheading in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section should be in accordance with the related ones in the ‘Results’ section. In other words, the sequence of paragraphs, and subheadings in the ‘Results’ section should be the same in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section.

As a next step, names of the groups, and distribution of the cases in these groups should be indicated. For instance: the statement “Cases were divided into 3 groups based on their LUTS scores as. Groups 1 (0–9; n=91), 2 (10–18; n=66), and 3 (≥19; n=20)” clearly delineates the scope of the study at baseline.. In the ‘Materials and Methods’ section the number of study subjects should be absolutely documented. Herein, after assignment of names to groups, in the rest of the manuscript, these names should be used. For example instead of saying: “Mean ages of the cases with LUTS scores between 0–9, 10–18, and ≥19 were determined to be 63.2±2.1, 62.8±4.5, and 65.7±3.9 years, respectively” it will be more comprehensible to use the expression: “Mean ages of the Groups 1, 2, and 3 were specified as 63.2±2.1, 62.8±4.5, and 65.7±3.9 years.” (p=0.478). Expressions indicated in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section should not be repeated in the “Results” section. Thus, errors of repetition will be precluded. Following the abovementioned information, the evaluation method of the cases enrolled in the study should be indicated. Hence, results of medical history, physical examination, and if performed laboratory or radiological evaluations-in that order-should be indicated. The application of survey study-if any-should be investigated, and documented. Therefore, the following sentences encompass all the information stated above: “The cases were evaluated with detailed medical history, physical examination, measurements of serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone (T) levels, complete urinalysis, urinary flow rate, direct urinary system roentgenograms, urinary system ultrasound, and if required cyctoscopy. Lower urinary system complaints, and erectile dysfunction were evaluated using International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), and International Erectile Function Scale (IIEF), respectively.” Apparently, questionnaire forms were used in the above-cited study. However, methods used for the evaluation of questionnaire forms, and significance of the results obtained, and if possible, the first performer of this survey should be written with accompanying references. In relation to the abovementioned questionnaires the following statements constitute standard expressions for the ‘Materials and Methods’ section: “International Prostate Symptom Score (IPPS) was used in the determination of the severity of prostatic symptoms. IPSS used to determine the severity of the disease, evaluate treatment response, and ascertain the symptomatic progression, is the most optimal scoring system recommended by European Association of Urology (EAU) which classifies the severity of the disease based on IPSS scores as mild (0–7), moderate (8–19), and severe symptomatic (20–35) disease. In the evaluation of sexual function International Erectile Function Scale (IIEF) was used. IIEF is one of the most prevalently used form for the patients who consulted for the complaints of sexual dysfunction Based on IIEF scores, the severity of the disease was classified as severe (1–10), moderate (11–16), mild to moderate (17–21), mild (22–25), and no ED (26–30).”

Whether the institutions of the authors working for should be written in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section can be a subject of debate, generally viewpoints favour provision of this information. However, in compliance with their writing rules, some journals do not favour open-label studies where name of the study site is indicated, and this principle is communicated to the author during editorial evaluation Besides, in the ‘Materials and Methods’ section, the brand of the study object, and its country of origin should be indicated. (ie. if radiological methods are used, then the brand of radiological equipment, and its manufacturing country should be specified. In a study entitled ‘The Impact of Computed Tomography in the Prediction of Post-Radical Nephrectomy Stage in Renal Tumours’ since the main topic of the study is computed tomography, the specifications of the equipment used should be explicitely indicated. On the other hand, the details of the medical method which can effect the outcomes of the study should be also recorded. Accordingly, the methods applied for percutaneous nephrolithotomy, ureterorenoscopy, varicocelectomy, transurethral prostatectomy, radical prostatectomy (perineal, open, laparoscopic or robotic should be absolutely indicated. Then inclusion, and exclusion criteria, and if used control group, and its characteristics should be documented. Thus the following paragraph about exclusion criteria will be appropriate: Patients with a history of neurogenic bladder, prostatic or abdominal operation, and transrectal ultrasound guided prostate biopsy (within the previous 6 months), those aged <40 or >70 years, individuals with a peak urine flow rate below 10 ml/sec, and residual urine more than 150 cc were not included in the study.” [ 1 – 3 , 9 ]

Some diseases mentioned in the “Materials and Methods” section require special monitorization procedures. In these cases the procedure of monitorization should be documented for the sake of the validity of the study in question. Accordingly, in conditions such as “nephrectomy, prostatectomy, orchidectomy, pyeloplasty, varicocelectomy, drug therapies, penile prosthesis, and urethral stricture” clinical follow-up protocols should be provided.

The abovementioned rules, and recommendations are most frequently valid for a clinical study, and some points indicated in experimental studies should be also considered. Types, weights, gender, and number of the animals used in animal studies should be absolutely specified. Besides condition of evaluation of experimental animals should be noted. Then as is the case with clinical studies, approval of the ethics committee should be obtained, and documented. Accordingly, the beginning paragraphs of the ‘Materials and Methods’ can be expressed as follows:

“In the study, 40 Wistar-Albino 6-month-old rats each weighing 350–400 g were used. After approval of the ethics committee (HADYEK-41) the study was performed within the frame of rules specified by the National Institute for animal experiments. The rats were divided into 3 groups. Hence, Group 1 (n=7) was accepted as the control group. The rats subjected to partial ureteral obstruction with or without oral carvedilol therapy at daily doses of 2 mg/kg maintained for 7 days constituted Groups 3 (n=8), and 2 (n=8), respectively. Each group of 4 rats was housed in standard cages with an area of 40×60 cm. The animals were fed with standard 8 mm food pellets, and fresh daily tap water. The rats were kept in the cages under 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of dark. Ambient temperature, and humidity were set at 22±2°C, and 50±10%, respectively.”

Herein, the method, and agent of anesthesia used (local or general anesthesia) in surgical procedures, and then the experimental method applied should be clearly indicated. For example the following sentences explain our abovementioned arguments; “All surgical procedures were performed under xylazine-ketamine anesthesia. In all groups, ureters were approached through midline abdominal incision. In Group 1, ureters were manipulated without causing obstruction. Results of biochemical, and pathological evaluations performed in Group 1 were considered as baseline values.”

“Through a midline abdominal incision partial ureteral obstruction was achieved by embedding two-thirds of the distal part of the left ureter into psoas muscle using 4/0 silk sutures as described formerly by Wen et al. [ 10 ] ( Figure 1 ). [ 11 ] All rats were subjected to left nephrectomies at the end of the experimental study.” As formulated by the above paragraph, if the method used is not widely utilized, then the first researcher who describes the method should be indicated with relevant references. One or more than one figures with a good resolution, and easily comprehensible legends should be also included in the explanation of the experimental model. For very prevalently used experimental models as torsion models cited in the “Materials and Methods” section, there is no need to include figures in the manuscript.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is TJU-39-Supp-10-g01.jpg

Partial ureteral obstruction model [ 11 ]

Appropriate signs, and marks placed on the figure will facilitate comprehension of the legends ( Figure 2 ).

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is TJU-39-Supp-10-g02.jpg

Ureteral segments (black arrows) seen in a rat partial ureteral obstruction model [ 11 ]

The signs used will also improve intelligibility of the target. The figures should be indicated within parentheses in their first mention in the “Materials and Methods” section. Headings and as a prevalent convention legends of the figures should be indicated at the end of the manuscript.

If a different method is used in the study, this should be explained in detail. For instance, in a study where the effect of smoking on testes was investigated, the method, and the applicator used to expose rats to cigarette smoke should be indicated in the ‘Methods’ section following classical description. Relevant to the study in question, the following paragraph explaining the study method should be written: “A glass chamber with dimensions of 75 × 50 × 50 cm was prepared, and divided into 4 compartments with wire fences. The rats in the 2., and 4. cages were placed in these compartments. Each compartment contained 4 rats. Cigarette smoke was produced using one cigarette per hour, and smoke coming from the tip, and the filter of the lighted cigarette was pumped into the gas chamber with a pneumatic motor. The rats were exposed to smoke of 6 cigarettes for 6 hours. The compartments of the rats were changed every day so as to achieve balanced exposure of the rats to cigarette smoke.” [ 12 ]

Meanwhile, chemical names, doses, and routes of administration of the substances used in experimental studies should be indicated. If the substance used is a solution or an antibody, then manufacturing firm, and its country should be indicated in parenthesis. This approach can be exemplified as “Animals used in experiments were randomized into 4 groups of 8 animals. Each group was housed in 2 cages each containing 4 animals. The first group did not undergo any additional procedure (Group 1). The second group was exposed to cigarette smoke (Group 2). The third (Group 3), and the fourth (Group 4) groups received daily intraperitoneal injectable doses of 10 mg/kg resveratrol (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO, USA). The Group 4 was also exposed to cigarette smoke. [ 12 ]

After all of these procedures, method, and analytical procedure of histopathological examination used should be described-if possible-by a pathologist Similarly, biochemical method used should be referenced, and written by the department of clinical chemistry. It can be inferred that each division should describe its own method. In other words, histopathological, microbiological, and pharmacological method should be described in detail by respective divisions.

If we summarize all the information stated above, understandably sharing of the scientific knowledge is essential.. Since reproducibility of a study demonstrates the robustness of a study, with the detailed approaches indicated above, reproducibility of our study is provided, and the relevant questions of “How?”, and “How much?” are answered. Besides, since ‘Materials, and Methods’, and ‘Results’ sections will constitute a meaningful whole, explanations of all information related to the data mentioned in the ‘Results’ section should be provided. As an important point not to be forgotten, evaluation or measurement method used for each parameter indicated in the ‘Results’ section should be expounded in the “Materials and Methods” section. For example if you used an expression in the” Results” section like “median body mass index (BMI) of the patients was 27.42 kg/m 2 ”, then you should beforehand indicate that comparative evaluation of BMIs will be done in the “Materials and Methods” section. In addition, the description, and significance of the values expressed in the “Results” section should be indicated in the “Materials and Methods” section. In other words, it should be stated that the patients were evaluated based on their BMIs as normal (18–24.9 kg/m 2 ), overweight (25 kg/m 2 –40 kg/m 2 ), and morbid obesity (>40 kg/m 2 ). If you encounter difficulties in writing “Materials and Methods” section, also a valid approach for other sections, firstly simple headings can be written, then you can go into details. In brief, for every parameter, the reader should get clear-cut answers to the questions such as “How did they evaluate this parameter, and which criteria were used?”. [ 1 , 3 , 13 – 15 ]

The last paragraph of the ‘Materials, and Methods’ section should naturally involve statistical evaluations. This section should be written by statisticians. Accordingly, the preferred statistical method, and the justifications for this preference should be indicated. In conventional statistical evaluations, provision of details is not required. In information indicated above, the statement “For statistical analysis, ANOVA test, chi-square test, T test, Kruskal-Wallis test have been used.” is not required very much. Instead, more appropriate expression will be a statement indicating that recommendations of a knowledgeable, and an experienced statistician were taken into consideration or advanced statistical information was reflected on the statistical evaluations as follows: “Chi-square tests were used in intergroup comparisons of categorical variables, and categorical variables were expressed as numbers, and percentages. In comparisons between LUTS, and ED as for age, independent two samples t-test was used. In the evaluation of the factors effective on erectile dysfunction multivariate logistic regresssion test was used. P values lower than 0.05 were considered as statistically significant The calculations were performed using a statistical package program (PASW v18, SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL).” Herein, the type of statistical package used for statistical methods should be emphasized.

  • Advanced search

American Association for Respiratory Care

Advanced Search

How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

  • Find this author on Google Scholar
  • Find this author on PubMed
  • Search for this author on this site
  • For correspondence: [email protected]
  • Info & Metrics

The methods section of a research paper provides the information by which a study's validity is judged. Therefore, it requires a clear and precise description of how an experiment was done, and the rationale for why specific experimental procedures were chosen. The methods section should describe what was done to answer the research question, describe how it was done, justify the experimental design, and explain how the results were analyzed. Scientific writing is direct and orderly. Therefore, the methods section structure should: describe the materials used in the study, explain how the materials were prepared for the study, describe the research protocol, explain how measurements were made and what calculations were performed, and state which statistical tests were done to analyze the data. Once all elements of the methods section are written, subsequent drafts should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and logically as possibly. The description of preparations, measurements, and the protocol should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. Material in each section should be organized by topic from most to least important.

  • publications
  • research methodology
  • clinical trials
  • laboratory research
  • Correspondence: Richard H Kallet MS RRT FAARC, Respiratory Care Services, San Francisco General Hospital, NH:GA-2, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco CA. 94110. E-mail: rkallet{at}sfghsom.ucsf.edu .
  • Copyright © 2004 by Daedalus Enterprises Inc.

In this issue

Respiratory Care: 49 (10)

  • Table of Contents
  • Table of Contents (PDF)
  • Cover (PDF)
  • Index by author

Thank you for your interest in spreading the word on American Association for Respiratory Care.

NOTE: We only request your email address so that the person you are recommending the page to knows that you wanted them to see it, and that it is not junk mail. We do not capture any email address.

Citation Manager Formats

  • EndNote (tagged)
  • EndNote 8 (xml)
  • RefWorks Tagged
  • Ref Manager

del.icio.us logo

  • Tweet Widget
  • Facebook Like
  • Google Plus One

Jump to section

Related articles, cited by....

  • Privacy Policy

Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Research Paper Citation

How to Cite Research Paper – All Formats and...

Data collection

Data Collection – Methods Types and Examples

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Research Paper Formats

Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and...

Research Process

Research Process – Steps, Examples and Tips

Research Design

Research Design – Types, Methods and Examples

Simple project management tool

Finally see how to stop getting stuck in a project management tool

20 min. personalized consultation with a project management expert

Smart Note-Taking for Research Paper Writing

How to organize research notes using the Zettelkasten Method when writing academic papers

Smart Note-Taking for Research Paper Writing

With plenty of note-taking tips and apps available, online and in paper form, it’s become extremely easy to take note of information, ideas, or thoughts. As simple as it is to write down an idea or jot down a quote, the skill of academic research and writing for a thesis paper is on another level entirely. And keeping a record or an archive of all of the information you need can quickly require a very organized system.

female studying taking notes checking calendar

The use of index cards seems old-fashioned considering that note-taking apps (psst! Hypernotes ) offer better functionality and are arguably more user-friendly. However, software is only there to help aid our individual workflow and thinking process. That’s why understanding and learning how to properly research, take notes and write academic papers is still a highly valuable skill.

Let’s Start Writing! But Where to Start…

Writing academic papers is a vital skill most students need to learn and practice. Academic papers are usually time-intensive pieces of written content that are a requirement throughout school or at University. Whether a topic is assigned or you have to choose your own, there’s little room for variation in how to begin.

Popular and purposeful in analyzing and evaluating the knowledge of the author as well as assessing if the learning objectives were met, research papers serve as information-packed content. Most of us may not end up working jobs in academic professions or be researchers at institutions, where writing research papers is also part of the job, but we often read such papers. 

Despite the fact that most research papers or dissertations aren’t often read in full, journalists, academics, and other professionals regularly use academic papers as a basis for further literary publications or blog articles. The standard of academic papers ensures the validity of the information and gives the content authority. 

There’s no-nonsense in research papers. To make sure to write convincing and correct content, the research stage is extremely important. And, naturally, when doing any kind of research, we take notes.

Why Take Notes?

There are particular standards defined for writing academic papers . In order to meet these standards, a specific amount of background information and researched literature is required. Taking notes helps keep track of read/consumed literary material as well as keeps a file of any information that may be of importance to the topic. 

The aim of writing isn’t merely to advertise fully formed opinions, but also serves the purpose of developing opinions worth sharing in the first place. 

What is Note-Taking?

home office work desk

Note-taking (sometimes written as notetaking or note-taking ) is the practice of recording information from different sources and platforms. For academic writing, note-taking is the process of obtaining and compiling information that answers and supports the research paper’s questions and topic. Notes can be in one of three forms: summary, paraphrase, or direct quotation.

Note-taking is an excellent process useful for anyone to turn individual thoughts and information into organized ideas ready to be communicated through writing. Notes are, however, only as valuable as the context. Since notes are also a byproduct of the information we consume daily, it’s important to categorize information, develop connections, and establish relationships between pieces of information. 

What Type of Notes Can I Take?

  • Explanation of complex theories
  • Background information on events or persons of interest
  • Definitions of terms
  • Quotations of significant value
  • Illustrations or graphics

Note-Taking 101

taking notes in notebook

Taking notes or doing research for academic papers shouldn’t be that difficult, considering we take notes all the time. Wrong. Note-taking for research papers isn’t the same as quickly noting down an interesting slogan or cool quote from a video, putting it on a sticky note, and slapping it onto your bedroom or office wall.

Note-taking for research papers requires focus and careful deliberation of which information is important to note down, keep on file, or use and reference in your own writing. Depending on the topic and requirements of your research paper from your University or institution, your notes might include explanations of complex theories, definitions, quotations, and graphics. 

Stages of Research Paper Writing

5 Stages of Writing

1. Preparation Stage

Before you start, it’s recommended to draft a plan or an outline of how you wish to begin preparing to write your research paper. Make note of the topic you will be writing on, as well as the stylistic and literary requirements for your paper.

2. Research Stage

In the research stage, finding good and useful literary material for background knowledge is vital. To find particular publications on a topic, you can use Google Scholar or access literary databases and institutions made available to you through your school, university, or institution. 

Make sure to write down the source location of the literary material you find. Always include the reference title, author, page number, and source destination. This saves you time when formatting your paper in the later stages and helps keep the information you collect organized and referenceable.

Hypernotes Zettelkasten Note-taking Reference

In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to do a backward search to find the source of a quote you wrote down without reference to the original literary material. 

3. Writing Stage

When writing, an outline or paper structure is helpful to visually break up the piece into sections. Once you have defined the sections, you can begin writing and referencing the information you have collected in the research stage.

Clearly mark which text pieces and information where you relied on background knowledge, which texts are directly sourced, and which information you summarized or have written in your own words. This is where your paper starts to take shape.  

4. Draft Stage

After organizing all of your collected notes and starting to write your paper, you are already in the draft stage. In the draft stage, the background information collected and the text written in your own words come together. Every piece of information is structured by the subtopics and sections you defined in the previous stages. 

5. Final Stage

Success! Well… almost! In the final stage, you look over your whole paper and check for consistency and any irrelevancies. Read through the entire paper for clarity, grammatical errors , and peace of mind that you have included everything important. 

Make sure you use the correct formatting and referencing method requested by your University or institution for research papers. Don’t forget to save it and then send the paper on its way.

Best Practice Note-Taking Tips

  • Find relevant and authoritative literary material through the search bar of literary databases and institutions.
  • Practice citation repeatedly! Always keep a record of the reference book title, author, page number, and source location. At best, format the citation in the necessary format from the beginning. 
  • Organize your notes according to topic or reference to easily find the information again when in the writing stage. Work invested in the early stages eases the writing and editing process of the later stages.
  • Summarize research notes and write in your own words as much as possible. Cite direct quotes and clearly mark copied text in your notes to avoid plagiarism.  

Take Smart Notes

Hypernotes Zettelkasten reference

Taking smart notes isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s simply a matter of principle, defined structure, and consistency. Whether you opt for a paper-based system or use a digital tool to write and organize your notes depends solely on your individual personality, needs, and workflow.

With various productivity apps promoting diverse techniques, a good note-taking system to take smart notes is the Zettelkasten Method . Invented by Niklas Luhmann, a german sociologist and researcher, the Zettelkasten Method is known as the smart note-taking method that popularized personalized knowledge management. 

As a strategic process for thinking and writing, the Zettelkasten Method helps you organize your knowledge while working, studying, or researching. Directly translated as a ‘note box’, Zettelkasten is simply a framework to help organize your ideas, thoughts, and information by relating pieces of knowledge and connecting pieces of information to each other.

Hypernotes is a note-taking app that can be used as a software-based Zettelkasten, with integrated features to make smart note-taking so much easier, such as auto-connecting related notes, and syncing to multiple devices. In each notebook, you can create an archive of your thoughts, ideas, and information. 

Hypernotes Zettelkasten Knowledge Graph Reference

Using the tag system to connect like-minded ideas and information to one another and letting Hypernotes do its thing with bi-directional linking, you’ll soon create a web of knowledge about anything you’ve ever taken note of. This feature is extremely helpful to navigate through the enormous amounts of information you’ve written down. Another benefit is that it assists you in categorizing and making connections between your ideas, thoughts, and saved information in a single notebook. Navigate through your notes, ideas, and knowledge easily.

Ready, Set, Go!

Writing academic papers is no simple task. Depending on the requirements, resources available, and your personal research and writing style, techniques, apps, or practice help keep you organized and increase your productivity. 

Whether you use a particular note-taking app like Hypernotes for your research paper writing or opt for a paper-based system, make sure you follow a particular structure. Repeat the steps that help you find the information you need quicker and allow you to reproduce or create knowledge naturally.

Images from NeONBRAND , hana_k and Surface via Unsplash 

A well-written piece is made up of authoritative sources and uses the art of connecting ideas, thoughts, and information together. Good luck to all students and professionals working on research paper writing! We hope these tips help you in organizing the information and aid your workflow in your writing process.

Cheers, Jessica and the Zenkit Team

how to write methods in research paper

FREE 20 MIN. CONSULTATION WITH A PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERT

Wanna see how to simplify your workflow with Zenkit in less than a day?

  • digital note app
  • how to smart notes
  • how to take notes
  • hypernotes note app
  • hypernotes take notes
  • note archive software
  • note taking app for students
  • note taking tips
  • note-taking
  • note-taking app
  • organize research paper
  • reading notes
  • research note taking
  • research notes
  • research paper writing
  • smart notes
  • taking notes zettelkasten method
  • thesis writing
  • writing a research paper
  • writing a thesis paper
  • zettelkasten method

More from Karen Bradford

10 Ways to Remember What You Study

' src=

More from Kelly Moser

How Hot Desking Elevates the Office Environment in 2024

' src=

More from Chris Harley

8 Productivity Tools for Successful Content Marketing

' src=

2 thoughts on “ Smart Note-Taking for Research Paper Writing ”

Thanks for sending really an exquisite text.

Great article thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Zenkit Comment Policy

At Zenkit, we strive to post helpful, informative, and timely content. We want you to feel welcome to comment with your own thoughts, feedback, and critiques, however we do not welcome inappropriate or rude comments. We reserve the right to delete comments or ban users from commenting as needed to keep our comments section relevant and respectful.

What we encourage:

  • Smart, informed, and helpful comments that contribute to the topic. Funny commentary is also thoroughly encouraged.
  • Constructive criticism, either of the article itself or the ideas contained in it.
  • Found technical issues with the site? Send an email to [email protected] and specify the issue and what kind of device, operating system, and OS version you are using.
  • Noticed spam or inappropriate behaviour that we haven’t yet sorted out? Flag the comment or report the offending post to [email protected] .

What we’d rather you avoid:

Rude or inappropriate comments.

We welcome heated discourse, and we’re aware that some topics cover things people feel passionately about. We encourage you to voice your opinions, however in order for discussions to remain constructive, we ask that you remember to criticize ideas, not people.

Please avoid:

  • name-calling
  • ad hominem attacks
  • responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • knee-jerk contradiction

Comments that we find to be hateful, inflammatory, threatening, or harassing may be removed. This includes racist, gendered, ableist, ageist, homophobic, and transphobic slurs and language of any sort. If you don’t have something nice to say about another user, don't say it. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Trolling or generally unkind behaviour

If you’re just here to wreak havoc and have some fun, and you’re not contributing meaningfully to the discussions, we will take actions to remove you from the conversation. Please also avoid flagging or downvoting other users’ comments just because you disagree with them.

Every interpretation of spamming is prohibited. This means no unauthorized promotion of your own brand, product, or blog, unauthorized advertisements, links to any kind of online gambling, malicious sites, or otherwise inappropriate material.

Comments that are irrelevant or that show you haven’t read the article

We know that some comments can veer into different topics at times, but remain related to the original topic. Be polite, and please avoid promoting off-topic commentary. Ditto avoid complaining we failed to mention certain topics when they were clearly covered in the piece. Make sure you read through the whole piece before saying your piece!

Breaches of privacy

This should really go without saying, but please do not post personal information that may be used by others for malicious purposes. Please also do not impersonate authors of this blog, or other commenters (that’s just weird).

Yellowlees Douglas Ph.D.

The One Method That Changes Your—and All Students’—Writing

Science-based writing methods can achieve dramatic results..

Posted May 14, 2024 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan

  • Why Education Is Important
  • Find a Child Therapist
  • A systematic writing framework offers a method for dramatically improving the teaching of writing.
  • This method received only limited uptake, despite high-profile research publications and textbooks.
  • A focus on writing style might have limited the method's impacts.

Andy Barbour, Envato

I remember spending hours commenting painstakingly on my students’ papers when I was a graduate student teaching in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. My students loved our classes, and they filled my sections and gave me terrific course evaluations. Yet I could see that their writing failed to change significantly over the course of the semester. I ended up feeling as if I should refund their money, haunted by the blunt instruments we had to teach writing.

As I’ve learned from directing five writing programs at three different universities, methods matter. When I reviewed comments on papers from instructors who taught in my programs, I discovered that the quantity and quality of comments on students’ papers made only a slight impact on writing outcomes. For instance, one notoriously lazy instructor took several weeks to return assignments and only used spelling and grammar checkers to automate comments. But his conscientious colleague made dozens of sharp observations about students’ arguments, paragraphs, and sentences. However, Mr. Conscientious’ students improved perhaps only 10% over Mr. Minimalist’s students. Even then, the differences stemmed from basic guidelines Mr. Conscientious insisted his students write to, which included providing context sentences at the outset of their essay introductions.

Educators have also poured resources into teaching writing, with increasing numbers of hours dedicated to teaching writing across primary, secondary, and higher education . Yet studies continue to find writing skills inadequate . In higher education, most universities require at least a year of writing-intensive courses, with many universities also requiring writing across the curriculum or writing in the disciplines to help preserve students’ writing skills. However, writing outcomes have remained mostly unchanged .

While pursuing my doctorate, I dedicated my research to figuring out how writing worked. As a graduate student also teaching part-time, I was an early convert to process writing. I also taught those ancient principles of logos, ethos, and pathos, as well as grammar and punctuation. Nevertheless, these frameworks only created a canvas for students’ writing. What was missing: how writers should handle words, sentence structure, and relationships between sentences.

Yet researchers published the beginnings of a science-based writing method over 30 years ago. George Gopen, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams created a framework for identifying how to maximize the clarity, coherence, and continuity of writing. In particular, Gopen and Swan (1990) created a methodology for making scientific writing readable . This work should have been a revelation to anyone teaching in or directing a writing program. But, weirdly, comparatively few writing programs or faculty embraced this work, despite Williams, Colomb, and Gopen publishing both research and textbooks outlining the method and process.

Peculiarly, this framework—represented by Williams’ Style series of textbooks and Gopen’s reader expectation approach—failed to become standard in writing courses, likely because of two limitations. First, both Gopen and Williams hewed to a relativistic stance on writing methods, noting that rule-flouting often creates a memorable style. This stance created a raft of often-contradictory principles for writing. For example, Williams demonstrated that beginning sentences with There is or There are openings hijacked the clarity of sentences, then argued writers should use There is or There are to shunt important content into sentence emphasis positions, where readers recall content best. Second, these researchers failed to tie this writing framework to the wealth of data in psycholinguistics, cognitive neuroscience , or cognitive psychology on how our reading brains process written English. For instance, textbooks written by these three principal researchers avoid any mention of why emphasis positions exist at the ends of sentences and paragraphs—despite the concept clearly originating in the recency effect. This limitation may stem from the humanities’ long-held antipathy to the idea that writing is a product, rather than a process. Or even that science-based methods can help teachers and programs measure the effectiveness of writing, one reason why university First-Year Writing programs have failed to improve students’ writing in any measurable way.

Nevertheless, when you teach students how our reading brains work, you create a powerful method for rapidly improving their writing—in any course that requires writing and at all levels of education. Students can grasp how writing works as a system and assess the costs and benefits of decisions writers face, even as they choose their first words. This method also works powerfully to help students immediately understand how, for instance, paragraph heads leverage priming effects to shape readers’ understanding of paragraph content.

Using this method, I and my colleagues have helped students use a single writing assignment to secure hundreds of jobs, win millions in grant funding, and advance through the ranks in academia. However, we’ve also used the same method without modifications in elementary and secondary classrooms to bolster students’ writing by as much as three grade levels in a single year.

Perhaps the time has arrived for this well-kept secret to revolutionizing student writing outcomes to begin making inroads into more writing classrooms.

Gopen, G. D. and J. A. Swan (1990). "The Science of Scientific Writing." American Scientist 78(6): 550-558.

Gopen, George. The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader’s Perspective . Pearson, 2004.

Gopen, George. Expectations: Teaching Writing from the Reader’s Perspective . Pearson, 2004.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace . University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace . Harper Collins, 1994.

Williams, Joseph. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace . Longman, 2002.

Yellowlees Douglas Ph.D.

Jane Yellowlees Douglas, Ph.D. , is a consultant on writing and organizations. She is also the author, with Maria B. Grant, MD, of The Biomedical Writer: What You Need to Succeed in Academic Medicine .

  • Find a Therapist
  • Find a Treatment Center
  • Find a Psychiatrist
  • Find a Support Group
  • Find Online Therapy
  • International
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Asperger's
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Chronic Pain
  • Eating Disorders
  • Passive Aggression
  • Personality
  • Goal Setting
  • Positive Psychology
  • Stopping Smoking
  • Low Sexual Desire
  • Relationships
  • Child Development
  • Therapy Center NEW
  • Diagnosis Dictionary
  • Types of Therapy

May 2024 magazine cover

At any moment, someone’s aggravating behavior or our own bad luck can set us off on an emotional spiral that threatens to derail our entire day. Here’s how we can face our triggers with less reactivity so that we can get on with our lives.

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Gaslighting
  • Affective Forecasting
  • Neuroscience

IMAGES

  1. How to write Method Section of Research Paper in 03 easy steps

    how to write methods in research paper

  2. How to write about methodology in a research paper

    how to write methods in research paper

  3. Example Of Methodology Section Of Research Paper : 002 Methodology

    how to write methods in research paper

  4. Best Steps to Write a Research Paper in College/University

    how to write methods in research paper

  5. How to Write a Methods Section for a Research Paper

    how to write methods in research paper

  6. Example Of Method For Research Paper

    how to write methods in research paper

VIDEO

  1. How and What to write in a Research Paper PART 1 (Urdu/ Hindi)

  2. What is a research paper? How to read a research paper?

  3. How and What to write in a Research Paper PART 2 (Urdu / Hindi)

  4. Research methods research paper

  5. How to write thesis chapter 1

  6. How to Write a Scientific Research Paper

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

    Methods section is a crucial part of a manuscript and emphasizes the reliability and validity of a research study. And knowing how to write the methods section of a research paper is the first step in mastering scientific writing. Read this article to understand the importance, purpose, and the best way to write the methods section of a research paper.

  2. How to Write an APA Methods Section

    To structure your methods section, you can use the subheadings of "Participants," "Materials," and "Procedures.". These headings are not mandatory—aim to organize your methods section using subheadings that make sense for your specific study. Note that not all of these topics will necessarily be relevant for your study.

  3. How to Write Your Methods

    Learn how to write your methods section for reproducibility and rigor in science. Find out what to include, how much detail, and how to follow ethical guidelines and standards. Get tips on visual aids, checklists, and tools to help you report your research.

  4. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Step 1: Explain your methodological approach. Step 2: Describe your data collection methods. Step 3: Describe your analysis method. Step 4: Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made. Tips for writing a strong methodology chapter. Other interesting articles.

  5. How to write the Methods section of a research paper

    Learn how to write the Methods section of a research paper with tips and examples from Editage Insights. Find out the essential do's and don'ts, the best practices, and the common mistakes to avoid in this section. Follow the guidelines of your target journal and follow the order of the results and the experiments.

  6. PDF How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

    The methods section should describe what was done to answer the research question, describe how it was done, justify the experimental design, and explain how the results were analyzed. Scientific writing is direct and orderly. Therefore, the methods section structure should: describe the materials used in the study, explain how the materials ...

  7. Research Methodology

    Writing a research methodology involves explaining the methods and techniques you used to conduct research, collect data, and analyze results. It's an essential section of any research paper or thesis, as it helps readers understand the validity and reliability of your findings. Here are the steps to write a research methodology:

  8. How to Write a Methods Section for a Research Paper

    Passive voice is often considered the standard for research papers, but it is completely fine to mix passive and active voice, even in the method section, to make your text as clear and concise as possible. Use the simple past tense to describe what you did, and the present tense when you refer to diagrams or tables.

  9. Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Good Research Methodology

    Provide the rationality behind your chosen approach. Based on logic and reason, let your readers know why you have chosen said research methodologies. Additionally, you have to build strong arguments supporting why your chosen research method is the best way to achieve the desired outcome. 3. Explain your mechanism.

  10. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Revised on 10 October 2022. Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

  11. How to Write a Methods Section of an APA Paper

    To write your methods section in APA format, describe your participants, materials, study design, and procedures. Keep this section succinct, and always write in the past tense. The main heading of this section should be labeled "Method" and it should be centered, bolded, and capitalized. Each subheading within this section should be bolded ...

  12. Research Methods

    In shorter scientific papers, where the aim is to report the findings of a specific study, you might simply describe what you did in a methods section. In a longer or more complex research project, such as a thesis or dissertation , you will probably include a methodology section , where you explain your approach to answering the research ...

  13. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    I. Groups of Research Methods. There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences: The empirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences.This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured.

  14. PDF Methodology Section for Research Papers

    The methodology section of your paper describes how your research was conducted. This information allows readers to check whether your approach is accurate and dependable. A good methodology can help increase the reader's trust in your findings. First, we will define and differentiate quantitative and qualitative research.

  15. Research Guides: Writing a Scientific Paper: METHODS

    However careful writing of this section is important because for your results to be of scientific merit they must be reproducible. Otherwise your paper does not represent good science. Goals: Describe equipment used and provide illustrations where relevant. "Methods Checklist" from: How to Write a Good Scientific Paper. Chris A. Mack. SPIE. 2018.

  16. How to Write the Methods Section of a Scientific Article

    The Methods section of a research article includes an explanation of the procedures used to conduct the experiment. For authors of scientific research papers, the objective is to present their findings clearly and concisely and to provide enough information so that the experiment can be duplicated. Research articles contain very specific ...

  17. How to write the methods section of a research paper

    Writing* / standards. The methods section of a research paper provides the information by which a study's validity is judged. Therefore, it requires a clear and precise description of how an experiment was done, and the rationale for why specific experimental procedures were chosen. The methods section should describe wh ….

  18. Writing the Research Paper

    Writing the Research Paper. Write a detailed outline. Almost the rough content of every paragraph. The order of the various topics in your paper. On the basis of the outline, start writing a part by planning the content, and then write it down. Put a visible mark (which you will later delete) where you need to quote a source, and write in the ...

  19. How to write a materials and methods section of a scientific article?

    The figures should be indicated within parentheses in their first mention in the "Materials and Methods" section. Headings and as a prevalent convention legends of the figures should be indicated at the end of the manuscript. If a different method is used in the study, this should be explained in detail.

  20. How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

    The methods section of a research paper provides the information by which a study's validity is judged. Therefore, it requires a clear and precise description of how an experiment was done, and the rationale for why specific experimental procedures were chosen. The methods section should describe what was done to answer the research question ...

  21. Research Paper

    Definition: Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new ...

  22. How to Write a Research Paper

    Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion. The second draft. The revision process. Research paper checklist. Free lecture slides.

  23. Smart Note-Taking for Research Paper Writing

    For academic writing, note-taking is the process of obtaining and compiling information that answers and supports the research paper's questions and topic. Notes can be in one of three forms: summary, paraphrase, or direct quotation. Note-taking is an excellent process useful for anyone to turn individual thoughts and information into ...

  24. The One Method That Changes Your—and All Students'—Writing

    Key points. A systematic writing framework offers a method for dramatically improving the teaching of writing. This method received only limited uptake, despite high-profile research publications ...

  25. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging at 0.05 Tesla

    Abstract. Despite a half-century of advancements, global magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) accessibility remains limited and uneven, hindering its full potential in health care. Initially, MRI development focused on low fields around 0.05 Tesla, but progress halted after the introduction of the 1.5 Tesla whole-body superconducting scanner in 1983.

  26. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.