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4 Writing the Materials and Methods (Methodology) Section

The Materials and Methods section briefly describes how you did your research. In other words, what did you do to answer your research question? If there were materials used for the research or materials experimented on you list them in this section. You also describe how you did the research or experiment. The key to a methodology is that another person must be able to replicate your research—follow the steps you take. For example if you used the internet to do a search it is not enough to say you “searched the internet.” A reader would need to know which search engine and what key words you used.

Open this section by describing the overall approach you took or the materials used. Then describe to the readers step-by-step the methods you used including any data analysis performed. See Fig. 2.5 below for an example of materials and methods section.

Writing tips:

  • Explain procedures, materials, and equipment used
  • Example: “We used an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to analyze major and trace elements in the mystery mineral samples.”
  • Order events chronologically, perhaps with subheadings (Field work, Lab Analysis, Statistical Models)
  • Use past tense (you did X, Y, Z)
  • Quantify measurements
  • Include results in the methods! It’s easy to make this mistake!
  • Example: “W e turned on the machine and loaded in our samples, then calibrated the instrument and pushed the start button and waited one hour. . . .”

Materials and methods

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  • How to Write Your Methods

sample materials and 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.

sample materials and 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!

sample materials and 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.

sample materials and 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…

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Research Paper Writing: 5. Methods / Materials

  • 1. Getting Started
  • 2. Abstract
  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. Literature Review
  • 5. Methods / Materials
  • 6. Results / Analysis
  • 7. Discussion
  • 8. Conclusion
  • 9. Reference

Methods / Materials Overview

These sections of the research paper should be concise. The audience reading the paper will always want to know what materials or methods that were used. The methods and materials may be under subheadings in the section or incorporated together. The main objective for these sections is to provide specialized materials, general procedures, and methods to judge the scientific value of the paper.

What to include in the sections

  • Described separately
  • Include the chemicals, biological, and any equipment
  • Do not include common supplies, such as test tubes, pipette tips, beakers, etc. or standard lab equipment
  • Single out sources like a specific type of equipment, enzyme, or a culture
  • These should be mentioned in a separate paragraph with its own heading or highlighted in the procedure section if there is one
  • Refer to solutions by name and describe
  • Describes in detail how the analysis was conducted
  • Be brief when presenting methods under the title devoted to a specific technique or groups of procedures
  • Simplify and report what the procedure was
  • Report the method by name
  • Use third person passive voice, and avoid using first person
  • Use normal text in these sections
  • Avoid informal lists
  • Use complete sentences

Example of a Methods Section

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Materials and Methods

The Methods and Materials section of a paper often seems the least interesting to read, or to write, but it serves several essential purposes. First, it demonstrates to readers that the research was designed appropriately and conducted competently. Scientists are skeptical readers. They won’t have any confidence in your results unless the Methods section convinces them those results come from the correct experiment, carried out correctly. Second, this section allows other researchers to repeat the research for themselves. The ability to replicate a study and get the same results is a central part of science. If possible, your materials and methods section should be written in enough detail to allow another researcher to repeat what you did. (As science develops ever more complex techniques for probing nature this becomes increasingly difficult to achieve.) Where established protocols or techniques are used, it is often acceptable to simply cite a previously published work which sets out the procedure in detail. However, the procedures should always be described in sufficient detail that readers have a clear sense of the basic approach being taken.

What to include: One of the trickiest parts of writing the Methods section is determining the correct level of detail. Always ask yourself: Does the reader need to know this to understand and repeat the experiment? (Pechenik 1996) Let’s say you performed an experiment to test the effects of vitamin E by injecting lab rats with different doses. It would be essential for the reader to know the number of rats injected, and the dosages used, but it would probably not be necessary to include the brand of syringe used, since any standard sterilized syringe should give equivalent results. If in doubt, include the information. Students tend to include too little detail in their Methods rather than too much.

Know your audience: Part of the challenge of knowing what details to include is knowing what you can assume your audience already knows. You can always assume your audience has a basic understanding of biology, but how much detailed knowledge of your subject area you can expect will depend on the paper’s destination. You should never assume your reader has prior knowledge of your research. (Even an instructor who has coached you every step of the way as you prepared a paper will be reading and marking it from the perspective of someone seeing the research for the first time.)

No list of materials: Always describe your materials in the context of how they were used. A list of materials is a waste of space and tells your reader little. Simply describe the methods used to collect your data, and note the materials used for each.

Use figures: Pictures are often helpful in explaining methodology. These could include diagrams of apparatus, maps of the study area showing sampling locations, flowcharts for complicated protocols, etc. A picture really is often worth a thousand words. All graphics included in your paper should be numbered and captioned as figures.

Interpret when necessary: Methods should be concise and factual, but take the space to explain any choices which will not make sense to your readers. If one of your treatment groups was much smaller than the other because a badger ate several of the ground squirrels you were studying, point that out.

Stat tests are methods: Statistical tests and other types of analysis performed on your data are part of your methods. Commonly used statistical tests need not be described, but if any explanation of your analysis is needed, the methods section is the appropriate place. If you used a test which is not widely known, a short description and a citation of the source is warranted.

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Materials and methods

The study’s methods are one of the most important parts used to judge the overall quality of the paper. In addition the Methods section should give readers enough information so that they can repeat the experiments. Reviewers should look for potential sources of bias in the way the study was designed and carried out, and for places where more explanation is needed.

The specific types of information in a Methods section will vary from field to field and from study to study. However, some general rules for Methods sections are:

  • It should be clear from the Methods section how all of the data in the Results section were obtained.
  • The study system should be clearly described. In medicine, for example, researchers need to specify the number of study subjects; how, when, and where the subjects were recruited, and that the study obtained appropriate ‘informed consent’ documents; and what criteria subjects had to meet to be included in the study.
  • In most cases, the experiments should include appropriate controls or comparators. The conditions of the controls should be specified.
  • The outcomes of the study should be defined, and the outcome measures should be objectively validated.
  • The methods used to analyze the data must be statistically sound.
  • For qualitative studies, an established qualitative research method (e.g. grounded theory is often used in sociology) must be used as appropriate for the study question.
  • If the authors used a technique from a published study, they should include a citation and a summary of the procedure in the text. The method also needs to be appropriate to the present experiment.
  • All materials and instruments should be identified, including the supplier’s name and location. For example, “Tests were conducted with a Vulcanizer 2.0 (XYZ Instruments, Mumbai, India).”
  • The Methods section should not have information that belongs in another section (such as the Introduction or Results).

You may suggest if additional experiments would greatly improve the quality of the manuscript. Your suggestions should be in line with the study’s aims. Remember that almost any study could be strengthened by further experiments, so only suggest further work if you believe that the manuscript is not publishable without it.

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Materials and Methods Examples and Writing Tips

Abstract | Introduction | Literature Review | Research question | Materials & Methods | Results | Discussion | Conclusion

In this blog, we look at how to write the materials and methods section of a research paper. In most research papers, the materials and methods section follows the literature review section. This is generally the easiest section to write because you are simply reproducing what you did in your experiments. It is always a good idea to start writing your research paper with the materials and methods section.

1. What is the purpose of the materials and methods section?

materials and methods example

Materials and methods should describe how you did your research and detail the experimental procedure. One of the most important things to bear in mind while writing the materials and methods section is that it should have enough detail so that other researchers in your field can replicate your experiments and reproduce your results.  You should provide all the steps in a logical order so that your readers can follow your description easily.

2. Materials and Methods Examples

The structure of the methods section will very much depend on your discipline. If you are not sure about the structure, then the best place to start will be to go through the methods section of some previously published papers from your chosen journal. We will look at some examples of materials and methods structure in different disciplines. 

2.1. Materials & methods example #1 (Engineering paper)

If you are writing an engineering sciences research paper in which you are introducing a new method, your materials and methods section would typically include the following information.

materials and methods example

You can start with the top-level summary of the method. You can try to answer these questions. Are you proposing a new method? Or,  Are you using a standard method from the literature?  Or, Are you extending a previously published method? If so, is it your previous work? or work published by a different author?

Then you can talk about the reasons for choosing this method. You can quote previous papers that have used this method successfully to support your arguments. Then, you can talk about the actual implementation details of the methods.

Then you can talk about how the methods were validated to confirm that they are suitable for your research. You can also include information about any pilot or preliminary studies you conducted before the full study. Then you can explain how you propose to test and evaluate the methods to prove that they are better than the existing methods. Here, you can talk about metrics and statistical tests you will be using to evaluate your method.

2.2. Materials & methods example #2 (Measurement paper)

If you are writing a paper that deals with measurements, you would typically include the following information in your materials and methods section.

materials and methods example

You can start by talking about the experimental setup. You can try to answer these questions. What equipment was used to perform the measurements? What was the make and the model of the equipment?  How many technicians took the measurements?  How experienced were the technicians?

Then you can talk about the parameters that were measured during the experiment. Then you can talk about the actual measurement procedure. How were the samples prepared for the measurements?  How many measurements were taken? Were the measurements repeated for consistency? Was there a time interval between successive measurements?

Then you can talk about measurement conditions and constraints. Were the measurements performed at room temperature or under special conditions? Were there any practical difficulties while performing the measurements, if so, how did you overcome them?

Most importantly, you must list all the calculations in the form of detailed equations and formulas so that readers know exactly how the data was produced.

2.3. Materials & methods example #3 (Survey questionnaire paper)

If you are writing a survey questionnaire paper , you would typically include the following information in your materials and methods section.

materials and methods example

You can start by talking about your participants. Who is your target population? What are their demographics? How did you recruit them?  How did participants provide consent for your study? What sampling method did you use to select the participants?

Then you can talk about the survey type. Was it a phone interview? Was it a personal interview? Was it an online survey? Or, Was it a written survey?

Then you can talk about the questionnaire design. How did you choose the questions? How many questions were there? What type of questions were they? Were they open ended questions, or close ended questions, or rating scale questions, or a mixture of different types of questions?

Then you can talk about how the questionnaire was administered. If it is an online survey, how did you get the questionnaire to the participants? Did you email them? Or did you post the survey forms?

If you are doing a personal interview. How did you conduct the interviews? Was it one to one interview, or was it done in batches, or did you use focus groups? How did the participants behave during the interview?

Then you can talk about questionnaire testing. Did you test your questionnaire before the main study? Did you have to make any changes after initial testing?  Did you have to translate the questionnaire into multiple languages? Then finally you can talk about different types of statistical tests you used to analyze the survey responses.

2.4. Materials & methods example #4 (Medical clinical trial paper)

If you are writing a medical research paper , your materials and methods section would typically include the following information.

materials and methods example

You can start by providing information about the study design. Was it a randomized trial, or an observational trial? Was it a prospective study, or a retrospective study? Was the study double-blinded, or single-blinded?

Then, you can talk about how the ethical approval was obtained for the study and clarify if the clinical trial was registered. if so, then provide the registration number.

Then, you can talk about how the participants were recruited for the study, and explain the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Then, you can talk about how the participants were grouped into control and placebo groups, and explain how the medication was administered.

Then, you can talk about what outcomes were measured. What was the primary outcome? What was the secondary outcome? What was the follow up period? You can try to answer these questions. Then you can finish off with some information about the statistical tests you used to analyze the data.

3. Frequently Asked Questions

One of the common mistakes people make is using vague language in materials and methods. Reviewers won’t like it, and they will reject the paper on the basis that the section is not elaborate enough for other researchers to reproduce your experiments.

Make sure you write the materials and methods section in past tense, since you are reporting something that has already happened.

Acronyms & Abbrevations: Try to use acronyms and abbreviations for long method names. Abbreviations and acronyms are a great way to make your writing concise and save time. Define the acronyms and abbreviations during their first occurrence then use the short form in the rest of the text. The common practice is to put the acronym and abbreviations in parentheses after the full term.

Use different layouts: Another problem you are likely to face is that your methods section can sound like manual if you have too much text in it. In particular, if you are dealing with a very complex procedure, the readers might find it dry and tedious. So try to provide some variety to the layout. Try to use bullet points and numberings instead of long paragraphs to make it easy for the readers to understand the procedure. You can use flow diagrams to illustrate the process rather than describing it.

When you are using a standard method that is well described in literature, the standard practice is to reference the paper rather than repeating the entire procedure. You can also provide a brief summary of the procedure in your own words.

For example, you can say something like this, “The details of the procedure have been reported previously in…”, and reference the previous paper. And then, you can follow it up with a brief summary of the method from the previous paper.

If you are extending a previous method, then you can do something like this. You can say that, “Some minor modifications were made to the method described in…” and reference the previous paper.  And then, you can follow it up with the list of refinements you made to the previous method in order to adapt it to your work.

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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."

sample materials and 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.

sample materials and 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."

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10. How to Write the Material and Methods Section

10. How to Write the Material and Methods Section

Texte intégral.

1 Although traditionally, this section is only called “Material and Methods” (rarely: Study Site, Material and Methods), it can be composed of the following parts: study site, study organism, material, methods, statistical evaluation.

2 The aim of this section in scientific papers is to enable readers to assess the reliability of your work, and to be able to repeat it for verification if they want to do so. Science is about unearthing nature’s laws, and the cornerstone of the scientific method requires that experiments are repeatable: if the experiment is repeated under the same conditions, the same result should be obtained. A material and methods section should give enough detail to evaluate and, if needed, to repeat the experiments reported in the article.

3 You should carefully consider your potential readership. This allows you to provide enough, but not superfluous, information. Once you have reflected on what can be assumed as known by this readership about your setting, organisms, methods, etc., you can give detail accordingly: not too little, and not too much.

4 During peer review, this section is closely scrutinised. If the reviewer is in any doubt that the experiments are repeatable, or that the methods are appropriate, the manuscript will be rejected as unreliable, no matter how wonderful the findings are.

5 When describing your study site, consider your potential readership and give details accordingly (geographical particulars, history of the site, location, co-ordinates, maps). The aim is not to enable the reader to find your sampling plot, but to give a general understanding, a “feel” for the environment you worked in. Information on habitat, with photos, maps, drawings, is often useful, or wholly necessary.

Study Organism

6 Here, you should name all the species, strains, cultivars or races that were used in the experiments. You should also give precise information on their origin, storage or husbandry, including temperatures, photoperiod, feeding regimes, control, etc. Depending on the readership, you should consider giving other background information on life history, and the organism’s distribution in nature. If there is a long list of organisms or strains, consider preparing a table with this information.

7 Here, you should list all the materials necessary for your experiments. Give exact names, not generic or trade names, of chemicals used. Give a source (manufacturer with location) if the chemical in question is delicate (e.g. an enzyme), or rare, or its quality is critical. This would give additional information to the reader. This is, however, neither advertisement nor endorsement (for legal reasons, this should often be made explicit in the paper — see, e.g. the US public organisation policy: disclaimer: “The mention of any trade name does not constitute endorsement by XXX organisation”). For equipment used, give the name, specification/type, manufacturer, and conditions of use.

Sampling Methods and Measurements

8 Here, you should detail the procedures: how did you perform the observations, measurements, experiments? How many times, under what conditions? If you use a new method, give all the details necessary so that the reader can repeat your experiment from reading this section. If you used a published method, a reference to the original publication, preferably the one that first published the method, is usually sufficient with minimum description. If you modified a published method, detail the modification only. If the method is published, you should cite it — but consider where it was published? Is it a frequently used method? When was it published? A rarely-used method, published long ago in an obscure journal, needs a more detailed description than a much-used, current one. If the original publication is not widely available, you will have to provide detailed description. Editors often welcome more detail, especially if the published method is not in very wide use (with the appropriate reference, naturally). If you modified a published method that is widely available, detail the modification only.

9 When describing the procedure, be aware that only SI (Système International) units of measurement are allowed. A few units in common use are not official SI measurements and they cannot be used. Also, be aware of the precise use of measurement units — for example, in common use, weight is often given as grams, kilograms, etc., but these are units of mass, not of weight.

10 Any larger set of samples, measurements, or experiments will have the occasional error, a missing sample, a lost or mislaid tube. Do not keep silent about them. Indicate, clearly, how you dealt with errors, missing data, missing traps. This will not decrease your credibility — on the contrary.

Evaluation Methods/Statistics

11 Data will mostly be evaluated by using a statistical program. In most cases, a reference to the program (indicate the version used) is sufficient; give detail only if the method used is new. However, avoid the neophyte description: what’s new for you may not be new for readers. An experienced colleague can give advice on this matter. In general, it is always a good idea to discuss your chosen statistical method with others. Here, you should give a reason for the choice of statistical test, as well as stating how you tested the eventual conditions for using the chosen test (testing for assumptions for a given statistical test). The mention of the use of a commercial statistical program naturally assumes that you have valid access to the program in question. It is not unheard of program developers to search for the mention of their product in the literature to find out about illegal use.

12 Be careful with details when writing a material and methods section — your reputation is on the line! The reader was not by your side when the studies were done, so she will use the detail and clarity of this section as an indirect indication of your reliability and thoroughness.

13 A common error in this section is not offering enough detail. This does not happen because of the authors’ desire to hide anything — it is simply a mark of routine: many parts of the experimental protocol may become almost routine, and the small details are forgotten as they never change and are taken for granted. When the description is prepared, these details, vital for others, are often not included. A good test is whether a colleague, on reading the section, thinks she can repeat the experiment based on the given description of methods. Such a check is useful, because the writer often is too close to the methods, having done them countless times during the experimental process and, thus, omits some obvious but important, detail.

14 Specifically, take care with numbers, spelling, and punctuation. In this section, many “strange” names will occur: of chemicals, organisms, strains; concentrations, times and units of measurement are important. Meticulousness is the key word here: if you cannot be trusted to do simple things well, such as describing a method that you used hundreds of times, can you expect the readers to trust you when it comes to more significant and complicated aspects of reporting your research?

15 The order of description should be chronological; the description of what was done first should precede the later actions. However, you have to first mention all study sites, then all organisms, followed by a full list of all materials used, experiment-by-experiment and so on. Thus, if someone is only interested in all the details of, for example, your second experiment, she will have to jump from one part of this section to another. This seems a small price to pay for a consistent structure, which is followed by most journals.

16 This section describes your own work and, thus, the past tense is used, mostly, in this section. When describing the details, beware of the syntax. The following description is taken from Day and Gastel’s book (Day and Gastel, 2006), who, tongue-in-cheek, called it “the painful method”: “After standing in hot water for an hour, the flasks were examined”. I hope this was not performed as the sentence implies — probably the flasks, and not the researchers, were standing in hot water that long.

When to Write this Section?

17 It is best to start writing this section first, possibly even while working on the experiments. Otherwise, many details will be lost. Details and precision are vital here, and they are much easier to document during the work, or soon after, than weeks or months later. Additionally, there is often a practical reason, too. Most scientific work is done in teams; it is much easier to convince the team members to write their respective methods section while they are doing the work, or soon afterwards. Once the experiments are completed, and the team moves on to further projects, writing a complete methods section will take longer, and be done less satisfactorily.

18 Meticulousness pays, because, as stated above, reviewers are often of the opinion that if you cannot be trusted in doing simple things, you cannot expect trust in significant and complicated aspects of research. Science, in the view of many of its eminent practitioners is, after all, “99 % perspiration and 1 % inspiration”, so precise work, and the ability to describe things accurately, is a necessary condition of credibility. Science may well comprise a lot of precise work and fewer grand ideas; you prove your mastery of the methods applied by being able to describe them with clarity, in sufficient detail.

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10. How to Write the Material and Methods Section

A Primer for the Non-English Speaker

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Writing the materials and methods

Affiliation.

  • 1 Department of Biomedical Imaging, Biomedical Imaging and Interventional Journal, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [email protected]
  • PMID: 19037549

When writing scientific papers to share their research findings with their peers, it is not enough for researchers to just communicate the results of their study; it is equally important to explain the process by which they arrived at their results, so that the study can be replicated to validate the observations. The materials and methods section is used to describe the experimental design and provide sufficient details so that a competent colleague can repeat the experiment. A good materials and methods section will enable readers to evaluate the research performed and replicate the study, if necessary.

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How to Write a Methods Section for a Research Paper

sample materials and 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.

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  • J Indian Soc Periodontol
  • v.26(3); May-Jun 2022

Materials and method: The “Recipe” of a research

Ashish kumar.

Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor and Head, Department of Periodontics, Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Lamphelpat, Imphal-795004, Manipur, India. E-mail: moc.liamffider@79ramukhsihsa

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In any research article, the detailed description and process of an experiment is provided in the section termed as “Materials and Method.” The Materials and Method section is also called Method section in few journals. This section describes how the experiment was conducted to arrive at the results. The aim of this section in any research article is to describe the process in detail for “reproducibility” which means that procedure of the experiment and related materials should be adequately described so that the other researchers working on the similar topic/area, should be able to conduct a similar experiment and replicate the results to allow corroboration of the inferences of the research. The reproducibility of the results is crucial for their scientific merit.[ 1 ] This section has been equated to “recipe section” which describes what to use, how much to use and how to use to come to the final product.[ 2 ]

Vital details of the research need to be described in this section. At the beginning of the section, the study design needs a description in terms of well-defined commonly used nomenclature (longitudinal, cross-over study”, “randomised controlled trial”, etc). The mention of the study design in the initial part of materials and method section is important as it helps the readers understand the research based on the merits and limitations of study design. The inclusion of study designs also help in understanding the type of statistical tests that can be appropriately applied in evaluating the data.[ 3 ] Randomisation being a crucial aspect of many clinical studies, has to be defined clearly.

The information about sample size, inclusion and exclusion criteria (sample characteristics) also should find a description in this aspect of the material and method section. An adequate sample size of a study would be able to provide the precision of our estimates and thus have adequate power of study to draw conclusions and justify answers to query being explored in the research.[ 3 ] The information of the sample characteristics is important to accomplish the aims of the experiment (hypothesis). Apart from this, the details of the approval from ethical board and trial registration should be mentioned here.[ 4 ]

The next aspect of Materials and Method should incorporate the description of materials in terms of quantity, precise technical descriptions and the method of preparations, if any. The details of the manufacturers of chemical reagents and equipment should also find a mention here. Generic names should be preferred over trade names. If study has usage of microorganisms or experimental animals, a clear description of such entities in terms of species/strains or genus species is required.[ 5 ]

The description of the method of the experiment should be accurate, concise but complete. The process should be written as a explanation of a process, not as a laboratory manual procedure. If the methods, devices, or techniques which have been used by authors, are in routine usage, and are widely known and published, then such methods do not require detailed description. But the authors should compulsorily mention the original article or references from where the readers can get information about the method in detail to replicate the procedure. If any treatment is being investigated, then exact treatment protocol should be described. Techniques/method which are new or uncommon should be explained fully and any related references should also be mentioned.

The statistical aspects should mention the statistical tests and the statistical computer packages that were used for data analysis. Use of an uncommon statistical test needs an explanation of its usage in the context of the study and a reference to the method for readers to refer.[ 5 ]

The material and method section may or may not have subheadings, depending upon the journal guidelines. The subdivisions can be: Study design, setting, subjects, data collection and data analysis[ 2 ] or overall design of the study, inclusion and exclusion criteria, sample sizes and statistical power.[ 6 ]

It is of paramount importance that a consistency is maintained between the “Materials and Method” section and “Results” section of the article. Procedures described in Methods section should correlate with the results described in the Results section for readers to understand the association of the specific methodology to results.[ 4 ]

Often, few issues arise while writing Materials and Method like inclusion of unnecessary details or results. Limitations on number of references that can be cited in journals, many times, leads to this section being extremely concise and lacks details required for the “reproducibility”.[ 7 ] The details of the procedure are not completely mentioned by authors sometimes because of commercial reasons.[ 7 ] These situations result in compromise with the basic principle of “reproducibility” while writing this section.

In certain cases, the authors are apprehensive of results being reproduced and validity of their results being challenged. To avoid any questions being raised on the methodology and results, the authors provide insufficient details in this section to avoid reproducibility.[ 7 ]

The aim of any research is progression of knowledge in that particular field. One of the essential requirement for progression of scientific knowledge is “reproducibility” and the assessment of the validity of available results. This is achievable only if the authors provide sufficient details in the “Materials and Method section”.[ 7 ]

Writing this section should be simple and easy especially when this part is written after the completion of the study, as the authors would have performed the experiment themselves. This is one of the first sections written while writing a research article.

“History has repeatedly shown that when a new method or material becomes available, new uses for it arise.”

Wilson Greatbatch

RES 6600: Research in Education: Methods Section

  • Methods Section
  • APA This link opens in a new window

sample materials and methods in research paper

Using Library Resources for Research: Methods Section

Start by familiarizing yourself with the "method" sections found in other pieces of research similar to your topic of choice.  two library databases are worth reviewing, both found on the library homepage., 1. the "find articles" box directs you to ebscohost databases, 2. the "find dissertations" box directs you to  proquest databases, you will then want to search using your " topic " and " the type of research method "  you are proposing i.e. qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, action research. e.g.  teacher burnout and qualitative.

sample materials and methods in research paper

Video Tutorial Demonstrating How to Find Method Section examples  

Method Section Writing: "What, How, Which, & Why"

  • Chapter 10: Writing a Research Proposal From textbook, Introduction to Educational Design by Craig Mertler
  • Method Sections for Empirical Research Papers From James Madison University Library, this article provides a typical structure with guiding questions for completing a Methods section in a research paper.

Organizing your Social Sciences Research Paper/ The Methodology from University of Southern California Library

How to Write a Methods Section for a Research Pape r by A Research Guide

How to Write a Methods Section for a Psychology Paper: Tips and Examples of an APA Methods Section by verywellMind

How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper by Researcher.Life

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Check List for Methods Section

1. Read your assignment rubric: 

  • Understand what you are being asked to provide to fulfill your assignment and respond to each section that will make up your grade.
  • Include your research question & hypothesis on a separate page

2. Research Design Type:

  • Describe the overall research design
  • Justify why this design was chosen and how it aligns with the research objectives

3. Sampling Plan & Sample Description (Participants):

  • Provide details about the participants or subjects involved in the study
  • Mention relevant demographic information and discuss any inclusion/exclusion criteria used

4. Data Collection Tools/Instruments:

  • Include materials or instruments used (e.g. surveys, questionnaires, equipment)

5. Procedures:

  • Detail the steps to collect data or conduct research
  • Provide chronological description of the research process

6. Reliability and validity: 

  • Explain the reliability and validity of measurement instruments used
  • Describe the procedures employed to ensure consistency and stability in measurements
  • Describe how the research design and methodology support the validity of the study

6. Ethical Considerations

  • Discuss any ethical issues related to the research and how they were addressed
  • Include information about informed consent, confidentiality, and participant anonymity
  • Provide details about institutional review board (IRB) if appropriate

7. APA Format:

  • The APA citation style requires including the participants, materials, and procedures as an obligatory part. Remember to state demographic characteristics when working on the participants’ aspect. The main heading of the methods section should be written in bold and capitalized. Centering must be used. As for the methodology in research paper subheadings, they should be aligned to the left and done in bold.

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Physics > Optics

Title: methods for fast and accurate material properties estimate with terahertz time-domain spectroscopy in transmission and reflection with optically thick materials.

Abstract: With the development of terahertz time-domain spectroscopy, methods have been proposed to precisely estimate the thickness, refractive index, and attenuation coefficient of a sample. In this article, we propose a new method to compute these parameters. In this method, the attenuation is expressed in function of the refractive index. The theoretical unwrapped angle, which therefore only depends on the refractive index, is then matched to the experimental value. By applying already existing methods for estimating the thickness of an optically thick sample, the dielectric properties of the sample can be deduced. The method is applied both to the transmission and reflection spectroscopy. A demonstration of the method and a comparison with the previous methods are finally shown.

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1. Introduction

2. materials and methods, 3. results and discussion, 4. conclusions, 5. data and program availability, supporting information.

sample materials and methods in research paper

research papers \(\def\hfill{\hskip 5em}\def\hfil{\hskip 3em}\def\eqno#1{\hfil {#1}}\)

Open Access

A correction procedure for secondary scattering contributions from windows in small-angle X-ray scattering and ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering

a ESRF – The European Synchrotron, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, 38043 Grenoble, France * Correspondence e-mail: [email protected]

This article describes a correction procedure for the removal of indirect background contributions to measured small-angle X-ray scattering patterns. The high scattering power of a sample in the ultra-small-angle region may serve as a secondary source for a window placed in front of the detector. The resulting secondary scattering appears as a sample-dependent background in the measured pattern that cannot be directly subtracted. This is an intricate problem in measurements at ultra-low angles, which can significantly reduce the useful dynamic range of detection. Two different procedures are presented to retrieve the real scattering profile of the sample.

Keywords: secondary scattering ; SAXS ; small-angle X-ray scattering ; USAXS ; ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering ; sample-dependent background .

This article presents a convolution procedure by which the secondary scattering contribution in the measured 2D pattern can be estimated. Then the excess contribution can be subtracted in two dimensions prior to intensity normalization. This approach yields satisfactory results down to the level allowed by the noise in the data. A good agreement is obtained with the practical approach that involves the physical masking of the intense region.

2.1. Model systems

2.2. x-ray scattering, 2.3. origin of the secondary scattering.

In the present case, the origin of the secondary scattering is WAXS from the fibrous carbon window. Although the direct beam is blocked by a beamstop, the intense region of the scattering pattern serves as a secondary source. The secondary scattering is inherent when a window is present anywhere in front of the detector and it becomes detectable when the scattering profile decays sharply as in the case of Porod behavior ( q −4 ). The low-angle instrument background and associated secondary scattering can be subtracted out, but the secondary scattering originating from the strong sample scattering manifests as a sample-dependent background that cannot be measured independently and deducted.

3.1. WAXS from window materials

3.2. calibration and correction procedures.

where matrices C [], W [] and S [] are the convoluted, window and sample scattering patterns, respectively. W i , j are the subsets of W of size ( K ,  M ). S [] is supposed to be 0 if x > K or y > M . This implies that most of the intensity that contributes to the secondary scattering needs to be included in the subregion used for convolution. A good threshold has been found to be 10 −3 of the maximum intensity.

3.3. Application to colloidal suspensions

All window materials scatter both in the WAXS and more strongly in the USAXS range. The ideal option is to have the detector installed in vacuum without an intervening window. However, that comes with the risk of damaging the detector by shock waves in the case of an uncontrolled rupture of the vacuum.

A correction procedure for secondary scattering contributions emanating from a window placed between the detector and primary beamstop is presented. The correction restores the useful dynamic range of the measurement down to 10 −7 of the maximum intensity. This procedure is applicable to both isotropic and anisotropic scattering patterns as the key operation of convolution is done in two dimensions. The method was validated using the scattering patterns from colloidal suspensions, which exhibit a large number of oscillations from the spherical form factor and whose intensity profiles decay sharply. Very good agreement is obtained between the corrected and calculated scattering profiles. This correction can improve the overlap between normalized intensity profiles measured at two different sample-to-detector distances farther apart. It will be useful to perform this correction even when the measured profiles do not directly manifest the secondary scattering contribution, especially when operations such as division of two intensities are involved, e.g. for deriving an experimental structure factor of interactions from the measured intensities or when performing advanced ab initio modeling of the SAXS data. This correction could also improve the accuracy of image reconstruction in CDI involving a strongly scattering specimen.

Supporting information containing additional examples and model used for the analysis. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600576724001997/uz5008sup1.pdf

Acknowledgements

ID02 beamline staff are thanked for technical support and the ESRF is acknowledged for the provision of synchrotron beam time.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) Licence , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are cited.

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  1. 4 Writing the Materials and Methods (Methodology) Section

    A reader would need to know which search engine and what key words you used. Open this section by describing the overall approach you took or the materials used. Then describe to the readers step-by-step the methods you used including any data analysis performed. See Fig. 2.5 below for an example of materials and methods section. Writing tips: Do:

  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. Materials & Methods

    Materials and Methods examples. Sample 1: In preparing the catecholase extract, a potato was skinned, washed, and diced.30. g of the diced potato and 150 ml of distilled water were added to a kitchen blender and blended for approximately two minutes. The resulting solution was filtered through four layers of cheese cloth. The extract was stored in a clean, capped container.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 ...

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

    The methods section of a research paper typically constitutes materials and methods; while writing this section, authors usually arrange the information under each category. The materials category describes the samples, materials, treatments, and instruments, while experimental design, sample preparation, data collection, and data analysis are ...

  7. The Principles of Biomedical Scientific Writing: Materials and Methods

    2. Functions of the Materials and Methods Section. The M&M section of a paper has two main functions (): To allow readers to repeat the work and to convince them that the work has been done in an appropriate way.For hypothesis-testing papers, the most important function of the M&M section is to provide information on "what procedures were used to answer the main question(s) stated in the ...

  8. How to Write Your Methods

    Your Methods Section contextualizes the results of your study, giving editors, reviewers and readers alike the information they need to understand and interpret your work. Your methods are key to establishing the credibility of your study, along with your data and the results themselves. A complete methods section should provide enough detail for a skilled researcher to replicate your process ...

  9. 5. Methods / Materials

    Methods / Materials Overview. These sections of the research paper should be concise. The audience reading the paper will always want to know what materials or methods that were used. The methods and materials may be under subheadings in the section or incorporated together. The main objective for these sections is to provide specialized ...

  10. How to Write an Effective Materials and Methods Section for ...

    Writing*. The Materials and methods section of a research paper is oftentimes the first and easiest part to write. It details the steps taken to answer a research hypothesis, the success of which determines whether or not the study can be replicated. Arranging the section in chronological order, writing succi ….

  11. Materials and Methods

    Materials and Methods. The Methods and Materials section of a paper often seems the least interesting to read, or to write, but it serves several essential purposes. First, it demonstrates to readers that the research was designed appropriately and conducted competently. Scientists are skeptical readers.

  12. 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.

  13. PDF A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Manuscript

    Start the manuscript preparation by describing the materials and methods, including the planned statistical analysis (~1,000 words or less). This can often be copied from the study protocol. The second step is to describe the results (~350 words). The methods and results are the most important parts of the paper.

  14. Materials and methods

    Materials and methods. The study's methods are one of the most important parts used to judge the overall quality of the paper. In addition the Methods section should give readers enough information so that they can repeat the experiments. Reviewers should look for potential sources of bias in the way the study was designed and carried out ...

  15. Materials and Methods Examples and Writing Tips

    We will look at some examples of materials and methods structure in different disciplines. 2.1. Materials & methods example #1 (Engineering paper) If you are writing an engineering sciences research paper in which you are introducing a new method, your materials and methods section would typically include the following information.

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

    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 ...

  17. 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 ...

  18. 10. How to Write the Material and Methods Section

    1 Although traditionally, this section is only called "Material and Methods" (rarely: Study Site, Material and Methods), it can be composed of the following parts: study site, study organism, material, methods, statistical evaluation.. 2 The aim of this section in scientific papers is to enable readers to assess the reliability of your work, and to be able to repeat it for verification if ...

  19. How to write materials and method section in scientific writing

    Right. Just as a recap, these are the things that you should be alert of when you're writing the materials and methods section in scientific writing: Provide the details of your materials and chemicals. Organize your methodology that bests tell your discussion. Get your experimental design right.

  20. Research Methods

    Research methods are specific procedures for collecting and analyzing data. Developing your research methods is an integral part of your research design. When planning your methods, there are two key decisions you will make. First, decide how you will collect data. Your methods depend on what type of data you need to answer your research question:

  21. Writing the materials and methods

    When writing scientific papers to share their research findings with their peers, it is not enough for researchers to just communicate the results of their study; it is equally important to explain the process by which they arrived at their results, so that the study can be replicated to validate the observations. The materials and methods ...

  22. 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.

  23. Materials and method: The "Recipe" of a research

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  24. LibGuides: RES 6600: Research in Education: Methods Section

    Include your research question & hypothesis on a separate page; 2. Research Design Type: Describe the overall research design; Justify why this design was chosen and how it aligns with the research objectives; 3. Sampling Plan & Sample Description (Participants): Provide details about the participants or subjects involved in the study

  25. Methods for fast and accurate material properties estimate with

    View a PDF of the paper titled Methods for fast and accurate material properties estimate with terahertz time-domain spectroscopy in transmission and reflection with optically thick materials, by Vincent Goumarre and 4 other authors ... the dielectric properties of the sample can be deduced. The method is applied both to the transmission and ...

  26. (IUCr) A correction procedure for secondary scattering contributions

    The high scattering power of a sample at low angles may lead to significant secondary scattering contributions in the measured small- and ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering patterns. A correction procedure is presented for the removal of the excess intensity and to improve the dynamic range of the measurement.