Methods section of research paper: Best guide 2021

Methods section of research paper: Best guide 2021

The methods section of research paper shows the validity of the paper’s content. The section should be described and structured from experimental procedures during research, to the data presented. This article discusses ways on how to write the methods section of research paper.

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What should be in the methods section of research paper

This section of a research paper is a description of what was done to get the answer to the research question. The section entails details of the research process, and justification of the experimental design used. You should also include information on how your research results were analyzed.

Research writing is informative, formal, and orderly. The methods section should be clear on the research materials used in your research and the research protocol used. Calculation details that were made and statistical tests carried out to analyze your data should also be in this section.

The methods section of a research paper should be chronologically organized or in subsections. Subsections apply when there is a lot of information to be included. Information in this section should be organized from the most important to the least important. 

Presentation of content in the methods section 

Carry out enough research for the methods section including reviewing the sample methods section of research papers. In this section, begin the research paper introduction by stating why you chose the specific experiment and not any other. State the exact experimental method and the data or results from the procedure.

When conducting clinical research, for instance, it is advisable to provide research summary on the reasons why you chose a particular research experiment. This rationale should appear at the beginning of the paragraph. After the rationale, show how the procedure was conducted to the results.

If you choose a commonly used research experiment, find a unique rationale to avoid being obvious. Research experiments that are not common allow you to share your rationale more conveniently. This uniqueness is a great way to hook your audience and motivate them to engage more with your work.

Visual presentation in the methods section 

Visual elements help to make content appear better and deliver information easily. These elements include graphs, tables, and systematic diagrams that are relevant to your research and writing. Using visual presentation makes your content easier to digest and adds spice to the content. 

How to write a good methods section

The methods section of research paper is important in showing whether the research was conducted in the best way. You should include every step of the research procedure even if it is by highlighting. We will now break down how to write the methods section of research paper and what to avoid. 

1.     Follow the guidelines given

Research papers have writing instructions based on the reason for the research. Read through all the instructions and follow all guidelines carefully including the writing style. For instance, understand the American Psychological Association style, and adhere to the font for methods section of an APA research paper.

The methods section of a research paper should be well formulated and follow writing standards. For biomedical research papers, for instance, there are standard checklists you will need to familiarize yourself with, to help you write a good quality paper. 

2.     Proper structuring

This section tells readers the background of your research and findings. You should therefore structure it logically and like a story that readers can easily follow. Writing your points in chronological order is the easiest way to achieve good structure. 

Begin by stating the time and setting of your research, when you began and when it was completed. This should be followed by research procedure details, data findings, and analysis. All research techniques should be well highlighted in your methods section to show the validity of all content. 

The flow of your content in this section will be better if you follow the order of results. State every research step and result as they happened without mixing them up. Every step should be a subsection that is introduced by a good subheading. 

3.     Subsections in the methods section of a research paper

Subsections in the methods section make your work easily readable. The reader can follow your step-by-step research process and relate to the work in each stage. The subheading should be your objective in every experiment or the name of the experiment where applicable. 

The methods section should also include your thoughts before the research and what motivated you to carry out the research. Your details should be validly connected from the start of the project to the result findings. Variations in the flow of content may render your information invalid. 

Research paper readers want to see well-researched information for the research paper topics. You may carry out good research and have good findings, but lose your audience during your presentation of information in a research paper. Understand your research design to know how best you can present your methods section. 

You should also highlight the equipment and materials used during research and state their importance in the process. Essay readers want to see reliable and valid content in the research paper and the methods section helps to show proof of reliable content. Include cited content from existing work as a reference in your research, to further show that your content is reliable and valid. 

How to write the methods section of a qualitative research paper

This section of your research paper must be fully detailed and should capture all aspects of your research. Where applicable, state the sample size estimation before you begin your research details for the reader to assess the possible change and outcome after research. Power calculation should also be included in the methods section where applicable. 

Ethical approval of your study

People like to associate with ethical and valid things, including information. At the start of your methods section, you can mention whether your research got approval from the relevant approving body or persons involved in your study. This information may not be compulsory but will create more validity for your content. 

Variables and analysis in the methods section

Variables can highly affect the results of your study and it is important to mention them in the methods section. Clearly state any variables, including control variables, dependent variables, and independent variables that may have influenced your findings. Some extraneous variables may also apply depending on the area and methods of research.

When carrying out a study on ‘Study Research, for instance, having prior knowledge on how to conduct the research can be considered an extraneous variable. This is in comparison to someone who researches scratch and the extraneous variable in the other person may impact the research findings. Research paper topics from reliable sources and review the methods section of a research paper example.

Statistical analysis should also be mentioned in the methods section. This includes statistical tests, their impact and significance, and software packages involved in the statistical analysis. This section may not apply in all research papers but where applicable, you can seek help in writing the section well. 

If you consult any professional to assist with this or any other section of your research, you must include that clearly in your paper. State it as recommendations of a professional in your analysis or study. You can conclude your methods section by justifying your statistical method for your research.

What to avoid in the methods section of research paper

There are common mistakes that students make in the methods section, which should be avoided.  Here are some of the mistakes to avoid:

Common research methods should be briefly described

The methods section should be detailed with information that supports your study. If you chose a common method, you can briefly state and describe it without being so detailed. This works well because information about the method is widely available and you will avoid repetition and monotony.

When describing a common research method, simply state and cite the experiment and indicate that you followed the referred process in your research. If you have modified the original process, however, describe your modifications in detail. Mention each modification and your justification for each in detail. 

Avoid unnecessary details

There might be so much information to write in the methods section. However, stick to what is important for the reader and omit some small details that may not affect study results. Not all details on the materials and methods section of a research paper are relevant for this section as it may appear as fluff. 

Stick to your research methods

You should not discuss the good and bad of other research methods that you did not use. Research writers are at times tempted to describe why they chose one research method and not the other. You should however stick to details about the methods you utilized as you will see in a good methods section of a research paper example. 

No research method is superior to the other, as it depends on the type of your research. You should therefore avoid describing your research method in comparison to any other. Simply state why you chose your research method and how it is important for your study.

How to break down your research methodology

Begin the methods section with a dissertation that discusses the research method and why you used a particular method. This entire section is about why you did research, how you did it and the results you got from the research.

The section should state the type of research conducted, how you collected your research data and how the data was analyzed. You should also include the materials or tools used in your research with reasons for choosing the method of research. 

The methods section is not just about describing research methods but should show how the methods were applied in your research. You must demonstrate how you carried out rigorous research focusing on the objectives of the research paper. The research methodology cannot be random but must focus on answering the research question. 

Parting shot

The methods section of research paper, as discussed above, offers details of the research for a better understanding of the findings. You now have details on how to write the methods section of research paper to establish transparency and validity of your research paper content. 


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