How to Write the Methods Section of a Scientific Article

The methods section of a scientific article is the chapter that explains all the materials and the methods that were used to make the research a success. It refers to methods of data collection, the subjects use, the materials and tools as well as the sample sizes. This helps both the writer and the reader to determine whether whatever was examined was adequate. This section is also used to show the cause and effect relationship between the objects of study. The following are the items that should be included in the method section:

  • Characteristics of Groups

The researcher should bring to perspective the characteristics of the chosen group participants and how the group was subdivided into subgroups. The manner of control and the different characteristics of the subgroups are also discussed here. Depending on whether the study involved humans or animals, the specific equipment used should be included here. In the event where patients’ records were referred to, the writer should also mention how discretion was ensured.

  • The criteria for inclusion/exclusion

In the methods chapter, the researcher is expected to describe their inclusion and exclusion criteria as far as the study subjects are concerned. During the research, not all the samples taken are considered for the actual study. Some are deemed invalid and therefore excluded while the suitable ones are further examined and evaluated. Giving a count of the number that was eliminated makes the research more authentic.

  • Literature Search

Since research includes digging deeper into other people’s work, the writer of a study should cite the various sources that helped them with their choice of methods. This should also include the particular parameters and time frames for those past studies. Such disclosures make it easier for the readers to relate better with the researcher since the work is connected to other studies.

  • The Statistical Analyses

This refers to the type of data used for the study, the measurement methods, and the various statistical tests that were performed. At this point, both qualitative and quantitative data are mentioned and any necessary clarifications made. The specific software used should also be mentioned here.

  • Study Procedures

The study design, preparations made, and the instruments used should be explained. Also, time frames for the procedures used are included to validate the experiments. The processes used to arrive at the final results should be explained. At least the main steps are required even if not the whole process.

  • Participants

The details of where all the subjects were obtained from and how they were cared for should be included here. In the case of human beings and animals, their ages, initial conditions, and sexes are also mentioned. This is not only good for validation but also accountability as far as human and animal rights are concerned.

Final Thoughts

Even though the methods section does not carry the most weight in a scientific paper, it plays a major role to validate the results of the study. Follow the guidelines here to know how to write an all-inclusive methods section.

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