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How To Create A Solid Research Paper Methods Section: Basic Tips


You are faced with the task of composing the body of an APA style research paper. The body of your composition should consist of three parts: introduction, methods, and results. Here are a few tips to help you create a robust and well-formatted methods section.

  1. Know What You’re Writing about
  2. The reason for a methods section is to provide the processes used in an experiment or research study. Thorough information should be given to the design of your research, participants involved, equipment utilized, materials used, potential variables, and actions of participants. Ideally, the instructions you give should be clear enough to allow a fellow researcher to read your work and be able to replicate your study or experiment. Your methods section should be further divided into four segments: Participants, Materials, Design, and Procedure.

  3. Compose a Participants Segment
  4. Who was involved in your experiment? Describe them, being sure to include the number of participants, their general age group, and gender, and how they were selected for the experiment or research study.

  5. Make a Materials Segment
  6. What instruments, equipment, materials, or stimuli did you use in your experiment? Describe them and cite them if they were created by someone else.

  7. Create a Design Segment
  8. How was your study or experiment structured? What variables in the design of your experiment did you encounter? Did you include any treatments or controls? How were your variables measured? Did you collect any samples? Answer all of these questions in detail.

  9. Compose a Procedure Segment
  10. How was the experiment or study actually conducted? Clarify what the participants did and your method of collecting data, making sure everything is in the proper order that it was completed.

  11. Get the Structure and Formatting Right
  12. Your work should be in APA format which means that everything must be cited according to the APA Style guidelines. Be sure to include a proper header, a page number, use a clear font, and have one-inch margins all around. Your writing in the methods section should all be in the past tense and should be concise and to the point, avoiding unnecessary detail that is not pertinent to the outcome of your study. Keep these tips in mind and you will be well on your way to writing a skillful methods section of your research paper.

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