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How to Write the Method Section of a Research Paper
Students new to writing method sections of research papers should be aware of certain things. This kind of paper is generally for those doing primary research, and as such, students might not be the most versed in the kind of technical writing required. The good news is that it is not too difficult, as long as certain things are kept in mind. First, know and follow the rules of whatever style, such as APA or MLA that you are using. The focus of the methods section is to provide a detailed summary of the design of research, as well as what the exact methods to go through with the experiment were used.
The goal of the methods section is to allow others to recreate your experiment or study if they want to, to confirm your results. To do this, there are a few things you should include, which can be listed as separate subsections. These include participants, experimental design, procedure, and materials.
The first thing you want to talk about is the participants in the experiment. You want to include how many you have, how you selected them, and some characteristics. If you are doing a medical study, for instance, tell what age the people were, if they were smokers or non-smokers, and any health history or relevant traits that could be useful to the research you are conducting.
The next section is equipment. There may be technical equipment, books that you used any instruments or measuring devices. Describe what sort of technical devices or measuring tools, and make sure that the reader knows enough to get those same tools if necessary. Also include the design, which is a technical and statistical term for what kind of tests you are doing; this must include what variables you are talking about plus the range and level of those variables. There are a couple of design methodologies that you should be aware of, include which one you are using in this section.
The final, and most important, part of this document is the procedure that you used for the experiment. This has to be exact as possible. Remember that you are writing this for people to recreate your experiment, so make sure that you are paying attention. Write down everything you did, in as much detail as possible, and be sure to include anything that might confound results. Write down how the equipment is used, and any possible psychological or physics elements that might have changed the experiment. For example, mice react differently if the experimenter is male or female.
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