How to write Methods section?

The method section of a papers is probably the least interesting part, yet it is essential for the progress of science and facilitates your further attempts. The requirements for Methods section of any journal can be found in “instructions to authors” guide.

The purpose of Methods section

The Methods section of your paper lets your readers know what you have done, and be able to examine the study design and materials for themselves. Using this information, they can decide if the study has gaps or flaws or has been done with appropriate materials and a solid design. Peer-review before publication can spot the main issues and inform the authors. Another reason for the existence of Methods section is to let other researchers  reproduce the research if they want to.

What is included in Methods

Method’s section generally starts with the description of the cells, animals or patients that are used in the study. This information should include numbers, the created groups including control groups and information about housing or clinical care, etc.

Laboratory procedures

you also should enter the used processes in your study in one section or a few subsections. If the space is enough you should include the required materials and the way you supplied them.

Ethics statement

Most journals ask authors to include ethics statement for the studies that are conducted on humans or animals. As for patients it is necessary to get their consent formally before the start of the study.

Statistical analysis

 This section should include the comparisons made, tests used, the way distributions and cutoffs are assessed for statistical significance.

Please note that if you have done a case study, your paper does not contain the Methods section. With your systematic review or meta-analysis, you should follow journal’s guidelines and the Methods section should include databases, search terms, etc.

In case your study contains many material or chemicals, you can list them in a table and refer your readers to it. On the other hand, if you follow a standard procedure, there is no need to elaborate every step, just refer the reader to a publication that describe them in detail.

What should be avoided in Method section

Your Methods should not include discussion of the study results; it should only inform the readers of what you have done.

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