The purpose of a methods section of a research paper is to provide the information by which a study's validity is judged. It must contain enough information so that (a) the study could be repeated by others to evaluate whether the results are reproducible, and (b) others can judge whether the results and conclusions are valid. Therefore, the methods section should provide a clear and precise description of how a study was done and the rationale for the specific procedures chosen.[Page 800]
Historically, the methods section was referred to as the “materials and methods section” to emphasize the two areas that must be addressed. “Materials” referred to what was studied (e.g., humans, animals, tissue cultures), treatments applied, and instruments used. “Methods” referred to the selection of ...
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