The methods section of a research paper contains information about participants, the research design, the materials/apparatus (i.e., equipment, stimuli), the procedures, and the data analysis plan (when necessary). In smaller studies, the research design and procedures sections are combined. This entry describes each portion of the methods section and the process of writing this section.
Many researchers consider the methods section to be the most important section of a research paper because it provides the reader with information that is not only necessary for replication but also necessary for ultimately judging the validity of the study. Information in the methods section allows readers to determine, for instance, whether the study used the correct procedures for its particular research questions and whether the study is free of ...
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