Chapter 4: Writing the Methods Section
You may remember from Chapter 3 that research articles have specific sections regardless of discipline or journal. Generally, there are five commonly acknowledged sections of an empirical research manuscript: Introduction (including the Literature Review), Methods, Results, and Discussion/Conclusion.
Notice that the figure depicts an article in the shape of an hourglass. That shape provides a way for us to consider which sections of a research article will be general and which will be specific. The middle part — the Methods and Results sections — are the most narrow, or specific, areas of the entire article. As you move away from the Introduction, your content will start to become more and more specific, reaching its most specific point in the Methods and Results sections. In this chapter, we will present the goals and strategies for writing the Methods.
Why do you think the Methods need to be specific (narrow) and not too general (broad)? What aspects of the Methods contribute to its specificity?