Chapter 4: Writing the Methods Section
Goals of an Effective Methods Section
There are three main goals for an effective Methods section:
- Contextualize the study’s methods;
- Describe the study;
- Analyze the data.
The image below provides a visual way to understand the three goals:
These goals attempt to explain to the reader — in a very detailed fashion — how the study was carried out. Specificity is of utmost importance in this section, and one way to think about how specific the content should be is to imagine that someone is reading your Methods section with the purpose of replicating your research. Would they be able to conduct this same study based on what you have written in this section? You want the answer to be YES. So, by contextualizing, describing, and analyzing, you can explain to the reader exactly what, when, where, and how you did what you did.