If you are creating a scientific research paper, it is understandable to consider your discussion and results as very important. That is where others discover whether your thoughts on the problem are correct.
However, just as important is the methods section.
The methods section is important because this is where peers and superiors (such as your teacher!) determine if your research was valid. It should contain these details:
– What steps did you take to answer the problems? Why?
– What experimental design did you use? Why?
– How did you analyze the results? Why?
Scientific research is very rigid. For you to say that your research was done right, there should be no loopholes in the process, materials, or participants involved. If not, your research will be dismissed by the scientific community.
Things to consider
For your paper to be accepted by your professor and peers, consider the following pointers.
1. Cite your sources
Since scientific research is often built upon the works of others, it is important to properly cite your sources. Be sure to mention the authors of the study, the timeframe, and the parameters used. Keep in mind the style guide (APA or something else) so that you don’t waste time revising it later on.
2. Describe the participants
To ensure the research was done correctly and for your study to be a reference in future studies, you need to describe the participants. For human participants, the characteristics of both the study group and the control group need to be listed. This may include age, gender, race, educational attainment, occupation, geographical location, and socioeconomic status. If it is a medical study, the health status before starting the research should be recorded. Depending upon the type of medical research, written consent may need to be secured.
If the study is on animals, the age, sex, and number of animals involved need to be recorded. You must indicate how these animals were obtained and how you cared for them to ensure humane treatment.
Another important detail is why the human participants or animals were selected, and how many were removed from the study. If groupings were made, the selection process must also be presented.
3. Discuss the research design
It is necessary to describe how the study was conducted. This includes preparations done, main equipment used, protocols followed, and the timeframe.
Furthermore, you must indicate the data collected and the measurement process. The statistical tests used must also be mentioned, including the statistical software.
4. Strike a balance
Although details are very important, be careful not to be too detailed. Reread your work to see if you have inserted unnecessary information which may distract, confuse, or bore your audience.
The methods section is crucial as this is where others can verify whether your methods were sound or if something was lacking. Take care to do it well so that your research receives the approval and support of others in the scientific field.