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How to Write an APA Methods Section | With Examples

Published on February 5, 2021 by Pritha Bhandari . Revised on June 22, 2023.

The methods section of an APA style paper is where you report in detail how you performed your study. Research papers in the social and natural sciences often follow APA style. This article focuses on reporting quantitative research methods .

In your APA methods section, you should report enough information to understand and replicate your study, including detailed information on the sample , measures, and procedures used.

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Table of contents

Structuring an apa methods section.


Example of an APA methods section

Other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an apa methods section.

The main heading of “Methods” should be centered, boldfaced, and capitalized. Subheadings within this section are left-aligned, boldfaced, and in title case. You can also add lower level headings within these subsections, as long as they follow APA heading styles .

To structure your methods section, you can use the subheadings of “Participants,” “Materials,” and “Procedures.” These headings are not mandatory—aim to organize your methods section using subheadings that make sense for your specific study.

Heading What to include

Note that not all of these topics will necessarily be relevant for your study. For example, if you didn’t need to consider outlier removal or ways of assigning participants to different conditions, you don’t have to report these steps.

The APA also provides specific reporting guidelines for different types of research design. These tell you exactly what you need to report for longitudinal designs , replication studies, experimental designs , and so on. If your study uses a combination design, consult APA guidelines for mixed methods studies.

Detailed descriptions of procedures that don’t fit into your main text can be placed in supplemental materials (for example, the exact instructions and tasks given to participants, the full analytical strategy including software code, or additional figures and tables).

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psychology dissertation methods section

Begin the methods section by reporting sample characteristics, sampling procedures, and the sample size.

Participant or subject characteristics

When discussing people who participate in research, descriptive terms like “participants,” “subjects” and “respondents” can be used. For non-human animal research, “subjects” is more appropriate.

Specify all relevant demographic characteristics of your participants. This may include their age, sex, ethnic or racial group, gender identity, education level, and socioeconomic status. Depending on your study topic, other characteristics like educational or immigration status or language preference may also be relevant.

Be sure to report these characteristics as precisely as possible. This helps the reader understand how far your results may be generalized to other people.

The APA guidelines emphasize writing about participants using bias-free language , so it’s necessary to use inclusive and appropriate terms.

Sampling procedures

Outline how the participants were selected and all inclusion and exclusion criteria applied. Appropriately identify the sampling procedure used. For example, you should only label a sample as random  if you had access to every member of the relevant population.

Of all the people invited to participate in your study, note the percentage that actually did (if you have this data). Additionally, report whether participants were self-selected, either by themselves or by their institutions (e.g., schools may submit student data for research purposes).

Identify any compensation (e.g., course credits or money) that was provided to participants, and mention any institutional review board approvals and ethical standards followed.

Sample size and power

Detail the sample size (per condition) and statistical power that you hoped to achieve, as well as any analyses you performed to determine these numbers.

It’s important to show that your study had enough statistical power to find effects if there were any to be found.

Additionally, state whether your final sample differed from the intended sample. Your interpretations of the study outcomes should be based only on your final sample rather than your intended sample.

Write up the tools and techniques that you used to measure relevant variables. Be as thorough as possible for a complete picture of your techniques.

Primary and secondary measures

Define the primary and secondary outcome measures that will help you answer your primary and secondary research questions.

Specify all instruments used in gathering these measurements and the construct that they measure. These instruments may include hardware, software, or tests, scales, and inventories.

  • To cite hardware, indicate the model number and manufacturer.
  • To cite common software (e.g., Qualtrics), state the full name along with the version number or the website URL .
  • To cite tests, scales or inventories, reference its manual or the article it was published in. It’s also helpful to state the number of items and provide one or two example items.

Make sure to report the settings of (e.g., screen resolution) any specialized apparatus used.

For each instrument used, report measures of the following:

  • Reliability : how consistently the method measures something, in terms of internal consistency or test-retest reliability.
  • Validity : how precisely the method measures something, in terms of construct validity  or criterion validity .

Giving an example item or two for tests, questionnaires , and interviews is also helpful.

Describe any covariates—these are any additional variables that may explain or predict the outcomes.

Quality of measurements

Review all methods you used to assure the quality of your measurements.

These may include:

  • training researchers to collect data reliably,
  • using multiple people to assess (e.g., observe or code) the data,
  • translation and back-translation of research materials,
  • using pilot studies to test your materials on unrelated samples.

For data that’s subjectively coded (for example, classifying open-ended responses), report interrater reliability scores. This tells the reader how similarly each response was rated by multiple raters.

Report all of the procedures applied for administering the study, processing the data, and for planned data analyses.

Data collection methods and research design

Data collection methods refers to the general mode of the instruments: surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, neuroimaging, cognitive tests, and so on. Summarize exactly how you collected the necessary data.

Describe all procedures you applied in administering surveys, tests, physical recordings, or imaging devices, with enough detail so that someone else can replicate your techniques. If your procedures are very complicated and require long descriptions (e.g., in neuroimaging studies), place these details in supplementary materials.

To report research design, note your overall framework for data collection and analysis. State whether you used an experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive (observational), correlational, and/or longitudinal design. Also note whether a between-subjects or a within-subjects design was used.

For multi-group studies, report the following design and procedural details as well:

  • how participants were assigned to different conditions (e.g., randomization),
  • instructions given to the participants in each group,
  • interventions for each group,
  • the setting and length of each session(s).

Describe whether any masking was used to hide the condition assignment (e.g., placebo or medication condition) from participants or research administrators. Using masking in a multi-group study ensures internal validity by reducing research bias . Explain how this masking was applied and whether its effectiveness was assessed.

Participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental condition. The survey was administered using Qualtrics ( To begin, all participants were given the AAI and a demographics questionnaire to complete, followed by an unrelated filler task. In the control condition , participants completed a short general knowledge test immediately after the filler task. In the experimental condition, participants were asked to visualize themselves taking the test for 3 minutes before they actually did. For more details on the exact instructions and tasks given, see supplementary materials.

Data diagnostics

Outline all steps taken to scrutinize or process the data after collection.

This includes the following:

  • Procedures for identifying and removing outliers
  • Data transformations to normalize distributions
  • Compensation strategies for overcoming missing values

To ensure high validity, you should provide enough detail for your reader to understand how and why you processed or transformed your raw data in these specific ways.

Analytic strategies

The methods section is also where you describe your statistical analysis procedures, but not their outcomes. Their outcomes are reported in the results section.

These procedures should be stated for all primary, secondary, and exploratory hypotheses. While primary and secondary hypotheses are based on a theoretical framework or past studies, exploratory hypotheses are guided by the data you’ve just collected.

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This annotated example reports methods for a descriptive correlational survey on the relationship between religiosity and trust in science in the US. Hover over each part for explanation of what is included.

The sample included 879 adults aged between 18 and 28. More than half of the participants were women (56%), and all participants had completed at least 12 years of education. Ethics approval was obtained from the university board before recruitment began. Participants were recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk; We selected for a geographically diverse sample within the Midwest of the US through an initial screening survey. Participants were paid USD $5 upon completion of the study.

A sample size of at least 783 was deemed necessary for detecting a correlation coefficient of ±.1, with a power level of 80% and a significance level of .05, using a sample size calculator (

The primary outcome measures were the levels of religiosity and trust in science. Religiosity refers to involvement and belief in religious traditions, while trust in science represents confidence in scientists and scientific research outcomes. The secondary outcome measures were gender and parental education levels of participants and whether these characteristics predicted religiosity levels.


Religiosity was measured using the Centrality of Religiosity scale (Huber, 2003). The Likert scale is made up of 15 questions with five subscales of ideology, experience, intellect, public practice, and private practice. An example item is “How often do you experience situations in which you have the feeling that God or something divine intervenes in your life?” Participants were asked to indicate frequency of occurrence by selecting a response ranging from 1 (very often) to 5 (never). The internal consistency of the instrument is .83 (Huber & Huber, 2012).

Trust in Science

Trust in science was assessed using the General Trust in Science index (McCright, Dentzman, Charters & Dietz, 2013). Four Likert scale items were assessed on a scale from 1 (completely distrust) to 5 (completely trust). An example question asks “How much do you distrust or trust scientists to create knowledge that is unbiased and accurate?” Internal consistency was .8.

Potential participants were invited to participate in the survey online using Qualtrics ( The survey consisted of multiple choice questions regarding demographic characteristics, the Centrality of Religiosity scale, an unrelated filler anagram task, and finally the General Trust in Science index. The filler task was included to avoid priming or demand characteristics, and an attention check was embedded within the religiosity scale. For full instructions and details of tasks, see supplementary materials.

For this correlational study , we assessed our primary hypothesis of a relationship between religiosity and trust in science using Pearson moment correlation coefficient. The statistical significance of the correlation coefficient was assessed using a t test. To test our secondary hypothesis of parental education levels and gender as predictors of religiosity, multiple linear regression analysis was used.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles


  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Thematic analysis
  • Cohort study
  • Peer review
  • Ethnography

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Conformity bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Attrition bias
  • Social desirability bias

In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used.

  • Describe all relevant participant or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures used and the sample size and power .
  • Define all primary and secondary measures and discuss the quality of measurements.
  • Specify the data collection methods, the research design and data analysis strategy, including any steps taken to transform the data and statistical analyses.

You should report methods using the past tense , even if you haven’t completed your study at the time of writing. That’s because the methods section is intended to describe completed actions or research.

In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

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How to Write a Methods Section for a Psychology Paper

Tips and Examples of an APA Methods Section

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

psychology dissertation methods section

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity,, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

psychology dissertation methods section

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

The methods section of an APA format psychology paper provides the methods and procedures used in a research study or experiment . This part of an APA paper is critical because it allows other researchers to see exactly how you conducted your research.

Method refers to the procedure that was used in a research study. It included a precise description of how the experiments were performed and why particular procedures were selected. While the APA technically refers to this section as the 'method section,' it is also often known as a 'methods section.'

The methods section ensures the experiment's reproducibility and the assessment of alternative methods that might produce different results. It also allows researchers to replicate the experiment and judge the study's validity.

This article discusses how to write a methods section for a psychology paper, including important elements to include and tips that can help.

What to Include in a Method Section

So what exactly do you need to include when writing your method section? You should provide detailed information on the following:

  • Research design
  • Participants
  • Participant behavior

The method section should provide enough information to allow other researchers to replicate your experiment or study.

Components of a Method Section

The method section should utilize subheadings to divide up different subsections. These subsections typically include participants, materials, design, and procedure.


In this part of the method section, you should describe the participants in your experiment, including who they were (and any unique features that set them apart from the general population), how many there were, and how they were selected. If you utilized random selection to choose your participants, it should be noted here.

For example: "We randomly selected 100 children from elementary schools near the University of Arizona."

At the very minimum, this part of your method section must convey:

  • Basic demographic characteristics of your participants (such as sex, age, ethnicity, or religion)
  • The population from which your participants were drawn
  • Any restrictions on your pool of participants
  • How many participants were assigned to each condition and how they were assigned to each group (i.e., randomly assignment , another selection method, etc.)
  • Why participants took part in your research (i.e., the study was advertised at a college or hospital, they received some type of incentive, etc.)

Information about participants helps other researchers understand how your study was performed, how generalizable the result might be, and allows other researchers to replicate the experiment with other populations to see if they might obtain the same results.

In this part of the method section, you should describe the materials, measures, equipment, or stimuli used in the experiment. This may include:

  • Testing instruments
  • Technical equipment
  • Any psychological assessments that were used
  • Any special equipment that was used

For example: "Two stories from Sullivan et al.'s (1994) second-order false belief attribution tasks were used to assess children's understanding of second-order beliefs."

For standard equipment such as computers, televisions, and videos, you can simply name the device and not provide further explanation.

Specialized equipment should be given greater detail, especially if it is complex or created for a niche purpose. In some instances, such as if you created a special material or apparatus for your study, you might need to include an illustration of the item in the appendix of your paper.

In this part of your method section, describe the type of design used in the experiment. Specify the variables as well as the levels of these variables. Identify:

  • The independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Control variables
  • Any extraneous variables that might influence your results.

Also, explain whether your experiment uses a  within-groups  or between-groups design.

For example: "The experiment used a 3x2 between-subjects design. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs."

The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Your procedures should explain:

  • What the participants did
  • How data was collected
  • The order in which steps occurred

For example: "An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average. The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded."

Keep this subsection concise yet detailed. Explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

Tips for How to Write a Methods Section

In addition to following the basic structure of an APA method section, there are also certain things you should remember when writing this section of your paper. Consider the following tips when writing this section:

  • Use the past tense : Always write the method section in the past tense.
  • Be descriptive : Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your experiment, but focus on brevity. Avoid unnecessary detail that is not relevant to the outcome of the experiment.
  • Use an academic tone : Use formal language and avoid slang or colloquial expressions. Word choice is also important. Refer to the people in your experiment or study as "participants" rather than "subjects."
  • Use APA format : Keep a style guide on hand as you write your method section. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the official source for APA style.
  • Make connections : Read through each section of your paper for agreement with other sections. If you mention procedures in the method section, these elements should be discussed in the results and discussion sections.
  • Proofread : Check your paper for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.. typos, grammar problems, and spelling errors. Although a spell checker is a handy tool, there are some errors only you can catch.

After writing a draft of your method section, be sure to get a second opinion. You can often become too close to your work to see errors or lack of clarity. Take a rough draft of your method section to your university's writing lab for additional assistance.

A Word From Verywell

The method section is one of the most important components of your APA format paper. The goal of your paper should be to clearly detail what you did in your experiment. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your study if they wanted.

Finally, if you are writing your paper for a class or for a specific publication, be sure to keep in mind any specific instructions provided by your instructor or by the journal editor. Your instructor may have certain requirements that you need to follow while writing your method section.

Frequently Asked Questions

While the subsections can vary, the three components that should be included are sections on the participants, the materials, and the procedures.

  • Describe who the participants were in the study and how they were selected.
  • Define and describe the materials that were used including any equipment, tests, or assessments
  • Describe how the data was collected

To write your methods section in APA format, describe your participants, materials, study design, and procedures. Keep this section succinct, and always write in the past tense. The main heading of this section should be labeled "Method" and it should be centered, bolded, and capitalized. Each subheading within this section should be bolded, left-aligned and in title case.

The purpose of the methods section is to describe what you did in your experiment. It should be brief, but include enough detail that someone could replicate your experiment based on this information. Your methods section should detail what you did to answer your research question. Describe how the study was conducted, the study design that was used and why it was chosen, and how you collected the data and analyzed the results.

Erdemir F. How to write a materials and methods section of a scientific article ? Turk J Urol . 2013;39(Suppl 1):10-5. doi:10.5152/tud.2013.047

Kallet RH. How to write the methods section of a research paper . Respir Care . 2004;49(10):1229-32. PMID: 15447808.

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

American Psychological Association. APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards . Published 2020.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Home » Dissertation Methodology – Structure, Example and Writing Guide

Dissertation Methodology – Structure, Example and Writing Guide

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Dissertation Methodology

Dissertation Methodology

In any research, the methodology chapter is one of the key components of your dissertation. It provides a detailed description of the methods you used to conduct your research and helps readers understand how you obtained your data and how you plan to analyze it. This section is crucial for replicating the study and validating its results.

Here are the basic elements that are typically included in a dissertation methodology:

  • Introduction : This section should explain the importance and goals of your research .
  • Research Design : Outline your research approach and why it’s appropriate for your study. You might be conducting an experimental research, a qualitative research, a quantitative research, or a mixed-methods research.
  • Data Collection : This section should detail the methods you used to collect your data. Did you use surveys, interviews, observations, etc.? Why did you choose these methods? You should also include who your participants were, how you recruited them, and any ethical considerations.
  • Data Analysis : Explain how you intend to analyze the data you collected. This could include statistical analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, etc., depending on the nature of your study.
  • Reliability and Validity : Discuss how you’ve ensured the reliability and validity of your study. For instance, you could discuss measures taken to reduce bias, how you ensured that your measures accurately capture what they were intended to, or how you will handle any limitations in your study.
  • Ethical Considerations : This is where you state how you have considered ethical issues related to your research, how you have protected the participants’ rights, and how you have complied with the relevant ethical guidelines.
  • Limitations : Acknowledge any limitations of your methodology, including any biases and constraints that might have affected your study.
  • Summary : Recap the key points of your methodology chapter, highlighting the overall approach and rationalization of your research.

Types of Dissertation Methodology

The type of methodology you choose for your dissertation will depend on the nature of your research question and the field you’re working in. Here are some of the most common types of methodologies used in dissertations:

Experimental Research

This involves creating an experiment that will test your hypothesis. You’ll need to design an experiment, manipulate variables, collect data, and analyze that data to draw conclusions. This is commonly used in fields like psychology, biology, and physics.

Survey Research

This type of research involves gathering data from a large number of participants using tools like questionnaires or surveys. It can be used to collect a large amount of data and is often used in fields like sociology, marketing, and public health.

Qualitative Research

This type of research is used to explore complex phenomena that can’t be easily quantified. Methods include interviews, focus groups, and observations. This methodology is common in fields like anthropology, sociology, and education.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research uses numerical data to answer research questions. This can include statistical, mathematical, or computational techniques. It’s common in fields like economics, psychology, and health sciences.

Case Study Research

This type of research involves in-depth investigation of a particular case, such as an individual, group, or event. This methodology is often used in psychology, social sciences, and business.

Mixed Methods Research

This combines qualitative and quantitative research methods in a single study. It’s used to answer more complex research questions and is becoming more popular in fields like social sciences, health sciences, and education.

Action Research

This type of research involves taking action and then reflecting upon the results. This cycle of action-reflection-action continues throughout the study. It’s often used in fields like education and organizational development.

Longitudinal Research

This type of research involves studying the same group of individuals over an extended period of time. This could involve surveys, observations, or experiments. It’s common in fields like psychology, sociology, and medicine.

Ethnographic Research

This type of research involves the in-depth study of people and cultures. Researchers immerse themselves in the culture they’re studying to collect data. This is often used in fields like anthropology and social sciences.

Structure of Dissertation Methodology

The structure of a dissertation methodology can vary depending on your field of study, the nature of your research, and the guidelines of your institution. However, a standard structure typically includes the following elements:

  • Introduction : Briefly introduce your overall approach to the research. Explain what you plan to explore and why it’s important.
  • Research Design/Approach : Describe your overall research design. This can be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Explain the rationale behind your chosen design and why it is suitable for your research questions or hypotheses.
  • Data Collection Methods : Detail the methods you used to collect your data. You should include what type of data you collected, how you collected it, and why you chose this method. If relevant, you can also include information about your sample population, such as how many people participated, how they were chosen, and any relevant demographic information.
  • Data Analysis Methods : Explain how you plan to analyze your collected data. This will depend on the nature of your data. For example, if you collected quantitative data, you might discuss statistical analysis techniques. If you collected qualitative data, you might discuss coding strategies, thematic analysis, or narrative analysis.
  • Reliability and Validity : Discuss how you’ve ensured the reliability and validity of your research. This might include steps you took to reduce bias or increase the accuracy of your measurements.
  • Ethical Considerations : If relevant, discuss any ethical issues associated with your research. This might include how you obtained informed consent from participants, how you ensured participants’ privacy and confidentiality, or any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Limitations : Acknowledge any limitations in your research methodology. This could include potential sources of bias, difficulties with data collection, or limitations in your analysis methods.
  • Summary/Conclusion : Briefly summarize the key points of your methodology, emphasizing how it helps answer your research questions or hypotheses.

How to Write Dissertation Methodology

Writing a dissertation methodology requires you to be clear and precise about the way you’ve carried out your research. It’s an opportunity to convince your readers of the appropriateness and reliability of your approach to your research question. Here is a basic guideline on how to write your methodology section:

1. Introduction

Start your methodology section by restating your research question(s) or objective(s). This ensures your methodology directly ties into the aim of your research.

2. Approach

Identify your overall approach: qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Explain why you have chosen this approach.

  • Qualitative methods are typically used for exploratory research and involve collecting non-numerical data. This might involve interviews, observations, or analysis of texts.
  • Quantitative methods are used for research that relies on numerical data. This might involve surveys, experiments, or statistical analysis.
  • Mixed methods use a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

3. Research Design

Describe the overall design of your research. This could involve explaining the type of study (e.g., case study, ethnography, experimental research, etc.), how you’ve defined and measured your variables, and any control measures you’ve implemented.

4. Data Collection

Explain in detail how you collected your data.

  • If you’ve used qualitative methods, you might detail how you selected participants for interviews or focus groups, how you conducted observations, or how you analyzed existing texts.
  • If you’ve used quantitative methods, you might detail how you designed your survey or experiment, how you collected responses, and how you ensured your data is reliable and valid.

5. Data Analysis

Describe how you analyzed your data.

  • If you’re doing qualitative research, this might involve thematic analysis, discourse analysis, or grounded theory.
  • If you’re doing quantitative research, you might be conducting statistical tests, regression analysis, or factor analysis.

Discuss any ethical issues related to your research. This might involve explaining how you obtained informed consent, how you’re protecting participants’ privacy, or how you’re managing any potential harms to participants.

7. Reliability and Validity

Discuss the steps you’ve taken to ensure the reliability and validity of your data.

  • Reliability refers to the consistency of your measurements, and you might discuss how you’ve piloted your instruments or used standardized measures.
  • Validity refers to the accuracy of your measurements, and you might discuss how you’ve ensured your measures reflect the concepts they’re supposed to measure.

8. Limitations

Every study has its limitations. Discuss the potential weaknesses of your chosen methods and explain any obstacles you faced in your research.

9. Conclusion

Summarize the key points of your methodology, emphasizing how it helps to address your research question or objective.

Example of Dissertation Methodology

An Example of Dissertation Methodology is as follows:

Chapter 3: Methodology

  • Introduction

This chapter details the methodology adopted in this research. The study aimed to explore the relationship between stress and productivity in the workplace. A mixed-methods research design was used to collect and analyze data.

Research Design

This study adopted a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative surveys with qualitative interviews to provide a comprehensive understanding of the research problem. The rationale for this approach is that while quantitative data can provide a broad overview of the relationships between variables, qualitative data can provide deeper insights into the nuances of these relationships.

Data Collection Methods

Quantitative Data Collection : An online self-report questionnaire was used to collect data from participants. The questionnaire consisted of two standardized scales: the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) to measure stress levels and the Individual Work Productivity Questionnaire (IWPQ) to measure productivity. The sample consisted of 200 office workers randomly selected from various companies in the city.

Qualitative Data Collection : Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants chosen from the initial sample. The interview guide included questions about participants’ experiences with stress and how they perceived its impact on their productivity.

Data Analysis Methods

Quantitative Data Analysis : Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the survey data. Pearson’s correlation was used to examine the relationship between stress and productivity.

Qualitative Data Analysis : Interviews were transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis using NVivo software. This process allowed for identifying and analyzing patterns and themes regarding the impact of stress on productivity.

Reliability and Validity

To ensure reliability and validity, standardized measures with good psychometric properties were used. In qualitative data analysis, triangulation was employed by having two researchers independently analyze the data and then compare findings.

Ethical Considerations

All participants provided informed consent prior to their involvement in the study. They were informed about the purpose of the study, their rights as participants, and the confidentiality of their responses.


The main limitation of this study is its reliance on self-report measures, which can be subject to biases such as social desirability bias. Moreover, the sample was drawn from a single city, which may limit the generalizability of the findings.

Where to Write Dissertation Methodology

In a dissertation or thesis, the Methodology section usually follows the Literature Review. This placement allows the Methodology to build upon the theoretical framework and existing research outlined in the Literature Review, and precedes the Results or Findings section. Here’s a basic outline of how most dissertations are structured:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Literature Review (or it may be interspersed throughout the dissertation)
  • Methodology
  • Results/Findings
  • References/Bibliography

In the Methodology chapter, you will discuss the research design, data collection methods, data analysis methods, and any ethical considerations pertaining to your study. This allows your readers to understand how your research was conducted and how you arrived at your results.

Advantages of Dissertation Methodology

The dissertation methodology section plays an important role in a dissertation for several reasons. Here are some of the advantages of having a well-crafted methodology section in your dissertation:

  • Clarifies Your Research Approach : The methodology section explains how you plan to tackle your research question, providing a clear plan for data collection and analysis.
  • Enables Replication : A detailed methodology allows other researchers to replicate your study. Replication is an important aspect of scientific research because it provides validation of the study’s results.
  • Demonstrates Rigor : A well-written methodology shows that you’ve thought critically about your research methods and have chosen the most appropriate ones for your research question. This adds credibility to your study.
  • Enhances Transparency : Detailing your methods allows readers to understand the steps you took in your research. This increases the transparency of your study and allows readers to evaluate potential biases or limitations.
  • Helps in Addressing Research Limitations : In your methodology section, you can acknowledge and explain the limitations of your research. This is important as it shows you understand that no research method is perfect and there are always potential weaknesses.
  • Facilitates Peer Review : A detailed methodology helps peer reviewers assess the soundness of your research design. This is an important part of the publication process if you aim to publish your dissertation in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Establishes the Validity and Reliability : Your methodology section should also include a discussion of the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your measurements, which is crucial for establishing the overall quality of your research.

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Grad Coach

How To Write The Methodology Chapter

The what, why & how explained simply (with examples).

By: Jenna Crossley (PhD) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021 (Updated April 2023)

So, you’ve pinned down your research topic and undertaken a review of the literature – now it’s time to write up the methodology section of your dissertation, thesis or research paper . But what exactly is the methodology chapter all about – and how do you go about writing one? In this post, we’ll unpack the topic, step by step .

Overview: The Methodology Chapter

  • The purpose  of the methodology chapter
  • Why you need to craft this chapter (really) well
  • How to write and structure the chapter
  • Methodology chapter example
  • Essential takeaways

What (exactly) is the methodology chapter?

The methodology chapter is where you outline the philosophical underpinnings of your research and outline the specific methodological choices you’ve made. The point of the methodology chapter is to tell the reader exactly how you designed your study and, just as importantly, why you did it this way.

Importantly, this chapter should comprehensively describe and justify all the methodological choices you made in your study. For example, the approach you took to your research (i.e., qualitative, quantitative or mixed), who  you collected data from (i.e., your sampling strategy), how you collected your data and, of course, how you analysed it. If that sounds a little intimidating, don’t worry – we’ll explain all these methodological choices in this post .

Free Webinar: Research Methodology 101

Why is the methodology chapter important?

The methodology chapter plays two important roles in your dissertation or thesis:

Firstly, it demonstrates your understanding of research theory, which is what earns you marks. A flawed research design or methodology would mean flawed results. So, this chapter is vital as it allows you to show the marker that you know what you’re doing and that your results are credible .

Secondly, the methodology chapter is what helps to make your study replicable. In other words, it allows other researchers to undertake your study using the same methodological approach, and compare their findings to yours. This is very important within academic research, as each study builds on previous studies.

The methodology chapter is also important in that it allows you to identify and discuss any methodological issues or problems you encountered (i.e., research limitations ), and to explain how you mitigated the impacts of these. Every research project has its limitations , so it’s important to acknowledge these openly and highlight your study’s value despite its limitations . Doing so demonstrates your understanding of research design, which will earn you marks. We’ll discuss limitations in a bit more detail later in this post, so stay tuned!

Need a helping hand?

psychology dissertation methods section

How to write up the methodology chapter

First off, it’s worth noting that the exact structure and contents of the methodology chapter will vary depending on the field of research (e.g., humanities, chemistry or engineering) as well as the university . So, be sure to always check the guidelines provided by your institution for clarity and, if possible, review past dissertations from your university. Here we’re going to discuss a generic structure for a methodology chapter typically found in the sciences.

Before you start writing, it’s always a good idea to draw up a rough outline to guide your writing. Don’t just start writing without knowing what you’ll discuss where. If you do, you’ll likely end up with a disjointed, ill-flowing narrative . You’ll then waste a lot of time rewriting in an attempt to try to stitch all the pieces together. Do yourself a favour and start with the end in mind .

Section 1 – Introduction

As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the methodology chapter should have a brief introduction. In this section, you should remind your readers what the focus of your study is, especially the research aims . As we’ve discussed many times on the blog, your methodology needs to align with your research aims, objectives and research questions. Therefore, it’s useful to frontload this component to remind the reader (and yourself!) what you’re trying to achieve.

In this section, you can also briefly mention how you’ll structure the chapter. This will help orient the reader and provide a bit of a roadmap so that they know what to expect. You don’t need a lot of detail here – just a brief outline will do.

The intro provides a roadmap to your methodology chapter

Section 2 – The Methodology

The next section of your chapter is where you’ll present the actual methodology. In this section, you need to detail and justify the key methodological choices you’ve made in a logical, intuitive fashion. Importantly, this is the heart of your methodology chapter, so you need to get specific – don’t hold back on the details here. This is not one of those “less is more” situations.

Let’s take a look at the most common components you’ll likely need to cover. 

Methodological Choice #1 – Research Philosophy

Research philosophy refers to the underlying beliefs (i.e., the worldview) regarding how data about a phenomenon should be gathered , analysed and used . The research philosophy will serve as the core of your study and underpin all of the other research design choices, so it’s critically important that you understand which philosophy you’ll adopt and why you made that choice. If you’re not clear on this, take the time to get clarity before you make any further methodological choices.

While several research philosophies exist, two commonly adopted ones are positivism and interpretivism . These two sit roughly on opposite sides of the research philosophy spectrum.

Positivism states that the researcher can observe reality objectively and that there is only one reality, which exists independently of the observer. As a consequence, it is quite commonly the underlying research philosophy in quantitative studies and is oftentimes the assumed philosophy in the physical sciences.

Contrasted with this, interpretivism , which is often the underlying research philosophy in qualitative studies, assumes that the researcher performs a role in observing the world around them and that reality is unique to each observer . In other words, reality is observed subjectively .

These are just two philosophies (there are many more), but they demonstrate significantly different approaches to research and have a significant impact on all the methodological choices. Therefore, it’s vital that you clearly outline and justify your research philosophy at the beginning of your methodology chapter, as it sets the scene for everything that follows.

The research philosophy is at the core of the methodology chapter

Methodological Choice #2 – Research Type

The next thing you would typically discuss in your methodology section is the research type. The starting point for this is to indicate whether the research you conducted is inductive or deductive .

Inductive research takes a bottom-up approach , where the researcher begins with specific observations or data and then draws general conclusions or theories from those observations. Therefore these studies tend to be exploratory in terms of approach.

Conversely , d eductive research takes a top-down approach , where the researcher starts with a theory or hypothesis and then tests it using specific observations or data. Therefore these studies tend to be confirmatory in approach.

Related to this, you’ll need to indicate whether your study adopts a qualitative, quantitative or mixed  approach. As we’ve mentioned, there’s a strong link between this choice and your research philosophy, so make sure that your choices are tightly aligned . When you write this section up, remember to clearly justify your choices, as they form the foundation of your study.

Methodological Choice #3 – Research Strategy

Next, you’ll need to discuss your research strategy (also referred to as a research design ). This methodological choice refers to the broader strategy in terms of how you’ll conduct your research, based on the aims of your study.

Several research strategies exist, including experimental , case studies , ethnography , grounded theory, action research , and phenomenology . Let’s take a look at two of these, experimental and ethnographic, to see how they contrast.

Experimental research makes use of the scientific method , where one group is the control group (in which no variables are manipulated ) and another is the experimental group (in which a specific variable is manipulated). This type of research is undertaken under strict conditions in a controlled, artificial environment (e.g., a laboratory). By having firm control over the environment, experimental research typically allows the researcher to establish causation between variables. Therefore, it can be a good choice if you have research aims that involve identifying causal relationships.

Ethnographic research , on the other hand, involves observing and capturing the experiences and perceptions of participants in their natural environment (for example, at home or in the office). In other words, in an uncontrolled environment.  Naturally, this means that this research strategy would be far less suitable if your research aims involve identifying causation, but it would be very valuable if you’re looking to explore and examine a group culture, for example.

As you can see, the right research strategy will depend largely on your research aims and research questions – in other words, what you’re trying to figure out. Therefore, as with every other methodological choice, it’s essential to justify why you chose the research strategy you did.

Methodological Choice #4 – Time Horizon

The next thing you’ll need to detail in your methodology chapter is the time horizon. There are two options here: cross-sectional and longitudinal . In other words, whether the data for your study were all collected at one point in time (cross-sectional) or at multiple points in time (longitudinal).

The choice you make here depends again on your research aims, objectives and research questions. If, for example, you aim to assess how a specific group of people’s perspectives regarding a topic change over time , you’d likely adopt a longitudinal time horizon.

Another important factor to consider is simply whether you have the time necessary to adopt a longitudinal approach (which could involve collecting data over multiple months or even years). Oftentimes, the time pressures of your degree program will force your hand into adopting a cross-sectional time horizon, so keep this in mind.

Methodological Choice #5 – Sampling Strategy

Next, you’ll need to discuss your sampling strategy . There are two main categories of sampling, probability and non-probability sampling.

Probability sampling involves a random (and therefore representative) selection of participants from a population, whereas non-probability sampling entails selecting participants in a non-random  (and therefore non-representative) manner. For example, selecting participants based on ease of access (this is called a convenience sample).

The right sampling approach depends largely on what you’re trying to achieve in your study. Specifically, whether you trying to develop findings that are generalisable to a population or not. Practicalities and resource constraints also play a large role here, as it can oftentimes be challenging to gain access to a truly random sample. In the video below, we explore some of the most common sampling strategies.

Methodological Choice #6 – Data Collection Method

Next up, you’ll need to explain how you’ll go about collecting the necessary data for your study. Your data collection method (or methods) will depend on the type of data that you plan to collect – in other words, qualitative or quantitative data.

Typically, quantitative research relies on surveys , data generated by lab equipment, analytics software or existing datasets. Qualitative research, on the other hand, often makes use of collection methods such as interviews , focus groups , participant observations, and ethnography.

So, as you can see, there is a tight link between this section and the design choices you outlined in earlier sections. Strong alignment between these sections, as well as your research aims and questions is therefore very important.

Methodological Choice #7 – Data Analysis Methods/Techniques

The final major methodological choice that you need to address is that of analysis techniques . In other words, how you’ll go about analysing your date once you’ve collected it. Here it’s important to be very specific about your analysis methods and/or techniques – don’t leave any room for interpretation. Also, as with all choices in this chapter, you need to justify each choice you make.

What exactly you discuss here will depend largely on the type of study you’re conducting (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods). For qualitative studies, common analysis methods include content analysis , thematic analysis and discourse analysis . In the video below, we explain each of these in plain language.

For quantitative studies, you’ll almost always make use of descriptive statistics , and in many cases, you’ll also use inferential statistical techniques (e.g., correlation and regression analysis). In the video below, we unpack some of the core concepts involved in descriptive and inferential statistics.

In this section of your methodology chapter, it’s also important to discuss how you prepared your data for analysis, and what software you used (if any). For example, quantitative data will often require some initial preparation such as removing duplicates or incomplete responses . Similarly, qualitative data will often require transcription and perhaps even translation. As always, remember to state both what you did and why you did it.

Section 3 – The Methodological Limitations

With the key methodological choices outlined and justified, the next step is to discuss the limitations of your design. No research methodology is perfect – there will always be trade-offs between the “ideal” methodology and what’s practical and viable, given your constraints. Therefore, this section of your methodology chapter is where you’ll discuss the trade-offs you had to make, and why these were justified given the context.

Methodological limitations can vary greatly from study to study, ranging from common issues such as time and budget constraints to issues of sample or selection bias . For example, you may find that you didn’t manage to draw in enough respondents to achieve the desired sample size (and therefore, statistically significant results), or your sample may be skewed heavily towards a certain demographic, thereby negatively impacting representativeness .

In this section, it’s important to be critical of the shortcomings of your study. There’s no use trying to hide them (your marker will be aware of them regardless). By being critical, you’ll demonstrate to your marker that you have a strong understanding of research theory, so don’t be shy here. At the same time, don’t beat your study to death . State the limitations, why these were justified, how you mitigated their impacts to the best degree possible, and how your study still provides value despite these limitations .

Section 4 – Concluding Summary

Finally, it’s time to wrap up the methodology chapter with a brief concluding summary. In this section, you’ll want to concisely summarise what you’ve presented in the chapter. Here, it can be a good idea to use a figure to summarise the key decisions, especially if your university recommends using a specific model (for example, Saunders’ Research Onion ).

Importantly, this section needs to be brief – a paragraph or two maximum (it’s a summary, after all). Also, make sure that when you write up your concluding summary, you include only what you’ve already discussed in your chapter; don’t add any new information.

Keep it simple

Methodology Chapter Example

In the video below, we walk you through an example of a high-quality research methodology chapter from a dissertation. We also unpack our free methodology chapter template so that you can see how best to structure your chapter.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it – the methodology chapter in a nutshell. As we’ve mentioned, the exact contents and structure of this chapter can vary between universities , so be sure to check in with your institution before you start writing. If possible, try to find dissertations or theses from former students of your specific degree program – this will give you a strong indication of the expectations and norms when it comes to the methodology chapter (and all the other chapters!).

Also, remember the golden rule of the methodology chapter – justify every choice ! Make sure that you clearly explain the “why” for every “what”, and reference credible methodology textbooks or academic sources to back up your justifications.

If you need a helping hand with your research methodology (or any other component of your research), be sure to check out our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through every step of the research journey. Until next time, good luck!

psychology dissertation methods section

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  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 6. The Methodology
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Applying Critical Thinking
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The methods section describes actions taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.

Kallet, Richard H. "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004): 1229-1232.

Importance of a Good Methodology Section

You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons:

  • Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper.
  • Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings.
  • In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique.
  • The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study. For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from.
  • The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings.
  • The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.
  • In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized.

Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects . 5th edition. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, 2014; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Groups of Research Methods

There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences:

  • The e mpirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences . This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation.
  • The i nterpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way . Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes. Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge.

II.  Content

The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study. This is followed by situating the methods you used to gather, analyze, and process information within the overall “tradition” of your field of study and within the particular research design you have chosen to study the problem. If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i.e., your review of the literature demonstrates that the method is not commonly used], provide a justification for how your choice of methods specifically addresses the research problem in ways that have not been utilized in prior studies.

The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following:

  • Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined,
  • Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables,
  • The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and
  • The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should:

  • Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem . Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both (mixed method)? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?
  • Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design . Your methods for gathering data should have a clear connection to your research problem. In other words, make sure that your methods will actually address the problem. One of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is not suitable to achieving the stated objective of your paper.
  • Describe the specific methods of data collection you are going to use , such as, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. If you are analyzing existing data, such as a data set or archival documents, describe how it was originally created or gathered and by whom. Also be sure to explain how older data is still relevant to investigating the current research problem.
  • Explain how you intend to analyze your results . Will you use statistical analysis? Will you use specific theoretical perspectives to help you analyze a text or explain observed behaviors? Describe how you plan to obtain an accurate assessment of relationships, patterns, trends, distributions, and possible contradictions found in the data.
  • Provide background and a rationale for methodologies that are unfamiliar for your readers . Very often in the social sciences, research problems and the methods for investigating them require more explanation/rationale than widely accepted rules governing the natural and physical sciences. Be clear and concise in your explanation.
  • Provide a justification for subject selection and sampling procedure . For instance, if you propose to conduct interviews, how do you intend to select the sample population? If you are analyzing texts, which texts have you chosen, and why? If you are using statistics, why is this set of data being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate to addressing the research problem.
  • Provide a justification for case study selection . A common method of analyzing research problems in the social sciences is to analyze specific cases. These can be a person, place, event, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis that are either examined as a singular topic of in-depth investigation or multiple topics of investigation studied for the purpose of comparing or contrasting findings. In either method, you should explain why a case or cases were chosen and how they specifically relate to the research problem.
  • Describe potential limitations . Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? How will you attempt to control for potential confounding variables and errors? If your methodology may lead to problems you can anticipate, state this openly and show why pursuing this methodology outweighs the risk of these problems cropping up.

NOTE:   Once you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. If necessary, consider using appendices for raw data.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data [e.g., through interviews or observations], the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.

YET ANOTHER NOTE:   If your study involves interviews, observations, or other qualitative techniques involving human subjects , you may be required to obtain approval from the university's Office for the Protection of Research Subjects before beginning your research. This is not a common procedure for most undergraduate level student research assignments. However, i f your professor states you need approval, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the office and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university. This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper.

III.  Problems to Avoid

Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but concise. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted! Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion.

Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures. The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery.

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose.

Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.e., the choice of a survey should include any citations to the works you used to help construct the survey].

It’s More than Sources of Information! A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.

Azevedo, L.F. et al. "How to Write a Scientific Paper: Writing the Methods Section." Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia 17 (2011): 232-238; Blair Lorrie. “Choosing a Methodology.” In Writing a Graduate Thesis or Dissertation , Teaching Writing Series. (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers 2016), pp. 49-72; Butin, Dan W. The Education Dissertation A Guide for Practitioner Scholars . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010; Carter, Susan. Structuring Your Research Thesis . New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; Kallet, Richard H. “How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper.” Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004):1229-1232; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Methods Section. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Rudestam, Kjell Erik and Rae R. Newton. “The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan.” In Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process . (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2015), pp. 87-115; What is Interpretive Research. Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah; Writing the Experimental Report: Methods, Results, and Discussion. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Writing Tip

Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them!

Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression. A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed.

To locate data and statistics, GO HERE .

Another Writing Tip

Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods

There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research. A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world. Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not. However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce.

Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem. This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory.

Reynolds, R. Larry. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics . Part 1, Chapter 3. Boise State University; The Theory-Method Relationship. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom.

Yet Another Writing Tip

Methods and the Methodology

Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology." As Schneider notes, a method refers to the technical steps taken to do research . Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used . This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic.

Bryman, Alan. "Of Methods and Methodology." Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 3 (2008): 159-168; Schneider, Florian. “What's in a Methodology: The Difference between Method, Methodology, and Theory…and How to Get the Balance Right?” Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands.

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What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Published on 25 February 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022.

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analysed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).

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Table of contents

How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, frequently asked questions about methodology.

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Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .

It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.

You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.

Option 1: Start with your “what”

What research problem or question did you investigate?

  • Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
  • Explore an under-researched topic?
  • Establish a causal relationship?

And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?

  • Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
  • Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
  • Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?

Option 2: Start with your “why”

Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?

  • Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ?

Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .

Quantitative methods

In order to be considered generalisable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.

Here, explain how you operationalised your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion/exclusion criteria, as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.

Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.

  • How did you design the questionnaire?
  • What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
  • Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • What was your sample size and response rate?

Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment ?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
  • What tools did you use?

Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced?
  • What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.

The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on 4–8 July 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.

Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

Qualitative methods

In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.

Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)

Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many participants took part?
  • What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
  • How long were the interviews?
  • How were they recorded?

Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .

  • What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
  • How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?

Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.

  • What type of materials did you analyse?
  • How did you select them?

In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness shop’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.

Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.

Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.

Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods here.

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Next, you should indicate how you processed and analysed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.

In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:

  • How you prepared the data before analysing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
  • Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
  • Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).

Specific methods might include:

  • Content analysis : Categorising and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
  • Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context

Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.

Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .

  • Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviours, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
  • Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalised beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
  • Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalisable.

Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.

1. Focus on your objectives and research questions

The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives  and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .

2. Cite relevant sources

Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:

  • Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
  • Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
  • Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature

3. Write for your audience

Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.

Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research. Developing your methodology involves studying the research methods used in your field and the theories or principles that underpin them, in order to choose the approach that best matches your objectives.

Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyse data (e.g. interviews, experiments , surveys , statistical tests ).

In a dissertation or scientific paper, the methodology chapter or methods section comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to test a hypothesis by systematically collecting and analysing data, while qualitative methods allow you to explore ideas and experiences in depth.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research.

For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

Statistical sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. There are various sampling methods you can use to ensure that your sample is representative of the population as a whole.

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Dissertations 4: methodology: methods.

  • Introduction & Philosophy
  • Methodology

Primary & Secondary Sources, Primary & Secondary Data

When describing your research methods, you can start by stating what kind of secondary and, if applicable, primary sources you used in your research. Explain why you chose such sources, how well they served your research, and identify possible issues encountered using these sources.  


There is some confusion on the use of the terms primary and secondary sources, and primary and secondary data. The confusion is also due to disciplinary differences (Lombard 2010). Whilst you are advised to consult the research methods literature in your field, we can generalise as follows:  

Secondary sources 

Secondary sources normally include the literature (books and articles) with the experts' findings, analysis and discussions on a certain topic (Cottrell, 2014, p123). Secondary sources often interpret primary sources.  

Primary sources 

Primary sources are "first-hand" information such as raw data, statistics, interviews, surveys, law statutes and law cases. Even literary texts, pictures and films can be primary sources if they are the object of research (rather than, for example, documentaries reporting on something else, in which case they would be secondary sources). The distinction between primary and secondary sources sometimes lies on the use you make of them (Cottrell, 2014, p123). 

Primary data 

Primary data are data (primary sources) you directly obtained through your empirical work (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 2015, p316). 

Secondary data 

Secondary data are data (primary sources) that were originally collected by someone else (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 2015, p316).   

Comparison between primary and secondary data   

Primary data 

Secondary data 

Data collected directly 

Data collected from previously done research, existing research is summarised and collated to enhance the overall effectiveness of the research. 

Examples: Interviews (face-to-face or telephonic), Online surveys, Focus groups and Observations 

Examples: data available via the internet, non-government and government agencies, public libraries, educational institutions, commercial/business information 


•Data collected is first hand and accurate.  

•Data collected can be controlled. No dilution of data.  

•Research method can be customized to suit personal requirements and needs of the research. 


•Information is readily available 

•Less expensive and less time-consuming 

•Quicker to conduct 


•Can be quite extensive to conduct, requiring a lot of time and resources 

•Sometimes one primary research method is not enough; therefore a mixed method is require, which can be even more time consuming. 


•It is necessary to check the credibility of the data 

•May not be as up to date 

•Success of your research depends on the quality of research previously conducted by others. 


Virtually all research will use secondary sources, at least as background information. 

Often, especially at the postgraduate level, it will also use primary sources - secondary and/or primary data. The engagement with primary sources is generally appreciated, as less reliant on others' interpretations, and closer to 'facts'. 

The use of primary data, as opposed to secondary data, demonstrates the researcher's effort to do empirical work and find evidence to answer her specific research question and fulfill her specific research objectives. Thus, primary data contribute to the originality of the research.    

Ultimately, you should state in this section of the methodology: 

What sources and data you are using and why (how are they going to help you answer the research question and/or test the hypothesis. 

If using primary data, why you employed certain strategies to collect them. 

What the advantages and disadvantages of your strategies to collect the data (also refer to the research in you field and research methods literature). 

Quantitative, Qualitative & Mixed Methods

The methodology chapter should reference your use of quantitative research, qualitative research and/or mixed methods. The following is a description of each along with their advantages and disadvantages. 

Quantitative research 

Quantitative research uses numerical data (quantities) deriving, for example, from experiments, closed questions in surveys, questionnaires, structured interviews or published data sets (Cottrell, 2014, p93). It normally processes and analyses this data using quantitative analysis techniques like tables, graphs and statistics to explore, present and examine relationships and trends within the data (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2015, p496). 



The study can be undertaken on a broader scale, generating large amounts of data that contribute to generalisation of results 

Quantitative methods can be difficult, expensive and time consuming (especially if using primary data, rather than secondary data). 

Suitable when the phenomenon is relatively simple, and can be analysed according to identified variables. 

Not everything can be easily measured. 


Less suitable for complex social phenomena. 


Less suitable for why type questions. 

Qualitative research  

Qualitative research is generally undertaken to study human behaviour and psyche. It uses methods like in-depth case studies, open-ended survey questions, unstructured interviews, focus groups, or unstructured observations (Cottrell, 2014, p93). The nature of the data is subjective, and also the analysis of the researcher involves a degree of subjective interpretation. Subjectivity can be controlled for in the research design, or has to be acknowledged as a feature of the research. Subject-specific books on (qualitative) research methods offer guidance on such research designs.  



Qualitative methods are good for in-depth analysis of individual people, businesses, organisations, events. 

The findings can be accurate about the particular case, but not generally applicable. 

Sample sizes don’t need to be large, so the studies can be cheaper and simpler. 

More prone to subjectivity. 

Mixed methods 

Mixed-method approaches combine both qualitative and quantitative methods, and therefore combine the strengths of both types of research. Mixed methods have gained popularity in recent years.  

When undertaking mixed-methods research you can collect the qualitative and quantitative data either concurrently or sequentially. If sequentially, you can for example, start with a few semi-structured interviews, providing qualitative insights, and then design a questionnaire to obtain quantitative evidence that your qualitative findings can also apply to a wider population (Specht, 2019, p138). 

Ultimately, your methodology chapter should state: 

Whether you used quantitative research, qualitative research or mixed methods. 

Why you chose such methods (and refer to research method sources). 

Why you rejected other methods. 

How well the method served your research. 

The problems or limitations you encountered. 

Doug Specht, Senior Lecturer at the Westminster School of Media and Communication, explains mixed methods research in the following video:

LinkedIn Learning Video on Academic Research Foundations: Quantitative

The video covers the characteristics of quantitative research, and explains how to approach different parts of the research process, such as creating a solid research question and developing a literature review. He goes over the elements of a study, explains how to collect and analyze data, and shows how to present your data in written and numeric form.

psychology dissertation methods section

Link to quantitative research video

Some Types of Methods

There are several methods you can use to get primary data. To reiterate, the choice of the methods should depend on your research question/hypothesis. 

Whatever methods you will use, you will need to consider: 

why did you choose one technique over another? What were the advantages and disadvantages of the technique you chose? 

what was the size of your sample? Who made up your sample? How did you select your sample population? Why did you choose that particular sampling strategy?) 

ethical considerations (see also tab...)  

safety considerations  




procedure of the research (see box procedural method...).  

Check Stella Cottrell's book  Dissertations and Project Reports: A Step by Step Guide  for some succinct yet comprehensive information on most methods (the following account draws mostly on her work). Check a research methods book in your discipline for more specific guidance.  


Experiments are useful to investigate cause and effect, when the variables can be tightly controlled. They can test a theory or hypothesis in controlled conditions. Experiments do not prove or disprove an hypothesis, instead they support or not support an hypothesis. When using the empirical and inductive method it is not possible to achieve conclusive results. The results may only be valid until falsified by other experiments and observations. 

For more information on Scientific Method, click here . 


Observational methods are useful for in-depth analyses of behaviours in people, animals, organisations, events or phenomena. They can test a theory or products in real life or simulated settings. They generally a qualitative research method.  

Questionnaires and surveys 

Questionnaires and surveys are useful to gain opinions, attitudes, preferences, understandings on certain matters. They can provide quantitative data that can be collated systematically; qualitative data, if they include opportunities for open-ended responses; or both qualitative and quantitative elements. 


Interviews are useful to gain rich, qualitative information about individuals' experiences, attitudes or perspectives. With interviews you can follow up immediately on responses for clarification or further details. There are three main types of interviews: structured (following a strict pattern of questions, which expect short answers), semi-structured (following a list of questions, with the opportunity to follow up the answers with improvised questions), and unstructured (following a short list of broad questions, where the respondent can lead more the conversation) (Specht, 2019, p142). 

This short video on qualitative interviews discusses best practices and covers qualitative interview design, preparation and data collection methods. 

Focus groups   

In this case, a group of people (normally, 4-12) is gathered for an interview where the interviewer asks questions to such group of participants. Group interactions and discussions can be highly productive, but the researcher has to beware of the group effect, whereby certain participants and views dominate the interview (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 2015, p419). The researcher can try to minimise this by encouraging involvement of all participants and promoting a multiplicity of views. 

This video focuses on strategies for conducting research using focus groups.  

Check out the guidance on online focus groups by Aliaksandr Herasimenka, which is attached at the bottom of this text box. 

Case study 

Case studies are often a convenient way to narrow the focus of your research by studying how a theory or literature fares with regard to a specific person, group, organisation, event or other type of entity or phenomenon you identify. Case studies can be researched using other methods, including those described in this section. Case studies give in-depth insights on the particular reality that has been examined, but may not be representative of what happens in general, they may not be generalisable, and may not be relevant to other contexts. These limitations have to be acknowledged by the researcher.     

Content analysis 

Content analysis consists in the study of words or images within a text. In its broad definition, texts include books, articles, essays, historical documents, speeches, conversations, advertising, interviews, social media posts, films, theatre, paintings or other visuals. Content analysis can be quantitative (e.g. word frequency) or qualitative (e.g. analysing intention and implications of the communication). It can detect propaganda, identify intentions of writers, and can see differences in types of communication (Specht, 2019, p146). Check this page on collecting, cleaning and visualising Twitter data.

Extra links and resources:  

Research Methods  

A clear and comprehensive overview of research methods by Emerald Publishing. It includes: crowdsourcing as a research tool; mixed methods research; case study; discourse analysis; ground theory; repertory grid; ethnographic method and participant observation; interviews; focus group; action research; analysis of qualitative data; survey design; questionnaires; statistics; experiments; empirical research; literature review; secondary data and archival materials; data collection. 

Doing your dissertation during the COVID-19 pandemic  

Resources providing guidance on doing dissertation research during the pandemic: Online research methods; Secondary data sources; Webinars, conferences and podcasts; 

  • Virtual Focus Groups Guidance on managing virtual focus groups

5 Minute Methods Videos

The following are a series of useful videos that introduce research methods in five minutes. These resources have been produced by lecturers and students with the University of Westminster's School of Media and Communication. 

5 Minute Method logo

Case Study Research

Research Ethics

Quantitative Content Analysis 

Sequential Analysis 

Qualitative Content Analysis 

Thematic Analysis 

Social Media Research 

Mixed Method Research 

Procedural Method

In this part, provide an accurate, detailed account of the methods and procedures that were used in the study or the experiment (if applicable!). 

Include specifics about participants, sample, materials, design and methods. 

If the research involves human subjects, then include a detailed description of who and how many participated along with how the participants were selected.  

Describe all materials used for the study, including equipment, written materials and testing instruments. 

Identify the study's design and any variables or controls employed. 

Write out the steps in the order that they were completed. 

Indicate what participants were asked to do, how measurements were taken and any calculations made to raw data collected. 

Specify statistical techniques applied to the data to reach your conclusions. 

Provide evidence that you incorporated rigor into your research. This is the quality of being thorough and accurate and considers the logic behind your research design. 

Highlight any drawbacks that may have limited your ability to conduct your research thoroughly. 

You have to provide details to allow others to replicate the experiment and/or verify the data, to test the validity of the research. 


Cottrell, S. (2014). Dissertations and project reports: a step by step guide. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lombard, E. (2010). Primary and secondary sources.  The Journal of Academic Librarianship , 36(3), 250-253

Saunders, M.N.K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2015).  Research Methods for Business Students.  New York: Pearson Education. 

Specht, D. (2019).  The Media And Communications Study Skills Student Guide . London: University of Westminster Press.  

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APA Methods Section – How To Write It With Examples

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The APA methods section is a very important part of your academic paper, displaying how you conducted your research by providing a precise description of the methods and procedures you used for the study. This section ensures transparency, allowing other researchers to see exactly how you conducted your experiments. In APA style , the methods section usually includes subsections on participants, materials or measures, and procedures. This article discusses the APA methods section in detail.


  • 1 APA Methods Section – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: APA Methods Section
  • 3 APA Methods Section: Structure
  • 4 APA Methods Section: Participants
  • 5 APA Methods Section: Materials
  • 6 APA Methods Section: Procedure

APA Methods Section – In a Nutshell

  • The APA methods section covers the participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Under the ‘Participants’ heading of the APA methods section, you should state the relevant demographic characteristics of your participants.
  • Accurately reporting the facts of the study can help other researchers determine how much the results can be generalized.

Definition: APA Methods Section

The APA methods section describes the procedures you used to carry out your research and explains why particular processes were selected. It allows other researchers to replicate the study and make their own conclusions on the validity of the experiment.

APA Methods Section: Structure

  • The main heading of the APA methods section should be written in bold and should be capitalized. It also has to be centered.
  • All subheadings should be aligned to the left and must be boldfaced. You should select subheadings that are suitable for your essay, and the most commonly used include ‘Participants’, ‘Materials’, and ‘Procedure’.

Heading formats:

Participants • Study participants
• Sampling methods
• Sample size
Materials • Measures used in the study
• Quality of the measurements
Procedure • Methods of collecting data
• The research design
• The method of diagnosing and processing data
• Data analysis method

APA format has certain requirements for reporting different research designs. You should go through these guidelines to determine what you should mention for research using longitudinal designs , replication studies, and experimental designs .

APA Methods Section: Participants

Under this subheading, you will have to report on the sample characteristics, the procedures used to collect samples, and the sample size selected.

Subject or Participant Characteristics

In academic studies, ‘participants’ refers to the people who take part in a study. If animals are used instead of human beings, the researcher can use the term ‘subjects’. In this subheading of the APA methods section, you have to describe the demographic characteristics of the participants, including their age, sex, race, ethnic group, education level, and gender identity. Depending on the nature of the study, other characteristics may be important. Some of these include:

  • Education levels
  • Language preference
  • Immigration status

By describing the characteristics of the participants, readers will be able to determine how much the results can be generalized. Make sure you use bias-free language when writing this part of the APA methods section.

The study included 100 homosexual men and 100 homosexual women aged between 30 and 50 years from the city of London, UK.

Sampling Procedures

When selecting participants for your study, you will have to use certain sampling procedures. If the study could access all members of the population, you can say that you used random sampling methods. This section of the APA methods section should cover the percentage of respondents who participated in the research, and how they were chosen. You also need to state how participants were compensated and the ethical standard followed.

  • Transgender male students from London were invited to participate in a study.
  • Invites were sent to the students via email, social media posts, and posters in the schools.
  • Each participant received $10 for the time spent in the study.
  • The research obtained ethical approval before the participants were recruited.

Sample Size and Statistical Power

In this part of the APA methods section, you should give details on the sample size and statistical power you aimed at achieving. You should mention whether the final sample was the same as the intended sample. This section should show whether your research had enough statistical power to find any effects.

  • The study aimed at a statistical power of 75% to detect an effect of 10% with an alpha of .05.
  • 200 participants were required, and the study fulfilled these conditions.

APA Methods Section: Materials

Readers also need to know the materials you used for the study. This part of the APA methods section will give other researchers a good picture of the methods used to conduct the study.

Primary and secondary measures

Here, you should indicate the instruments used in the study, as well as the constructs they were meant to measure. Some of these are inventories, scales, tests, software, and hardware. Make sure you cover the following aspects:

  • Reliability
  • The Traumatic Stress Schedule (TSS) was used to measure the exposure to traumatic events.
  • This 10-item chart requires participants to report lifelong exposure to traumatic stress.
  • For example, they could indicate whether they suffered the traumatic death of a loved one.
  • The Davidson Trauma Scale was also used to assess the symptoms of trauma.

Under this subheading of the APA methods section, you should also mention covariates or additional variables that can explain the outcomes.

Quality of measurements

You can mention the strategies you applied to ensure data integrity and reliability. These may include:

  • Training the interviewers
  • Establishing clear data nominalization procedures
  • Rigorous data handling and analysis processes
  • Having multiple people assess the data

If the data was subjectively coded, you should indicate the interrater reliability scores in the APA methods section.

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APA Methods Section: Procedure

This part of the APA methods section indicates the methods you used to carry out the research, process the data, and analyze the results.

Research Design and Data Collection Methods

Data collection is the systematic gathering of observations and measurements, and you have to describe all procedures used in this process. You can use supplementary materials to describe long and complicated data collection methods.

When reporting the research design, you should mention the framework of the study. This could be experimental, longitudinal, correlational, or descriptive. Additionally, you should mention whether you used a between-subjects design or within-subjects design .

In this part of the APA methods section, you should also mention whether any masking methods were used to hide condition assignments from the participants.

  • Participants are told the research takes an hour covers their personal experiences in school.
  • They were assured that the reports would be confidential and were asked to give consent.
  • The participants were asked to fill in questionnaires .
  • The control group was given an unrelated filler task, after which they filled a questionnaire.
  • It was determined the experiences of homosexual and CIS-gendered students varied.

Data diagnostics

This part of the APA method section outlines the steps taken to process the data. It includes:

  • Methods of identifying and controlling outliers
  • Data transformation procedures
  • Methods of compensating for missing values

Analytic strategies

This subheading of the APA methods section describes the analytic strategies used, but you shouldn’t mention the outcomes. The primary and secondary hypotheses use past studies or theoretical frameworks , while exploratory hypotheses focus on the data in the study.

We started by assessing the demographic differences between the two groups. We also performed an independent samples t-test on the test scores .

What are the parts of an APA methods section?

In this section, you should include the study participants, the methods used, and the procedures.

What is included in the APA methods section?

The methods section covers the participants or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures, the sample size, the measures used, the data collection methods, the research design, the data analysis strategy, and the data processing method.

Should I use the Oxford comma when writing the APA methods section?

Yes, the serial comma is required when writing the APA methods section.

Should I use the first person to write the APA methods section?

Yes, the APA language guidelines encourage researchers to use first-person pronouns when writing the methods section.

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Durham University

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: psychology, psyc3102: psychology dissertation.

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to C800


  • PSYC2091 Research Methods in Psychology


Excluded combination of modules.

  • To provide students with the experience of identifying an issue in psychology that is amenable to empirical investigation, formulating the research question, employing appropriate methods of investigation and analysis, and interpreting the results in light of relevant empirical work and psychological theory
  • The dissertation forms the main practical component of the final year course
  • Students are expected to build on the skills acquired during the earlier part of the course to carry out an investigation in psychology
  • Students will normally work in pairs supervised by a member of staff
  • It is anticipated that most dissertations will take the form of an empirical investigation, though it is possible for students to pursue relevant non-experimental dissertations (e.g. connectionist modelling projects or novel theoretical work) with the special permission of the Board of Studies
  • Clear presentation of results and appropriate analyses are very important, and critical evaluation relating findings to existing literature must be included
  • The dissertation is written up as a scientific report approximating the form and standard found in psychology journals
  • Students normally collect data working in their pairs, but must write up the dissertation individually

Learning Outcomes

  • Detailed knowledge of specialist areas in psychology including current theory, evidence, and research methods
  • Identify a psychological issue amenable to empirical investigation, and formulate a clear research question
  • Competence in the selection and application of appropriate analytic procedures, and understanding of their limitations
  • Ability to reflect critically on the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen design and the validity of the conclusions reached
  • Ability to apply academic and professional codes of conduct in the design and conduct of original psychological research
  • Good written communication skills
  • Good IT skills in word processing, data manipulation and data presentation
  • Ability to work independently in scholarship and research within broad guidelines

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students complete their dissertation work under the supervision of an experienced researcher, and typically work in a group of two. This approach enables students to formulate, design, and conduct an independent piece of research with appropriate supervision and guidance. Independent study is required at all stages of the dissertation
  • The design of the project is discussed in detail with the supervisor in one or more sessions and, during the running of the project, the supervisor is regularly informed by students of progress, by discussion or by email. Supervisory meetings provide advanced research training and the opportunity to engage in discussion which encourages students to think critically
  • The formative assignment involves students producing, and then get feedback on, a a small group presentation. This provides them with the opportunity to enhance the clarity of their scientific communication with regards to their research question and also improve their IT skills. In addition, to ensure the progress of the project and dissertation students must complete and submit a dissertation proforma.
  • The written dissertation report allows students to demonstrate their evaluative, analytical and research skills in a single comprehensive piece of work
  • Supervisors provide formative feedback on a draft of the dissertation (excluding the discussion section) submitted prior to the final deadline to help refine the report and extend students' analytical abilities and theoretical understanding

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 13
Supervisory Meetings 10
Fieldwork 50
Preparation and Reading 338
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 7000 words max 100%

Formative Assessment:

A short presentation which explains the specific hypotheses being tested, outlines the methodology and provides a timetable for the study together with an individually completed dissertation proforma. Students also have the opportunity to gain feedback on a single draft of the introduction, methods and results section of their dissertation.

■ Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University


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Writing your dissertation - structure and sections

Posted in: dissertations

psychology dissertation methods section

In this post, we look at the structural elements of a typical dissertation. Your department may wish you to include additional sections but the following covers all core elements you will need to work on when designing and developing your final assignment.

The table below illustrates a classic dissertation layout with approximate lengths for each section.

psychology dissertation methods section

Hopkins, D. and Reid, T., 2018.  The Academic Skills Handbook: Your Guid e to Success in Writing, Thinking and Communicating at University . Sage.

Your title should be clear, succinct and tell the reader exactly what your dissertation is about. If it is too vague or confusing, then it is likely your dissertation will be too vague and confusing. It is important therefore to spend time on this to ensure you get it right, and be ready to adapt to fit any changes of direction in your research or focus.

In the following examples, across a variety of subjects, you can see how the students have clearly identified the focus of their dissertation, and in some cases target a problem that they will address:

An econometric analysis of the demand for road transport within the united Kingdom from  1965 to 2000

To what extent does payment card fraud affect UK bank profitability and bank stakeholders?  Does this justify fraud prevention?

A meta-analysis of implant materials for intervertebral disc replacement and regeneration.

The role of ethnic institutions in social development; the case of Mombasa, Kenya.

Why haven’t biomass crops been adopted more widely as a source of renewable energy in the United Kingdom?

Mapping the criminal mind: Profiling and its limitation.

The Relative Effectiveness of Interferon Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C

Under what conditions did the European Union exhibit leadership in international climate change negotiations from 1992-1997, 1997-2005 and 2005-Copenhagen respectively?

The first thing your reader will read (after the title) is your abstract. However, you need to write this last. Your abstract is a summary of the whole project, and will include aims and objectives, methods, results and conclusions. You cannot write this until you have completed your write-up.


Your introduction should include the same elements found in most academic essay or report assignments, with the possible inclusion of research questions. The aim of the introduction is to set the scene, contextualise your research, introduce your focus topic and research questions, and tell the reader what you will be covering.  It should move from the general  and work towards the specific. You should include the following:

  • Attention-grabbing statement (a controversy, a topical issue, a contentious view, a recent problem etc)
  • Background and context
  • Introduce the topic, key theories, concepts, terms of reference, practices, (advocates and critic)
  • Introduce the problem and focus of your research
  • Set out your research question(s) (this could be set out in a separate section)
  • Your approach to answering your research questions.

Literature review

Your literature review is the section of your report where you show what is already known about the area under investigation and demonstrate the need for your particular study. This is a significant section in your dissertation (30%) and you should allow plenty of time to carry out a thorough exploration of your focus topic and use it to help you identify a specific problem and formulate your research questions.

You should approach the literature review with the critical analysis dial turned up to full volume. This is not simply a description, list, or summary  of everything you have read. Instead, it is a synthesis of your reading, and should include analysis and evaluation of readings, evidence, studies and data, cases, real world applications and views/opinions expressed.  Your supervisor is looking for this detailed critical approach in your literature review, where you unpack sources, identify strengths and weaknesses and find gaps in the research.

In other words, your literature review is your opportunity to show the reader why your paper is important and your research is significant, as it addresses the gap or on-going issue you have uncovered.

You need to tell the reader what was done. This means describing the research methods and explaining your choice. This will include information on the following:

  • Are your methods qualitative or quantitative... or both? And if so, why?
  • Who (if any) are the participants?
  • Are you analysing any documents, systems, organisations? If so what are they and why are you analysing them?
  • What did you do first, second, etc?
  • What ethical considerations are there?

It is a common style convention to write what was done rather than what you did, and write it so that someone else would be able to replicate your study.

Here you describe what you have found out. You need to identify the most significant patterns in your data, and use tables and figures to support your description. Your tables and figures are a visual representation of your findings, but remember to describe what they show in your writing. There should be no critical analysis in this part (unless you have combined results and discussion sections).

Here you show the significance of your results or findings. You critically analyse what they mean, and what the implications may be. Talk about any limitations to your study, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your own research, and make suggestions for further studies to build on your findings. In this section, your supervisor will expect you to dig deep into your findings and critically evaluate what they mean in relation to previous studies, theories, views and opinions.

This is a summary of your project, reminding the reader of the background to your study, your objectives, and showing how you met them. Do not include any new information that you have not discussed before.

This is the list of all the sources you have cited in your dissertation. Ensure you are consistent and follow the conventions for the particular referencing system you are using. (Note: you shouldn't include books you've read but do not appear in your dissertation).

Include any extra information that your reader may like to read. It should not be essential for your reader to read them in order to understand your dissertation. Your appendices should be labelled (e.g. Appendix A, Appendix B, etc). Examples of material for the appendices include detailed data tables (summarised in your results section), the complete version of a document you have used an extract from, etc.

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Writing your third year psychology dissertation in the UK: A practical guide

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Ultra-processed foods: a narrative review of the impact on the human gut microbiome and variations in classification methods.

psychology dissertation methods section

1. Introduction

2.1. upfs and the gut microbiome, 2.2. upf classification methods, 3. upfs and the gut microbiome, 3.1. analysis of the gut microbiome in studies with a focus on upf classification.

ReferencesGut Microbiome Collection Method and Frequency Alpha DiversityBeta DiversityMicrobiome Sequencing Analysis:
Bacterial Composition Changes in Relation to UPFs
Composition Changes Related to Specific UPFs
Increase ↑Decrease ↓
Atzeni, 2022 [ ]One stool sample collected by volunteers at home and frozenMETHODSChao1, Shannon, and Simpson indices analyzed with one-way ANOVA.Euclidean distance analyzed by PERMANOVA.16S rRNA analysis of the V4 variable region using NovaseqNo significant differences between bacterial taxa and UPF item categories.
RESULTSNo significant differences.No significant differences.Positive association between Alloprevotella spp. (p = 0.041) and Sutterella spp. (p = 0.116) vs. tertile 2.

Positive association between Alloprevotella spp. (p = 0.065), Negativibacillus spp. (p = 0.096), and Prevotella spp. (p = 0.116) vs. tertile 3.
Cuevas-Sierra, 2021 [ ]One fecal sample self-collected by volunteer using OMNIgene. GUT kits from DNA Genotek (Ottawa, ON, Canada)METHODSChao1 and Shannon indices analyzed using a paired non-parametric test.Bray–Curtis index analyzed using PERMANOVA test.16S rRNA analysis of the V3–V4 variable regions using MiSeqWomen: dairy and pizza positively correlated with Actinobacteria (p < 0.05), and pizza positively correlated with Bifidobacterium spp. (p < 0.05)

Men: meat positively correlated with Bacteroidetes (p < 0.05)
RESULTSMen consuming >5 servings/day of UPFs showed lower richness compared to men consuming <3 servings/day (observed p = 0.03, Shannon p = 0.01, Chao1 p = 0.04), yet no differences in women or whole population.No significant differences.Whole population:
Gemmiger spp. (p < 0.001),
Granulicatella spp. (p < 0.001),
Parabacteroides spp. (p < 0.001),
Shigella spp. (p < 0.001),
Bifidobacterium spp. (p < 0.001),
Anaerofilum spp. (p = 0.001),
Cc_115 spp. (p = 0.007),
Oxalobacter spp. (p = 0.008),
Collinsella spp. (p = 0.008)

Acidaminococcus spp. (p < 0.001),
Butyrivibrio spp. (p < 0.001),
Gemmiger spp. (p < 0.001),
Shigella spp. (p < 0.001),
Anaerofilum spp. (p = 0.001),
Parabacteroides spp. (p = 0.002),
Bifidobacterium spp. (p = 0.006)

Granullicatella spp. (p < 0.001),
Blautia spp. (p = 0.002)
Whole population:
Lachnospira spp. (p = 0.003),
Roseburia spp. (p = 0.003)

Melainabacter spp. (p = 0.002),
Lachnospira spp. (p = 0.003)

Anaerostipes spp. (p < 0.001)
Fernandes, 2023
[ ]
One fecal sample collected at home; one aliquot was stored in a tube containing 3.5 mL of guanidine for genomic DNA conservationMETHODSChao1, Shannon, Simpson, and Observed Species indices analyzed using Pearson’s correlation coefficients.N/A16S rRNA analysis of the V2–V4 + V6–V9 (excluding V1 and V5) variable regions using Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine™N/A
RESULTSNo associations between food processing level and alpha diversity.N/AClostridium butyricum,
Odoribacter splanchnicus,
Barnesiella intestinihominis
Alistipes onderdonkii,
Alistipes indistinctus,
Ruminococcus sp.,
[Ruminococcus] gnavus,
Bacteroides vulgatus,
Bacteroides plebeius
García-Vega, 2020 [ ]One fecal sample self-collected by volunteer at home, refrigerated, and brought to the lab within 12 hMETHODSEstimates calculated with BiodiversityR 2.11. Shannon and Shannon evenness (Jevenness) indices calculated using Vegan 2.5 and tested with ANOVA.Estimates calculated with GUniFrac 1.1 and tree-based UniFrac distances tested with PERMANOVA.16S rRNA analysis of the V4 variable region using MiSeqOTUs from Oscillospira sp., unclassified Ruminococcaceae, Ruminococcus sp., Lachnospira sp. positively associated with intake of plant-derived food groups, rich in dietary fiber; Bifidobacterium adolescentis associated with plant-derived food groups; bile-tolerant Bilophila sp., Prevotella copri, and the opportunistic pathogen Prevotella melaninogenica were associated with increased intake of animal-derived foods
RESULTSHigher in females than males (Shannon, p = 0.046), higher in middle-aged than younger individuals (Shannon, p = 0.012). No significant association between diet quality (including UPF intake) and alpha diversity.Differences according to participants’ city of origin (p = 0.001), sex (p = 0.001), socioeconomic level (p = 0.024) and BMI (p = 0.002). No significant association between diet quality (including UPF intake) and beta diversity.Bifidobacterium adolescentis,
Prevotella melaninogenica,
Subdoligranulum variabile,
Veillonella dispar,
Ruminococcus sp.,
Bilophila sp.,
Oscillospira spp.
Prevotella copri,
Clostridium hathewayi,
Ruminococcaceae unclassified sp.,
Gemella sp.,
Lachnospira sp.,
Oscillospira spp.

3.2. Plant-Based Diets: Health Conseqences and Effects on the Gut Microbiome

3.3. fast-food meals: effects on gut microbiota and metabolites, 3.4. upf meals/supplements with high nutritional value: effect on the gut microbiota and metabolites, 3.5. food additives, 4. methods for classifying upfs, 4.1. randomized controlled trials, 4.1.1. rcts that provided all food.

  • Hall et al. included parmesan cheese (Roseli, Rosemont, IL, USA), American cheese (Glenview Farms, Rosemont, IL, USA), provolone cheese (Roseli, Rosemont, IL, USA), Monterey Jack cheese (Glenview Farms, Rosemont, IL, USA), cream cheese (Philadelphia, Chicago, IL, USA), and shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese (Glenview Farms, Rosemont, IL, USA) on their UPF menu, while no cheese was included on their non-UPF menu [ 62 ].
  • Capra et al. listed parmesan, cheddar, and American cheese as examples on their UPF menu, while parmesan and cheddar cheese were also featured on their non-UPF menu [ 31 ].
  • Rego et al. showed Kraft (Northfield, IL, USA) American Cheese on their sample UPF menu, and Kroger (Cincinnati, OH, USA) natural cheddar cheese on their non-UPF menu [ 64 ].
  • Hall et al. included white bread (Ottenberg, Bethesda, MD, USA), croissants (Chef Pierre, Oatbrook Terrace, IL, USA), English muffins (Sara Lee, Downers Grove, IL, USA), hoagie rolls (Ottenberg, Bethesda, MD, USA), and plain bagels (Lender’s, Horsham, PA, USA) on their UPF menu, while the non-UPF menu featured other types of grains (rice, bulgar, oatmeal, quinoa, farro, etc.) [ 62 ].
  • Capra et al. listed commercial white buns and commercial whole-wheat buns as examples on their UPF menu, while homemade bread was included on their non-UPF menu [ 31 ].
  • Rego et al. showed Wonder bread (Thomasville, GA, USA) as an example on their UPF menu, while homemade bread was part of their non-UPF menu [ 64 ].
  • Hall et al. included blueberry muffins (Otis Spunkmeyer, San Leandro, CA, USA), Fig Newtons (Nabisco, East Hanover, NJ, USA), honey buns (Little Debbie, Collegedale, TN, USA), Graham crackers (Nabisco, East Hanover, NJ, USA), applesauce (Lucky Leaf, Peach Glen, PA, USA), oatmeal raisin cookies (Otis Spunkmeyer, San Leandro, CA, USA), and shortbread cookies (Keebler, Battle Creek, MI, USA) on their UPF menu, while only fresh, frozen (without added sugar), or dried (raisins) fruits were provided in the non-UPF diet [ 62 ].
  • Capra et al. listed Skittles (Mars Wrigley, Chicago, IL, USA) and Chips Ahoy! Cookies (Nabisco, East Hanover, NJ, USA) as snack examples in their UPF diet, and natural fruit licorice candy in their non-UPF diet [ 31 ].
  • Rego et al. also showed Skittles (Mars Wrigley, Chicago, IL, USA) and Chips Ahoy Cookies (Nabisco, East Hanover, NJ, USA), along with Pop Tarts (Kellanova, Battle Creek, MI, USA), Keebler (Battle Creek, MI, USA) Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies, and Welch’s (Concord, MA, USA) Fruit Snacks in their UPF diet, while homemade sugar cookies, homemade banana muffins, and Panda (Vaajakoski, Finland) Natural Raspberry Licorice were included in the non-UPF diet [ 64 ].
  • Hall et al. included potato chips (Lay’s, Plano, TX, USA), baked potato chips (Lay’s, Plano, TX, USA), baked Cheetos (Frito-Lay, Plano, TX, USA), tortilla chips (Tostitos, Dallas, TX, USA), dry roasted peanuts (Planters, Austin, MN, USA), cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers (Keebler, Battle Creek, MI, USA), and Goldfish crackers (Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, CT, USA) in their UPF diet, while savory snacks were replaced with raw nuts (almonds, walnuts) in the non-UPF diet [ 62 ].
  • Capra et al. listed Ritz Crackers (Nabisco, East Hanover, NJ, USA) in their UPF diet, compared to Good Thins rice crackers (Mondelez International, East Hanover, NJ, USA) in their non-UPF diet [ 31 ].
  • Rego et al. showed plain Pringles (Kellanova, Battle Creek, MI, USA) and Ritz Crackers (Nabisco, East Hanover, NJ, USA) in their UPF diet, compared to Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips (Charlotte, NC, USA) and Good Thins rice crackers (Mondelez International, East Hanover, NJ, USA) in the non-UPF diet [ 64 ].
ReferencesFood Collection Method and FrequencyNutritional Program for Data EntryClassification MethodDiscrepancy ResolutionExamples of ‘Difficult’ Food Categorization/UPF Brands Used in Menus/Comments
Capra, 2024 [ ]N/A (Plan to collect three 24 h dietary recalls of habitual diet, then study food will be provided)NDS-R 2022, Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of MinnesotaNutrition label for each food item was used to classify menu foods manually using NOVA. Recipes for non-UPFs were developed to provide alternatives for commercial items like bread. Ingredient and menu examples provided in original article.Not describedUPF breakfast menu contains Eggo waffles vs. non-UPF menu contains homemade waffles

UPF snack menu contains apple slices with peanut butter vs. non-UPF menu contains natural fruit licorice candy

Most common food additives (eaten ≥ 10 times per week) in the UPF menus: high-fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, citric acid, sodium citrate, annatto color, artificial flavors, sorbic acid
Fagherazzi, 2021 [ ]Two 24 h recalls administered during the third and fifth appointments (6–8 and 12–14 weeks of intervention)Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet validated by Campos et al. [ ]Foods were classified according to NOVA and Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population. When inadequate details provided, foods were categorized based on the typical form in which they are consumed.Not describedProcessed fruit juices and yogurts categorized as UPFs when brands were not provided
Fangupo, 2021 [ ]FFQ completed by parent on at least one of three occasions: 12, 24, and 60 months of ageN/AFoods were classified based on the NOVA system. Product/recipe ingredients taken into consideration. Less straightforward items were disaggregated when able or discussed.Consensus reached by researchers regarding how to disaggregate and categorize unclear foodsCategorized bacon, peanut butter, and cheese as NOVA 3

Categorized bread, commercial hummus, chocolate as NOVA 4

Items requiring disaggregation or discussion: porridge, canned fruits, pasta or tomato sauce, other fresh or canned fish, yogurt, Subway sandwich, kebabs or wraps, sushi, etc.
Gonzalez-Palacios, 2023 [ ]FFQ collected at baseline and 6 and 12 monthsN/ASpecialized working group of experts in nutritional epidemiology and dieticians classified all FFQ items using NOVA. of original article shows classification of the 143 items in FFQ into each NOVA group, 36 of which were classified as UPFs. UPFs were further subdivided into six subgroups.Not describedCoffee classified as NOVA 1, but decaffeinated coffee classified as NOVA 3

Items classified as NOVA 3: bacon or similar, homemade potato chips, homemade pastries, jams, dessert wine

Items classified as NOVA 4: breakfast cereal, pastries or similar, chocolates and chocolate, cocoa powder
Hall, 2019 [ ]Study-designed diets provided for two weeks each (inpatient) without a washout periodProNutra software (version 3.4, Viocare, Inc., Princeton, NJ, USA)Food and beverages categorized according to NOVA. Detailed 7-day rotating menus with food brands provided in supplement.Not describedUPF snack menu contains baked potato chips (Lay’s), dry roasted peanuts (Planters) and applesauce (Lucky Leaf) vs. non-UPF menus contain raisins (Monarch), fresh fruits, and raw nuts (Giant & Diamond)
Konieczna, 2021 [ ]FFQ collected at baseline, 6 and 12 monthsN/ATwo dietitians independently classified all FFQ items using NOVA, then reviewed by nutritional epidemiologists.Discrepancies in categorizations of food and drinks were discussed and consensus reachedThe FFQ does not differentiate between plain, sweetened, or flavored yogurts and whole-grain cereals so they were grouped together as NOVA 1

Fruit juices, milkshakes, meatballs, hamburgers, and pizza, regardless of whether they are artisanal or industrial, were categorized as NOVA 4
O’Connor, 2023 [ ]

Refers to Hall, 2019 [ ]
Study-designed diets provided for two weeks each (inpatient) without a washout periodProNutra software (version 3.4, Viocare, Inc., Princeton, NJ)Food and beverages categorized according to NOVA. Detailed 7-day rotating menus with food brands provided in supplement.Not describedRefer to Hall, 2019 [ ], above
Phillips, 2021 [ ]Smartphone app (myCircadianClock) used to record food and drink, and upload photos of food, drink, and medications dailymyCircadianClock entries categorized using Python scriptsText entries classified by 4 independent reviewers. Food collected in German was classified by one reviewer due to language barriers. Some foods categorized by assumptions on base recipes and ingredients. Foods were assumed homemade unless stated otherwise or when processing was more common. Mixed dishes were classified to the highest NOVA group based on base recipe.

Added new categories for beverages grouped into “Alcohol-containing drinks” (A), “Caffeinated drinks” (C), “Sweet drinks” (S), and “Other drinks” (D). Each drink could be assigned to multiple categories (e.g., soda Coca-Cola was ultra-processed, caffeinated, and sweet, abbreviated NOVA4-CS).
Consensus was reached for entries by at least 3 of 4 reviewersFoods were assumed to be homemade with limited exceptions (i.e., chocolate-containing food and drinks, biscuits, toast and soft bread, croissants, pizza, burgers, plant-based drinks)
Rego, 2023 [ ]Study-designed diets provided (breakfast eaten in lab daily, remaining meals provided in portable cooler)

Habitual diet determined using three 24 h dietary recalls
Open Food Facts app and NDS-R 2022, Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of MinnesotaMenus developed by a research dietician to meet UPF and other nutritional requirements and reviewed by a second dietician.

Habitual diet UPF intake determined manually by trained evaluators using NDS-R output files and recall forms.
Not describedBreakfast cereal in UPF (Lucky Charms cereal) vs. non-UPF (Nature’s Path Organic Fruit Juice Corn Flakes Cereal) diet

Snacks in UPF (Pringles, plain; Keebler Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie) vs. non-UPF (Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips; homemade sugar cookie) diet
Sneed, 2023 [ ]Three 24 h recalls each collected at baseline, 12, 24, and 36 monthsNDS-R, Nutrition Coordinating Center, University of MinnesotaSome foods categorized by one expert coder to start, then six pairs of trained coders using NOVA and a set of decision rules adapted by the study team. Discrepancies resolved by defaulting to the higher processing level. Classification of mixed dishes were based on the processing level of the main ingredient contributing the highest calorie content and/or the methods used to prepare the food such as frying and not disaggregated.Weekly meeting to discuss and resolve questions; study team made final decision to resolve coding discrepanciesFast-food items typically considered minimally processed (e.g., 2% milk, apple slices, white rice, etc.) were further evaluated using ingredient label for industrial processing/food additives

Difficulty distinguishing processed fruits (e.g., canned with added sugar) vs. ultra-processed fruits (e.g., canned with high-fructose corn syrup or sweeteners)

Breads were generally classified as “industrial” and labeled as UPF unless explicitly noted as homemade or artisanal

4.1.2. RCTs Using FFQ, Recalls, or Records

4.2. observational studies.

  • Bonaccio et al. categorized all bread as NOVA 3 [ 81 ].
  • Cordova et al. assumed bakery breads from Italy and the UK to be NOVA 3 and commercial packaged bread to be NOVA 4 [ 76 ].
  • Houshialsadat et al. categorized commercial white bread as NOVA 4, while other breads were NOVA 3 [ 90 ].
  • Kityo et al. categorized most loaf bread (‘ sikppang ’) as NOVA 4 [ 84 ].
  • Lane et al. called some breads NOVA 3 (e.g., focaccia, ciabatta, baguette, corn bread) while others were NOVA 4 (e.g., bagels, breadcrumbs, all light breads with added fiber, vitamins, and minerals) [ 85 ].
  • Park et al. categorized all bread as NOVA 4 [ 91 ].
  • Wolfson et al. called some breads, excluding restaurant breads, NOVA 3 (e.g., sourdough, Italian, naan) [ 80 ].
  • Zancheta Ricardo et al. counted traditional Chilean bread as NOVA 3 and industrially produced and packaged bread as NOVA 4 [ 92 ].
  • Cordova et al. categorized cooked tomato (as an Italian pizza ingredient) as NOVA 1 if it was fresh, but NOVA 4 if on a commercial pizza [ 76 ].
  • Pant et al. counted tomato sauce and tomato paste as NOVA 4 [ 86 ].
  • Samuthpongtorn et al. called tomato sauce without sufficient detail non-ultra-processed in their main analysis [ 87 ].
ReferencesFood Collection Method and FrequencyNutritional Program UsedClassification MethodDiscrepancy ResolutionExamples of ‘Difficult’ Food Categorization
Ashraf, 2024 [ ]24 h dietary recall using
ASA24-Canada-2016, Canadian Nutrient File 2015 and
Food items were classified according to the NOVA system manually using primarily the “Food Description” variable within the ASA24. The “Food Source” variable (e.g., fast food or vending machine) was also used to identify UPFs. In cases of ambiguity, the least processed category was chosen. Zero kcal foods (e.g., water) not classified and excluded from analysis.Not describedCheese was considered NOVA 3, but cheese products categorized as NOVA 4

Mass-produced bacon called NOVA 4
Bonaccio, 2023 [ ]188-item FFQSpecifically designed software linked to Italian Food TablesTwo researchers independently coded each food into one of four categories. Conservative classification was used for challenging items. Only unequivocal foods were classified as NOVA 4 (e.g., margarine, sweet or savory packaged snacks, etc.). Some uncertain foods were classified using the most common brands in the Italian Food composition Database with the Open Food Facts database.Discrepancies in classification were discussed with a third researcher and conservative classification was usedBread was categorized as NOVA 3

Breakfast cereal and biscuits classified using the most consumed brands in the Italian Food composition Database with the Open Food Facts database
Cho, 2024 [ ]103-item FFQN/AThree study researchers classified food items on the FFQ into NOVA categories. The senior author supervised and checked for accuracy. Limited information was available to determine if some items were UPFs, so in this case, they were called non-UPFs and then sensitivity analysis was performed with them as UPFs.Not describedItems called non-UPFs then UPFs in sensitivity analysis: chicken (e.g., drumstick and wing), canned tuna, dumpling, yogurt, coffee, and soy milk

Another sensitivity analysis excluded pizza/hamburgers from the UPF category since they can be made without UPF ingredients
Cordova, 2023 [ ]

Referred to Huybrechts, 2022 [ ]
Country-specific FFQ; combination of FFQ and 7- and 14-day food records were used in Sweden and the UK, respectivelyEPIC databaseGeneric or multi-ingredient foods were decomposed into ingredients. Because data collection started in the 1990s and the food environment has changed over the years, “middle-bound” scenario or the most likely environment was used for food processing.Not describedBread in Italy: lower and middle bound assumed NOVA 3—bakery; upper bound assumed NOVA 4—commercial

Bread in UK: lower bound assumed NOVA 3—bakery; middle and upper bound assumed NOVA 4—commercial

Cooked tomato (as pizza ingredient in Italy): lower and middle bound assumed NOVA 1—fresh; upper bound assumed NOVA 4—commercial pizza
García-Blanco, 2023 [ ]147-item FFQN/ATwo researchers independently coded each food into one of four categories based on the NOVA system.Discrepancies resolved by consensusFoods that were unknown if they are homemade or industrialized (e.g., pizza, popcorn, lasagna) were classified as UPFs because most traditional foods have been replaced by industrial food products in supermarkets
Houshialsadat, 2023 [ ]

Referred to Machado, 2019 [ ]
Two 24 h dietary recalls, second recall was ≥8 days after the firstAustralian Food Composition DatabaseTwo expert evaluators classified foods into one of four categories based on the NOVA system, then a second set of two experts checked classifications. Decisions were made based on lists of ingredients from food packages or company websites. Homemade recipes were disaggregated and classified by underlying ingredients.Discrepancies
were discussed until consensus reached among all researchers
When classification not clear (e.g., cake or cupcake, honey, commercial or homemade), the conservative alternative was chosen (e.g., homemade and disaggregated)

In Australia, many commercially produced breads are processed rather than ultra-processed, so coded two commercial white breads as NOVA 4 and the rest as NOVA 3
Kityo, 2023 [ ]

Referred to methods by Khandpur, 2021 [ ]
106-item FFQN/AA nutritionist classified each FFQ item using the NOVA system with slight modification developed by Khandpul et al., then a registered dietitian validated each classification. Mixed dishes or aggregated foods were disaggregated and weights were applied using Korean food recipe information.When a consensus was not reached, the nutritionist visited stores and websites to verify food labeling information and manufacturing processes and/or referred to previous publicationsMost loaf bread (‘sikppang’), toast bread, and buns consumed in Korea are mass-produced, packaged, contain additives, and are commonly sold in convenience stores/marts, so categorized as NOVA 4

The major brand of yogurt consumed in Korea is ‘Yoplait’, which is sweetened, flavored, colored, and has artificial additives according to the labeling information, so categorized as NOVA 4

Dumplings, black bean and spicy seafood noodles were disaggregated into basic ingredients and called NOVA 1 or 3
Kong, 2024 [ ]Two 24 h dietary recallsFNDDS and NNDSRNHANES food codes were obtained which categorized foods according to NOVA. Homemade dishes with unknown ingredients were classified according to their expected components. Foods lacking sufficient information to determine the degree of processing was usually solved by selecting a lower degree of processing.Not described“Yogurt, NFS” was classified as NOVA 1

“Restaurant, Chinese, Sesame Chicken” was coded as “Orange chicken” and classified as “meat” and NOVA 1
Lane, 2023 [ ]

Referred to methods by Machado, 2019 [ ]
121-item FFQNutrient Data Table for Use in Australia 1995Two authors with Australian food and dietary intake knowledge classified all FFQ food items into NOVA categories. For items that could not be discriminated (e.g., ‘bread’, ‘pasta or noodles’, ‘low fat cheese’, ‘yoghurt’, ‘fruit juice’), the authors referred to the National Nutrition Survey 1995-96 and NNPAS 2011-12 for comparison and decision making. When lacking details, foods were disaggregated and the conservative alternative was chosen (i.e., homemade or processed vs. UPF).Not describedWhen classification not clear (e.g., cake or cupcake, honey, commercial or homemade), the conservative alternative was chosen (e.g., homemade and disaggregated)

NOVA 3 breads: focaccia, ciabatta,
baguette, pane di casa, sour dough, flats (naan, paratha, chapatti, roti, injera, and pita), pumpkin bread, corn bread and tortillas

NOVA 4 breads: bagel, breadcrumbs, hot dog breads, fast-food breads, pizza bases, all light breads and with addition of fiber, vitamins, and minerals
Morales-Bernstein, 2024 [ ]Country-specific FFQ; combination of FFQ and 7- and 14-day food records were used in Sweden and the UK, respectivelyN/AFood items were categorized using the NOVA system. Food preparations using traditional methods (e.g., homemade) were disaggregated using standardized recipes.Not describedPreserved vegetables, legumes and fruits categorized as NOVA 3

Potato products, vegetable spreads and fizzy drinks were categorized as NOVA 4
Pant, 2023 [ ]

Referred to Machado, 2019 [ ] and Lane, 2023 [ ]
101-item FFQN/AFood items from the FFQ were classified into one of the four NOVA groups and cross-checked between two independent reviewers. If classification was unclear, the NNPAS 2011-12 was consulted or lesser degree of processing was selected.Discrepancies were resolved by group consensusPizza and peanut butter were classified as NOVA 1

Tomato sauce and tomato paste were classified as NOVA 4
Park, 2024 [ ]One 24 h dietary recallStandard Food Composition Table by the National Institute of Agricultural SciencesTwo researchers classified each food item using the NOVA system. Product names, manufacturer, and nutritional information used to classify food as accurately as possible.Items with discrepancies were discussed and resolved by consensusMost or all fruit jams and canned fruits categorized as NOVA 3

Most or all bread and bakery products categorized as NOVA 4
Price, 2024 [ ]Two 24 h dietary recallsNHANES Nova 2015–18 database

Food coded for NHANES using FNDDS and NNDSR
Food classifications made using underlying ingredients. Foods were categorized using NOVA as UPFs in three ways: (1) using original NOVA methods, (2) excluding ≥25% whole grains from UPFs, and (3) excluding ≥50% whole grains from UPFs.Not describedCommercial whole-grain bread and ready-to-eat cereals categorized as NOVA 4 reanalyzed as non-UPFs
Samuthpongtorn, 2023 [ ]

Referred to Hang, 2023 [ ]
One FFQ every 4 years between 2003 and 2017N/AThree researchers independently assigned each food item to a NOVA group. Foods lacking consensus were discussed with an expert group and additional resources (research dieticians, cohort-specific documents, and online grocery store scans) were used.Items lacking consensus were discussed with an expert group and additional resources usedFoods lacking sufficient detail (i.e., “popcorn”; “soy milk”; “pancakes or waffles”; “pie, home-baked or ready-made”; “beef, pork, lamb sandwich”; “tomato sauce”) were assigned to a non-UPF group, then later to a UPF group for sensitivity analysis
Sullivan, 2023 [ ]124-item FFQ completed at baseline, year 2, and year 4Diet History Questionnaire nutrient and food group database; Diet*Cal Analysis Program (version 1.4.3, NCI Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program)Two researchers independently categorized all items using the NOVA system. Discordantly assigned items were placed in the less-processed group. Sensitivity analysis performed with items assigned to more-processed group.Not describedTofu and honey were grouped into UPF categories because they could not be disaggregated from mixed foods
Wolfson, 2024 [ ]

Refers to Martinez Steele, 2016 [ ] and 2023 [ ]
Two 24 h dietary recalls, 3‒10 days apart on different days of the weekFood coded using FNDDS and NNDSRFood items were classified according to the NOVA system using a unique 8-digit food code. Foods likely to be homemade or artisanal were linked to scratch ingredients while foods likely purchased ready-to-eat were not disaggregated.Not describedSeveral uncertain breads, such as sourdough, Italian, and naan, excluding from fast-food restaurants, categorized as NOVA 3

Some uncertain breakfast cereals such as corn flakes, frosted corn flakes, puffed rice, and raisin bran categorized as NOVA 3

Some uncertain salty snacks such as chips, crackers, and popcorn categorized as NOVA 3
Zancheta Ricardo, 2023 [ ]24 h dietary recallSER-24 (CIAPEC)Three different methods used to identify UPFs based on the NOVA system: (1) using the usual NOVA categories, (2) if they contained at least one ingredient not commonly used in home cooking, and/or (3) cosmetic additives. Food was classified by one dietitian and reviewed by a second dietitian. A third person classified a small random subset of records to verify. Homemade recipes were disaggregated into their components and classified.Disagreements were discussed and resolved by consensusUnbranded traditional Chilean bread assigned NOVA 3, while industrially produced, packaged, and branded bread assigned to NOVA 4

5. Future Directions

5.1. future directions for food classification, 5.2. future directions for determining upfs’ impact on gut microbiome and other health outcomes, 6. conclusions, supplementary materials, author contributions, acknowledgments, conflicts of interest.

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Brichacek, A.L.; Florkowski, M.; Abiona, E.; Frank, K.M. Ultra-Processed Foods: A Narrative Review of the Impact on the Human Gut Microbiome and Variations in Classification Methods. Nutrients 2024 , 16 , 1738.

Brichacek AL, Florkowski M, Abiona E, Frank KM. Ultra-Processed Foods: A Narrative Review of the Impact on the Human Gut Microbiome and Variations in Classification Methods. Nutrients . 2024; 16(11):1738.

Brichacek, Allison L., Melanie Florkowski, Esther Abiona, and Karen M. Frank. 2024. "Ultra-Processed Foods: A Narrative Review of the Impact on the Human Gut Microbiome and Variations in Classification Methods" Nutrients 16, no. 11: 1738.

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  1. Methods Section Essay

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    psychology dissertation methods section

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    psychology dissertation methods section

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    psychology dissertation methods section

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    psychology dissertation methods section

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    psychology dissertation methods section


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  1. How to Write an APA Methods Section

    The main heading of "Methods" should be centered, boldfaced, and capitalized. Subheadings within this section are left-aligned, boldfaced, and in title case. You can also add lower level headings within these subsections, as long as they follow APA heading styles. To structure your methods section, you can use the subheadings of ...

  2. How to Write a Methods Section for a Psychology Paper

    To write your methods section in APA format, describe your participants, materials, study design, and procedures. Keep this section succinct, and always write in the past tense. The main heading of this section should be labeled "Method" and it should be centered, bolded, and capitalized. Each subheading within this section should be bolded ...

  3. PDF The Method Section page 1

    The Method Section page 1 Method Section The Method section comes after the title page, abstract, and introduction, but we discuss it before all of those because it is the only section you have enough information to write about before you collect your data. The Method section is the section in which you describe the details of how your study was

  4. PDF The Professional School of Psychology Dissertation Manual

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    In any research, the methodology chapter is one of the key components of your dissertation. It provides a detailed description of the methods you used to conduct your research and helps readers understand how you obtained your data and how you plan to analyze it. This section is crucial for replicating the study and validating its results.

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    Do yourself a favour and start with the end in mind. Section 1 - Introduction. As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the methodology chapter should have a brief introduction. In this section, you should remind your readers what the focus of your study is, especially the research aims. As we've discussed many times on the blog ...

  7. PDF The Professional School of Psychology Dissertation Manual

    The bulk of your literature review should provide a context for your research questions and hypotheses. The literature review section is devoted to a review and critical analysis of the relevant theoretical and research literature. Its purpose is to integrate your dissertation topic with a broader framework of research or theory.

  8. 6. The Methodology

    "How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004):1229-1232; Lunenburg, Frederick C. Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Tips and Strategies for Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. Methods Section. The Writer's Handbook. Writing Center.

  9. PDF The Method Chapter

    The Method Chapter Describing Your Research Plan T he Method chapter of a dissertation, article, or proposal describes the exact steps that will be undertaken to address your hypotheses or research questions. For this reason, the Method section follows logically from the statement of the problem in much the same way as research

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    Part VII. Designs in Neuropsychology and Biological Psychology. Section 1. Neuropsychology Chapter 35. Case Studies in Neuropsychology Randi C. Martin, Simon Fischer-Baum, and Corinne M. Pettigrew; Chapter 36. Group Studies in Experimental Neuropsychology Avinash R Vaidya, Maia Pujara, and Lesley K. Fellows; Section 2. Genetic Methods in Psychology

  11. Detailing what you did: The method section.

    This chapter describes the method section of the article where the sample, measures, and research design are detailed. The method section of one's article is the place where one describes how they carried out their study. Cast broadly, these are the most important questions to answer as one writes their method section: What information will readers need to evaluate the validity of one's study ...

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    Revised on 10 October 2022. Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

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    Mixed-method approaches combine both qualitative and quantitative methods, and therefore combine the strengths of both types of research. Mixed methods have gained popularity in recent years. When undertaking mixed-methods research you can collect the qualitative and quantitative data either concurrently or sequentially.

  16. APA Methods Section ~ How To Write It With Examples

    The main heading of the APA methods section should be written in bold and should be capitalized. It also has to be centered. All subheadings should be aligned to the left and must be boldfaced. You should select subheadings that are suitable for your essay, and the most commonly used include 'Participants', 'Materials', and 'Procedure'.

  17. Starting the dissertation

    Once you've identified a topic, the next step is to write a review of the literature in the area. The lit review section will include a brief introduction to your topic, introduce key concepts and review the existing literature. But be prepared: The lit review often is the most difficult part of the dissertation, Foster maintains.

  18. PDF How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

    The methods section should describe what was done to answer the research question, describe how it was done, justify the experimental design, and explain how the results were analyzed. Scientific writing is direct and orderly. Therefore, the methods section structure should: describe the materials used in the study, explain how the materials ...


    In this section, we explore some methods for identifying a suitable topic for your project. 3.1.1 Narrowing your focus: What interests you? ... a psychology dissertation, so you will need to look at such phenomena from a psychological perspective and apply psychological theory to help you explain it.

  20. PDF A Sample Qualitative Dissertation Proposal

    word guidelines to highlight the flexibility of this qualitative analytic method. These guidelines. are (1) familiarizing yourself with your data, (2) generating initial codes, (3) The researcher read. throughout each transcript to immerse in the data, (4) reviewing themes, (5) defining and naming.


    A short presentation which explains the specific hypotheses being tested, outlines the methodology and provides a timetable for the study together with an individually completed dissertation proforma. Students also have the opportunity to gain feedback on a single draft of the introduction, methods and results section of their dissertation.

  22. Writing your dissertation

    abstract, appendices, conclusion, discussion, essay title, introduction, literature review, method, references, results, structure. In this post, we look at the structural elements of a typical dissertation. Your department may wish you to include additional sections but the following covers all core elements you will need to work on when ...

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    More than 100 reference examples and their corresponding in-text citations are presented in the seventh edition Publication Manual.Examples of the most common works that writers cite are provided on this page; additional examples are available in the Publication Manual.. To find the reference example you need, first select a category (e.g., periodicals) and then choose the appropriate type of ...

  25. American Psychological Association (APA)

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