Researcher’s Guide on How to Write an APA Methods Section

If you are unfamiliar with the elements and format of a research paper, writing one can seem like a difficult undertaking. The methods section in particular causes a lot of trouble because many students are unaware of the suggested components in this section due to differences in formatting styles. 

To create a seamless experience with your work, this post will cover suggestions on how to write the method section of a research paper. Without further ado, let’s get started on how to write an APA method section. 

What is the method section of a research paper? 

A research paper’s method section is a chapter that details how you conducted your research and the many variables you kept in mind while conducting it. Thus, by enabling other researchers to verify that your results were not tainted to produce favorable results, this study helps assure the reproducibility of your research. 

An APA-style methods section should include information on the participants, study design, materials, procedures, variables, and participant behavior, among other important topics. We will examine each of these components in more detail in the following section to give you a better idea of the material to cover in the methods sections.  

How to write a method section APA

As stated earlier, an APA method section should tackle information on the participants, study design, materials, procedures, variables, and participant behavior. Some of the key details to gather before you write your method section in APA format should be:

  1. Participants

The participants sections should highlight the demographic features of participants, the population from which your participants were selected, and the motivational elements that motivated people to participate in your research.

  1. Materials

The materials section has to list all the instruments and methods used to measure the relevant variables. Here, describe the procedures followed to answer your primary and secondary research questions. 

Highlighting the tools, such as software, hardware, tests, and scales, utilized in your research is crucial in this chapter. Discuss the validity and dependability of each tool you utilized for your research. 

Mention the model number of the hardware used when citing it, as well as the entire name, version number, and URL for the software. In the case of tests, indicate the manuals from which you obtained information on how to perform the tests. 

  1. Design

The design section of the method section is equally significant. This section should outline the variables you looked at in your research and the procedures you followed to assure the accuracy of your conclusions. 

Some of these techniques consist of: 

  • Procedures used to train assistants in the data collection method. 
  • The pilot studies were conducted to gauge the effectiveness of your research.
  1. Procedures

Procedures are the techniques used to gather and analyze your data. You may assess the selection criteria you used, the variable changes in different groups, and the duration of each session. 

This subsection should also include any diagnostic techniques applied to the data gathered for your study. As a result, the efforts taken to extrapolate missing information and remove outliers should be highlighted in the diagnostic measures. 

  1. Participant behavior

This section should focus on how the participants responded to various actions and provide an analysis of how their responses might have affected your research. Be careful not to include any extraneous information in this part that is unrelated to the research questions. 

Format of an APA method section

When styling your method section in the APA format:

  • Format the main headings to be centered, boldfaced, and capitalized.
  • Format subheadings to be left-aligned, boldfaced, and in title case. 
  • Use descriptive language to highlight the specifics of each action that was done during your research.
  • Write your paper in the past tense as it describes steps that have already been conducted.

Final take

We hope that this guide has helped you overcome any challenges you had regarding the APA methods section. If possible, ensure that you read a sample method section APA to better acquaint yourself with the format for writing a method section for an APA research paper.

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