10 Tips for Writing a Methods Section

Because methods sections generally follow the same format, they can be easier to write than introduction or discussion sections. However, care must be taken to write a clear, concise, and accurate methods section.


  1. While writing your methods section, be sure that your text follows a clear and concise organization with enough details for someone to easily recreate your study.

  2. Keep in mind that reviewers will take a critical look at your methods and so should you prior to submitting your paper for review.

  3. A rationale for the specific approaches used to address your research aims/questions should be addressed in your methods, especially if using a method that is unusual or new in your field.

  4. Describe how the data was collected and generated.

  5. If problems occurred and are relevant to your results and discussion, don’t forget to describe them.

  6. Generally, the methods section should be written in the passive voice, but use of the active voice is acceptable, especially if it helps to clarify.

  7. The methods section should be written in the past tense.

  8. Try writing your methods section using an outline that you create before you begin writing. Using an outline will help you to organize your thoughts in chronological order.

  9. Think carefully about what you say and how you say it to avoid the use of unnecessary words.

  10. Look at examples of methods sections in your target journal so that you follow the correct formatting from the beginning.


I hope these tips help you when writing your methods section. Good luck with publications, and if you need additional organizational, formatting, or editing guidance, feel free to contact me.