The methods section describes the steps undertaken to address the research questions. It is important that you describe these steps clearly and accurately to enable others to determine the extent to which your methodology may have affected your results, and to replicate your study if necessary.

In some disciplines, the methods section is fairly brief and simple in structure, consisting of a description of procedures and materials only. This approach is appropriate when the methodology is well established and is not the subject of controversy. On the other hand, if the methodology is new, or if it is a source of debate and intellectual inquiry, the level of detail of the methods section needs to be higher.

A methods section may include an overview of the research design, details of the sample and the sampling technique used, and a description of procedures, materials and statistical tools. Ethical considerations must be included if appropriate.