Writing the Methodology Section - From a Research Project to a Journal Article - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

Writing the Methodology Section
From a Research Project to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types

Ideally, the methodology section provides sufficient information to guide other researchers to replicate the study, assess the outcomes, and compare the findings with other studies. It includes a description of the:

· procedures that were used to address the research questions/hypothesis

· subjects, materials, and assessment measures

· selection of the subjects (including ethical treatment of human subjects)

· collection of the data

· analyses of the data, including the statistical methodology and software package that were used (El-Serag, 2006).

The methodology section assists readers in understanding (a) how and why the experiments were conducted; (b) the relationship between the experiments and the other sections (e.g., results, conclusions); (c) how to successfully replicate the study; and (d) how to validate the results and conclusions based on the strength of the procedures, research design, and statistical analyses. Any procedures and measures that were used and modified based on those found in published studies are also described and justified (Udani et al., 2007). All of these details are written in several subcategories with appropriate subheadings to organize the information. To determine if all critical details are included, consider following a “who/what/when/where/how/why” format (Annesley (2010j) as described in Table 7.2.

Table 7.2

Questions to draft the methodology section


Who recruited the subjects; kept the files; and collected, examined, and analyzed the data?


What criteria were used for selecting the subjects?

What materials, procedures, and measures were used?

What kind of study was it?

What interventions were used?

What variables were measured?

What statistical analyses and software package were used?

What validation and reliability estimates were used?


When was the beginning of the study?

When were the data collected?

When were the data analyzed?

When were the findings determined?

When was the study completed?


Where were the files stored?

Where were the subjects registered?

Where was the study conducted?

Where were the analyses conducted?


How were the subjects recruited and selected?

How was the size of the sample determined?

How were the groups defined and determined?

How were subjects assigned to groups?

How many treatments were conducted?

How were the data collected, recorded, analyzed, and saved?

How were the data measured and reported?


Why were the specified subjects selected?

Why were the procedures selected?

Why was a selected treatment performed?

Why were procedures conducted in a specific sequence?

Adapted from Annesley (2010j)

The methodology section describes the (a) scientific procedures; (b) subjects, measures, materials and equipment; (c) procedures; (e) evidence; and analyses of the data that were used in the study (Maloy, 2001). It is important to include the details for specific experiments. Specifically, it should discuss the sources of evidence and the analyses of the data. In addition, the methodology section should reflect the information that is found in all of the other sections.

Sources of Evidence

The research site, group, subjects, events, data, measures, and units in the study are considered to be sources of evidence, because they were used to address the research questions or hypotheses in relation to the research problem. The characteristics, procedures, selection, and justification for these sources of evidence are described (Saracho, 2013). Data are sources of evidence typically include participant and nonparticipant observations; unstructured or semi-structured interviews; documents and other artifacts; audio- or video-recordings; and standardized measures including surveys, tests, structured interview protocols, and categorical demographic information that were used to gather data across cases or units of research analyses (American Educational Research Association, 2006). Raw data are not reported but are saved and made available to those who request it. Sometimes interested researchers (e.g., journal editors, reviewers, readers) request to examine the raw data (Sharp, 2002).