How to Write an APA Methods Section for a Research Paper

The methods section is used in every discipline where the APA style format is used to detail reports. It has to be detailed information that indicates the methods and procedures used in the research. This applies to every research in the social and natural sciences and part of the languages. You are expected to report enough information in the APA method section to understand and replicate the study.

In every research, the methods section is crucial because it allows readers to see precisely how a study was conducted. This article discusses the methods section APA.

What is a methods section?

Another name for the methods section of a research paper is "research design." This is because it's the area within research that contains every relevant detail of the concluded research. It represents the various steps and procedures used to answer the research question.

The experimental procedure conducted during the research process is contained in every methods section. It is usually outlined in a detailed manner so readers can understand and reproduce it if necessary. It is an integral part of every research writing.

What does the method section include?

When writing a method section, it is divided into subsections. The subsections make up the framework of the method section. They are:

  • Participant

This is where the people/animals/ or objects used for the research are outlined. Terms like "participants", "subjects," and "respondents." are used to represent every specific thing on which the experiment was conducted.

In the APA style, you are expected to write with non-bias language while specifying all relevant demographic characteristics of the participants. It might include age, sex, ethnic or racial group, gender identity, and educational level.

  • Apparatus

The research apparatus is the instrument/materials used for the research. APA style requires that you write down all of these tools and equipment. For each instrument used, you're expected to report the reliability and validity of the process.

  • Procedure

This is the step-by-step reporting of the outcome of the experiment. APA style requires that you report all the procedures undertaken. At this stage, you do a data collection where you summarize exactly how data was collected. You also describe the applied procedure and the statistical analysis procedure.

The outlined process is how what to include in methods section of your research.

How to write a methods section for a research paper

When writing the methods section of your research, you must include all three subsections. Outline the various processes in all three as well. Aside from that, other things you must note when writing a methods section are:

  • Write in the past tense

The methods section of your research should always be in the past tense.

  • Be descriptive

Your methods section needs to include in-depth information. Provide enough detail so that other researchers can replicate your experiment. Information provided should be the only ones relevant to the experiment's outcome.

  • Write in the academic tone

This applies to everything within academia. Your writing tone should be formal, and avoid using slang, contracted forms or colloquial expressions. Pay attention to your choice of words. The materials used in your experiment should be referred to as "participants' or "subjects."

  • Use the APA style format

Keep the APA style guide close to you when you are writing. Remember that if the writing guide stipulates APA, you must use APA for reference purposes. Anything outside of this affects your research experiment's outcome.

  • Make sure there's a connection

Each piece of information delivered has to correspond section by section. If you mention procedures in the method section, discuss them in the results and discussions sections.

  • Proofread final draft

Proofreading is essential in any form of writing. Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation and typographical errors that could affect your research's message.


Always use an APA methods section example as a guide when writing an APA methods section. Also, during the experimentation, do not overemphasize the materials used. Ensure to write down the experiments performed to avoid missing relevant details.

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