Then, you could share more details about your experiment. Match the order in which methods are described to the order of the results that were generated using those methods. Also, be sure that each method you used is described, even if it is just a quick sentence e. This practice is helpful for transparency, as well as reproducibility. Always include citations for procedures that have been described previously.
If you made any modifications, be sure to list them. Describe statistical tests as fully as possible. Give as much information about the tests as possible; just mentioning a t-test is not sufficient for the reader to determine if the correct statistical analysis was performed. Avoid discussing the pros and cons of certain methods or results of any kind. Save evaluations for different methods for the Discussion section of your paper.
To save space, be concise, yet thorough, when listing the equipment you used. The dura was gently removed and the cortical surface was kept continuously moist.
Following each experiment, animals were killed by overdose with sodium pentobarbital. Dye loading and two-photon imaging. The auditory cortex was loaded with Fluo-4 a. F, Invitrogen using multicell bolus loading Fluo-4 a. This is not an evil writing choice! Passive voice is used when the object of an action is the topic of the discourse; that is, when what is being done or done unto is what the paragraph is about. So, after making it clear that human scientists were the ones performing the activities by using the active voice to get the section started, the rest of the paragraph can focus on what was done.
Try turning every sentence into the active voice and see how very strange it sounds! Pechenik, p. A good guideline is to include only what is necessary for one recreating the experiment to know.
Keeping this in mind will lead to a Materials and Methods section that is thoroughly written, but without the kind of unnecessary detail that breaks the flow of the writing. Another common mistake is listing all of the materials needed for the experiment at the beginning of the section.
Instead, the materials and equipment utilized during the experiment should be mentioned throughout the procedure as they are used. Enough detail should be included in the description of the materials so that the experiment can be reproduced.
Finally, it is generally recommended that the Materials and Methods section be written in past tense, in either active or passive voice. Many are written in third-person perspective but check with the professor to be certain what verb tense and perspective the report should use.
This is demonstrated throughout the example of a well written Materials and Methods section. Materials and Methods examples Sample 1: In preparing the catecholase extract, a potato was skinned, washed, and diced.
The resulting solution was filtered through four layers of cheese cloth. The extract was stored in a clean, capped container. Four individually labeled spectrophotometer tubes were prepared using different amounts as represented in Table 1 of the following reagents: a buffer of pH 7, a 0. The wavelength of the Spectronic 20 spectrophotometer was set at nm. To calibrate the specrophotometer at zero absorbance, a blank control tube prepared with no catechol substrate and labeled "tube 1" was inverted and inserted into the spectrophotometer.
It is important to note that the extract to be tested was added to each tube immediately before placing the tube into the spectrophotometer.
One is to get you through graduation — and highlight your successes as a researcher and student. The solution smelled like potato.
Our goal is to ease your burden. You may suggest if additional experiments would greatly improve the quality of the manuscript. To save space, be concise, yet thorough, when listing the equipment you used. The conditions of the controls should be specified. The wavelength of the Spectronic 20 spectrophotometer was set at nm.
It is important to note that the extract to be tested was added to each tube immediately before placing the tube into the spectrophotometer. There are many helpful uses for your research within the field — and as such it is important that you set yourself at a standard that shows how serious you took your project. Credibility and the Materials and Methods Section Your dissertation serves many purposes. You may want to organize the Methods section so that you can use the parallel organization or pretty similar in the Results section.
Tube 2 was removed from the spectrophotometer and the same measurements were taken for tube 3 and tube 4 using the same protocol. Also, distilled water , a blender, cheese cloth, a clean container with a cover, and eight spectrophotometer tubes were used. You can also ask co-authors who performed specific experiments to write the corresponding parts of the Methods section. Keep this in mind while deciding what to include in this section.
Reviewers should look for potential sources of bias in the way the study was designed and carried out, and for places where more explanation is needed. The auditory cortex was loaded with Fluo-4 a. Keeping this in mind will lead to a Materials and Methods section that is thoroughly written, but without the kind of unnecessary detail that breaks the flow of the writing. Or, if you have three different procedures on the same type of group, you'd more logically start with the "group" and proceed to procedure. The resulting solution was filtered through four layers of cheese cloth.
One major concern is deciding upon the correct level of detail. Credible sources and properly documented materials and sources will lend your dissertation much more weight in the field — and the process should be taken seriously. Another common mistake is listing all of the materials needed for the experiment at the beginning of the section.
Although this strategy is only a recommendation, and although it may seem illogical at first, many have found this approach very effective for writing scientific papers. Precision and exact details are key to this section, but do not include irrelevant material. Explanations of the Example Links Diced potato: In sample one the writer gives enough detail about the procedure so that is can be understood, but not so much that there is an excess of unecessary detail. Is the source of each reagent listed? However, some general rules for Methods sections are: It should be clear from the Methods section how all of the data in the Results section were obtained. Reviewers should look for potential sources of bias in the way the study was designed and carried out, and for places where more explanation is needed.
Depth of anesthesia was assessed by monitoring the pinch withdrawal reflex. For an example, see this image:.
A metal pin was glued to the skull and attached to a custom-made head holder allowing precise orientation of the head relative to the objective.
Keep this in mind while deciding what to include in this section. Keep in mind that whatever is in Methods should find a corresponding mention in Results. You can also ask co-authors who performed specific experiments to write the corresponding parts of the Methods section. Correctly detailing your sources and choosing credible ones , and documenting your methods of study and research are both important parts of doing so.