Ninth Edition CoverGraziano & Raulin
Research Methods (9th edition)

Method Section

The purpose of the Method section is to describe exactly how the research was carried out. We describe the participants and how they were selected, the apparatus, equipment and/or materials, and the procedures used. These are typically discussed in separate subsections.

The participants subsection describes how participants were selected and their demographic characteristics (e.g., age, education, and sex), from where participants were obtained (e.g., from a college course, a psychiatric hospital, or a local shopping mall), and what inducements were used to obtain their cooperation (e.g., money or experimental credit for students). 

In addition, the researcher should describe how participants were assigned to groups. If it is a differential research study, the procedures used to classify participants for group assignment should be described. 

If participants drop out of the experiment or decline to participate, the number of such participants and the groups they were in should be reported. There should be enough information to allow a researcher to compare the sample with samples from similar research projects.

The next subsection will depend on the study. It might be called the apparatus or equipment subsection, materials, instruments, or measures subsection, or some combination of these terms. In this subsection all physical aspects of the research study are described. If the study involves equipment, the type of equipment used and the settings of the equipment should be reported. If psychological tests are used, the tests should be described, with information on how to obtain them. If the tests are unique or custom-made for the study, they should either be included as an appendix or made available to any reader on request. The goal of the apparatus or equipment subsection is to provide readers with sufficient information to allow them to replicate the study.

The procedure subsection describes how the study was carried out. If additional manipulation of data was carried out, it should also be described in the procedure section. For example, if particular scoring procedures were used, they should be described. If specific instructions were given to participants, they should be included. In other words, the procedure subsection should tell the reader everything that the participants and the researcher did during the course of the study.