Methods Section for a Scientific Manuscript

  • Reviewers Evaluate Papers Largely Based on Methods
  • Others Must be able to Repeat Your Results                                                

Write methods using the past tense.  Include enough detail so that others can repeat the experiments.  For new
methods, provide all of the necessary details, while for established methods give only a literature reference.  Do
not put any of your results in the Methods section – Never, Never, Never!  Be consistent in presentation.  For
example, if the first time you describe a centrifugation step you write “and the sample was clarified by
centrifugation  (10,000 x g for 30 minutes at 4°C)” you should retain this order of parameters (g-force, time,
temperature) the next time you describe a centrifugation step “and the precipitated protein was recovered by
sedimentation in a bench-top centrifuge (5,000 x g for 10 minutes at room temperature.)”
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Parts of a MS Home
Never Begin a Sentence
with a Numeral
Bad – “3 ml of reagent A”
OK – “Three milliliters of
reagent A”
Also OK – “Reagent A
(3 ml) was mixed”
Learn why Reviewers
consider Methods the
most important part of a
manuscript.