10 quick tips for writing methods sections

  1. Keep a comprehensive lab book!!
  2. Follow the standard rules (3rd person, past tense, fully referenced)
  3. Remember methods sections and protocols are written differently
  4. Write as you close to the time you did the experiments as possible!
  5. Include all the details; suppliers, concentrations, times, order, etc etc etc
  6. Use a logical structure that will avoid repetition!
  7. Don’t make life hard for yourself; use published works as examples!
  8. If you use a citation instead of full details make sure the paper is open access and contains full details; no serial referencing!
  9. Nail down the stats and analyses sections (use a checklist)!
  10. Don’t go crazy with unnecessary tables/appendixes, try to work figures into your results rather than methods.

More details on all of these points can be found in the full length guide to writing materials and methods sections

bottles 1

We also have a prepared few specific examples/requirements for different types of experiment in your methods: adding more as they get finished.


Cell culture

Patient/Participant recruitment


Immunoblotting / western blotting

Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy and immunohistochemistry

Suggestions welcome for others