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How to Write Methodology Chapter APA 7th Edition?

Published by at December 28th, 2021 , Revised On February 5, 2024

According to the APA guidelines, one should provide a detailed narrative of how you conducted the research in the methodology chapter. The APA guidelines, are typical, used in the social science domain. The purpose of this article is to describe quantitative research methods in APA style.

How to Structure your Methodology Chapter?

Methods” should be centered, boldfaced, and capitalized as the primary heading. This section’s subheadings are left-aligned, boldfaced, and in title case. Within these subsections, you can also use lower-level headers as long as they follow APA heading conventions. Use the subheadings “Participants“, “Materials” and “Procedures” to organize your techniques section. These titles aren’t required; instead, use subheadings that make sense for your particular study to structure your methods section.

Participants and their Characteristics

Descriptive terminology like ”participants”, ”subjects” and ”respondents” is acceptable when referring to individuals that take part in the research. “Subjects” is a better terminology to use for studies conducted on non-human animals. Be sure to list all essential demographic data of your participants.

For example: Age, gender, ethnicity or race, gender identity, education level or income, etc. Other factors such as educational or immigrant status and language preference should be added according to the research requirements.

Describe these features as accurately as possible. This allows the reader to see how broadly your findings may be applied to other persons. The APA rules promote the use of bias-free terminology when writing about participants, therefore inclusive and acceptable phrases are required.

Example: A total of 134 students aged 18 to 25 from a London university took part in the study. All participants were right-handed, and English native.

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Procedure of Sampling

Explain how the participants were selected and what criteria were used for the inclusion and exclusion of participants. Indicate which sampling procedure was correctly applied. For example, if you have access to all members of the relevant population, you should classify a sample as random only.

Note the proportion of the total number of people invited who agreed to participate in your study. Also indicate whether the participants were selected by themselves or by their institutions. Mention any remuneration of participants, as well as institutional review board approval and ethical guidelines that were followed.

Example: Before we could start recruiting participants, we had to get ethical approval. All participants must be English natives. The study requirements were posted via general emails to university-wide mailing lists, posts on social media and brochures distributed on campus. Participants were randomly selected and offered compensation for their participation.

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Sample Size

The sample size and statistical power that you aimed to gain, as well as any studies that you conducted to obtain these figures. It is crucial that you demonstrate that your study had sufficient statistical power to detect impacts, if any. Also mention if your final sample differs from the expected one. Your interpretations of the research findings should be based only on the final sample, not the planned sample.

Example: For this particular study an 80% power to detect an effect of 20%, with a significance level of .05, 60 participants were required in the two conditions. The final sample must fulfil these requirements.


This section contains information about the techniques that you are going to use to measure your study variables.

Primary and Secondary Measures

Define the primary and secondary outcomes that will help you answer your primary and secondary research questions.

  • Identify any devices used to collect these measurements and the construct they measure. Hardware, software, tests, scales and inventories are examples of these devices.
  • Include the model number and manufacturer when citing hardware.
  • If you cite common software, give the full name, version number and website URL.
  • Refer to the manual or article in which the test, scale or inventory was published to cite it. It is also a good idea to mention the quantity of things and give one or two examples.
  • In terms of internal consistency or test-retest reliability, dependability refers to how consistently a technique assesses something.
  • In terms of construct or criterion validity, validity refers to how accurately a technique assesses something.


Document the processes used to conduct the study, process the data and conduct the planned data analysis.

Methods of Data Collection

Surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, are some of the common tools of data collection. Explain in details how you are going to collect the data. Describe in adequate length all procedures you used to conduct surveys, tests, physical recordings or imaging equipment so that others can understand your methods.

If your procedures are particularly complex and require detailed descriptions, you should include these in the supplementary materials. Specify any masking that was used to keep the assignment of conditions secret from participants. Masking ensures internal validity in a multi-group study by eliminating bias. Explain how masking was implemented and whether its effectiveness was tested.

Filtration of the collected Data

Indicate all the actions taken after data collection to check or process the data.

The following are examples of these:

  • Techniques for finding and eliminating outliers.
  • Normalizing distributions through data transformations.
  • Using compensation mechanisms to compensate for missing values is a good idea.

You should provide enough explanation so that the reader can understand how and why you processed or changed your raw data in exactly this way to achieve high validity. You should also discuss your statistical analysis methodologies in the methods section, their findings are presented in the section under “Results.

Frequently Asked Questions

To write the Methodology chapter in APA referencing style, include a clear description of your research design, participants, data collection methods, and analysis techniques. Cite sources using author-date format (e.g., Smith, 2020) and create a reference list alphabetized by the author’s last name.

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