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📝Academic Writing Tip #3

📝Academic Writing Tip #3

by Center for Learning & Teaching -
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Academic Writing Tip #3
Describing Methods

Here's some ✏️ tips from Academic Phrasebank.

Photo by Zen Chung: https://www.pexels.com/photo/serious-black-student-writing-essay-in-notebook-in-park-5538599/In the Methods section of a dissertation or research article, writers give an account of how they carried out their research. The Methods section should be clear and detailed enough for another experienced person to repeat the research and reproduce the results. Where the methods chosen are new, unfamiliar or perhaps even controversial, or where the intended audience is from many disciplines, the Methods section will tend to be much more extensive. 

Typical stretches of text found in this section of a research article or dissertation along with examples of the kind of language used for these are listed below. Note that the verbs are written in the simple past tense and are in the passive voice.

Here's some examples in describing previously used methods

  • Many researchers have utilised X to measure … 
  • One of the most well-known tools for assessing … 
  • Traditionally, X has been assessed by measuring ... 
  • A number of techniques have been developed to … 
  • Different methods have been proposed to classify … 
  • X is the main non-invasive method used to determine ... 
  • Different authors have measured X in a variety of ways. 
  • Several methods currently exist for the measurement of X. 
  • Previous studies have based their criteria for selection on ...
Giving reasons why a particular method was adopted
  • A major advantage of X is that …
  • The benefit of this approach is that …
  • The decision to use X was based on …
  • X based methods provide a means of …
  • X was selected for its reliability and validity.
  • A case study approach was used to allow a ...
  • This method is particularly useful in studying ...
  • A quantitative approach was employed since ...
  • Qualitative methods offer an effective way of ... 
  • The design of the questionnaires was based on ...
Referring to the literature to justify a method or approach
  • In a recent article, Smith (2009) argues that case studies offer …
  • Smith et al. (1994) identify several advantages of the case study ...
  • Jones (2012) argues that case studies are useful when the conditions of the research …
  • According to Smith (2011), semi-structured interviews have a wide-spread popularity in …
  • The sensitivity of the X technique has been demonstrated in a report by Smith et al. (2011).
  • Jones (2006) points out that there is a role for both qualitative and quantitative approaches in …

Want to see some examples? Go to the Learner Support Page and Check the Academic Phrasebank resource under Academic Writing. Check Pages 46 - 61.


Reference

Morley, J. (2021). Describing Methods. Academic phrasebank A compendium of commonly used phrasal elements in academic English, (2018 ed., pp. 46–61)., University of Manchester.