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How to Write a Methods Section for a Psychology Paper

Tips and Examples of an APA Methods Section

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

sample procedure research paper

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

sample procedure research paper

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

The methods section of an APA format psychology paper provides the methods and procedures used in a research study or experiment . This part of an APA paper is critical because it allows other researchers to see exactly how you conducted your research.

Method refers to the procedure that was used in a research study. It included a precise description of how the experiments were performed and why particular procedures were selected. While the APA technically refers to this section as the 'method section,' it is also often known as a 'methods section.'

The methods section ensures the experiment's reproducibility and the assessment of alternative methods that might produce different results. It also allows researchers to replicate the experiment and judge the study's validity.

This article discusses how to write a methods section for a psychology paper, including important elements to include and tips that can help.

What to Include in a Method Section

So what exactly do you need to include when writing your method section? You should provide detailed information on the following:

  • Research design
  • Participants
  • Participant behavior

The method section should provide enough information to allow other researchers to replicate your experiment or study.

Components of a Method Section

The method section should utilize subheadings to divide up different subsections. These subsections typically include participants, materials, design, and procedure.

Participants 

In this part of the method section, you should describe the participants in your experiment, including who they were (and any unique features that set them apart from the general population), how many there were, and how they were selected. If you utilized random selection to choose your participants, it should be noted here.

For example: "We randomly selected 100 children from elementary schools near the University of Arizona."

At the very minimum, this part of your method section must convey:

  • Basic demographic characteristics of your participants (such as sex, age, ethnicity, or religion)
  • The population from which your participants were drawn
  • Any restrictions on your pool of participants
  • How many participants were assigned to each condition and how they were assigned to each group (i.e., randomly assignment , another selection method, etc.)
  • Why participants took part in your research (i.e., the study was advertised at a college or hospital, they received some type of incentive, etc.)

Information about participants helps other researchers understand how your study was performed, how generalizable the result might be, and allows other researchers to replicate the experiment with other populations to see if they might obtain the same results.

In this part of the method section, you should describe the materials, measures, equipment, or stimuli used in the experiment. This may include:

  • Testing instruments
  • Technical equipment
  • Any psychological assessments that were used
  • Any special equipment that was used

For example: "Two stories from Sullivan et al.'s (1994) second-order false belief attribution tasks were used to assess children's understanding of second-order beliefs."

For standard equipment such as computers, televisions, and videos, you can simply name the device and not provide further explanation.

Specialized equipment should be given greater detail, especially if it is complex or created for a niche purpose. In some instances, such as if you created a special material or apparatus for your study, you might need to include an illustration of the item in the appendix of your paper.

In this part of your method section, describe the type of design used in the experiment. Specify the variables as well as the levels of these variables. Identify:

  • The independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Control variables
  • Any extraneous variables that might influence your results.

Also, explain whether your experiment uses a  within-groups  or between-groups design.

For example: "The experiment used a 3x2 between-subjects design. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs."

The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Your procedures should explain:

  • What the participants did
  • How data was collected
  • The order in which steps occurred

For example: "An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average. The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded."

Keep this subsection concise yet detailed. Explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

Tips for How to Write a Methods Section

In addition to following the basic structure of an APA method section, there are also certain things you should remember when writing this section of your paper. Consider the following tips when writing this section:

  • Use the past tense : Always write the method section in the past tense.
  • Be descriptive : Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your experiment, but focus on brevity. Avoid unnecessary detail that is not relevant to the outcome of the experiment.
  • Use an academic tone : Use formal language and avoid slang or colloquial expressions. Word choice is also important. Refer to the people in your experiment or study as "participants" rather than "subjects."
  • Use APA format : Keep a style guide on hand as you write your method section. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the official source for APA style.
  • Make connections : Read through each section of your paper for agreement with other sections. If you mention procedures in the method section, these elements should be discussed in the results and discussion sections.
  • Proofread : Check your paper for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.. typos, grammar problems, and spelling errors. Although a spell checker is a handy tool, there are some errors only you can catch.

After writing a draft of your method section, be sure to get a second opinion. You can often become too close to your work to see errors or lack of clarity. Take a rough draft of your method section to your university's writing lab for additional assistance.

A Word From Verywell

The method section is one of the most important components of your APA format paper. The goal of your paper should be to clearly detail what you did in your experiment. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your study if they wanted.

Finally, if you are writing your paper for a class or for a specific publication, be sure to keep in mind any specific instructions provided by your instructor or by the journal editor. Your instructor may have certain requirements that you need to follow while writing your method section.

Frequently Asked Questions

While the subsections can vary, the three components that should be included are sections on the participants, the materials, and the procedures.

  • Describe who the participants were in the study and how they were selected.
  • Define and describe the materials that were used including any equipment, tests, or assessments
  • Describe how the data was collected

To write your methods section in APA format, describe your participants, materials, study design, and procedures. Keep this section succinct, and always write in the past tense. The main heading of this section should be labeled "Method" and it should be centered, bolded, and capitalized. Each subheading within this section should be bolded, left-aligned and in title case.

The purpose of the methods section is to describe what you did in your experiment. It should be brief, but include enough detail that someone could replicate your experiment based on this information. Your methods section should detail what you did to answer your research question. Describe how the study was conducted, the study design that was used and why it was chosen, and how you collected the data and analyzed the results.

Erdemir F. How to write a materials and methods section of a scientific article ? Turk J Urol . 2013;39(Suppl 1):10-5. doi:10.5152/tud.2013.047

Kallet RH. How to write the methods section of a research paper . Respir Care . 2004;49(10):1229-32. PMID: 15447808.

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

American Psychological Association. APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards . Published 2020.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

sample procedure research paper

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications . If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Research Paper Fundamentals

How to choose a topic or question, how to create a working hypothesis or thesis, common research paper methodologies, how to gather and organize evidence , how to write an outline for your research paper, how to write a rough draft, how to revise your draft, how to produce a final draft, resources for teachers .

It is not fair to say that no one writes anymore. Just about everyone writes text messages, brief emails, or social media posts every single day. Yet, most people don't have a lot of practice with the formal, organized writing required for a good academic research paper. This guide contains links to a variety of resources that can help demystify the process. Some of these resources are intended for teachers; they contain exercises, activities, and teaching strategies. Other resources are intended for direct use by students who are struggling to write papers, or are looking for tips to make the process go more smoothly.

The resources in this section are designed to help students understand the different types of research papers, the general research process, and how to manage their time. Below, you'll find links from university writing centers, the trusted Purdue Online Writing Lab, and more.

What is an Academic Research Paper?

"Genre and the Research Paper" (Purdue OWL)

There are different types of research papers. Different types of scholarly questions will lend themselves to one format or another. This is a brief introduction to the two main genres of research paper: analytic and argumentative. 

"7 Most Popular Types of Research Papers" (Personal-writer.com)

This resource discusses formats that high school students commonly encounter, such as the compare and contrast essay and the definitional essay. Please note that the inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of this company's paid service.

How to Prepare and Plan Out Writing a Research Paper

Teachers can give their students a step-by-step guide like these to help them understand the different steps of the research paper process. These guides can be combined with the time management tools in the next subsection to help students come up with customized calendars for completing their papers.

"Ten Steps for Writing Research Papers" (American University)  

This resource from American University is a comprehensive guide to the research paper writing process, and includes examples of proper research questions and thesis topics.

"Steps in Writing a Research Paper" (SUNY Empire State College)

This guide breaks the research paper process into 11 steps. Each "step" links to a separate page, which describes the work entailed in completing it.

How to Manage Time Effectively

The links below will help students determine how much time is necessary to complete a paper. If your sources are not available online or at your local library, you'll need to leave extra time for the Interlibrary Loan process. Remember that, even if you do not need to consult secondary sources, you'll still need to leave yourself ample time to organize your thoughts.

"Research Paper Planner: Timeline" (Baylor University)

This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment.

"Research Paper Planner" (UCLA)

UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

There's a reason teachers spend a long time talking about choosing a good topic. Without a good topic and a well-formulated research question, it is almost impossible to write a clear and organized paper. The resources below will help you generate ideas and formulate precise questions.

"How to Select a Research Topic" (Univ. of Michigan-Flint)

This resource is designed for college students who are struggling to come up with an appropriate topic. A student who uses this resource and still feels unsure about his or her topic should consult the course instructor for further personalized assistance.

"25 Interesting Research Paper Topics to Get You Started" (Kibin)

This resource, which is probably most appropriate for high school students, provides a list of specific topics to help get students started. It is broken into subsections, such as "paper topics on local issues."

"Writing a Good Research Question" (Grand Canyon University)

This introduction to research questions includes some embedded videos, as well as links to scholarly articles on research questions. This resource would be most appropriate for teachers who are planning lessons on research paper fundamentals.

"How to Write a Research Question the Right Way" (Kibin)

This student-focused resource provides more detail on writing research questions. The language is accessible, and there are embedded videos and examples of good and bad questions.

It is important to have a rough hypothesis or thesis in mind at the beginning of the research process. People who have a sense of what they want to say will have an easier time sorting through scholarly sources and other information. The key, of course, is not to become too wedded to the draft hypothesis or thesis. Just about every working thesis gets changed during the research process.

CrashCourse Video: "Sociology Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is tailored to sociology students, it is applicable to students in a variety of social science disciplines. This video does a good job demonstrating the connection between the brainstorming that goes into selecting a research question and the formulation of a working hypothesis.

"How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Analytical Essay" (YouTube)

Students writing analytical essays will not develop the same type of working hypothesis as students who are writing research papers in other disciplines. For these students, developing the working thesis may happen as a part of the rough draft (see the relevant section below). 

"Research Hypothesis" (Oakland Univ.)

This resource provides some examples of hypotheses in social science disciplines like Political Science and Criminal Justice. These sample hypotheses may also be useful for students in other soft social sciences and humanities disciplines like History.

When grading a research paper, instructors look for a consistent methodology. This section will help you understand different methodological approaches used in research papers. Students will get the most out of these resources if they use them to help prepare for conversations with teachers or discussions in class.

"Types of Research Designs" (USC)

A "research design," used for complex papers, is related to the paper's method. This resource contains introductions to a variety of popular research designs in the social sciences. Although it is not the most intuitive site to read, the information here is very valuable. 

"Major Research Methods" (YouTube)

Although this video is a bit on the dry side, it provides a comprehensive overview of the major research methodologies in a format that might be more accessible to students who have struggled with textbooks or other written resources.

"Humanities Research Strategies" (USC)

This is a portal where students can learn about four methodological approaches for humanities papers: Historical Methodologies, Textual Criticism, Conceptual Analysis, and the Synoptic method.

"Selected Major Social Science Research Methods: Overview" (National Academies Press)

This appendix from the book  Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy , printed by National Academies Press, introduces some methods used in social science papers.

"Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: 6. The Methodology" (USC)

This resource from the University of Southern California's library contains tips for writing a methodology section in a research paper.

How to Determine the Best Methodology for You

Anyone who is new to writing research papers should be sure to select a method in consultation with their instructor. These resources can be used to help prepare for that discussion. They may also be used on their own by more advanced students.

"Choosing Appropriate Research Methodologies" (Palgrave Study Skills)

This friendly and approachable resource from Palgrave Macmillan can be used by students who are just starting to think about appropriate methodologies.

"How to Choose Your Research Methods" (NFER (UK))

This is another approachable resource students can use to help narrow down the most appropriate methods for their research projects.

The resources in this section introduce the process of gathering scholarly sources and collecting evidence. You'll find a range of material here, from introductory guides to advanced explications best suited to college students. Please consult the LitCharts  How to Do Academic Research guide for a more comprehensive list of resources devoted to finding scholarly literature.

Google Scholar

Students who have access to library websites with detailed research guides should start there, but people who do not have access to those resources can begin their search for secondary literature here.

"Gathering Appropriate Information" (Texas Gateway)

This resource from the Texas Gateway for online resources introduces students to the research process, and contains interactive exercises. The level of complexity is suitable for middle school, high school, and introductory college classrooms.

"An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods" (NSF)

This PDF from the National Science Foundation goes into detail about best practices and pitfalls in data collection across multiple types of methodologies.

"Social Science Methods for Data Collection and Analysis" (Swiss FIT)

This resource is appropriate for advanced undergraduates or teachers looking to create lessons on research design and data collection. It covers techniques for gathering data via interviews, observations, and other methods.

"Collecting Data by In-depth Interviewing" (Leeds Univ.)

This resource contains enough information about conducting interviews to make it useful for teachers who want to create a lesson plan, but is also accessible enough for college juniors or seniors to make use of it on their own.

There is no "one size fits all" outlining technique. Some students might devote all their energy and attention to the outline in order to avoid the paper. Other students may benefit from being made to sit down and organize their thoughts into a lengthy sentence outline. The resources in this section include strategies and templates for multiple types of outlines. 

"Topic vs. Sentence Outlines" (UC Berkeley)

This resource introduces two basic approaches to outlining: the shorter topic-based approach, and the longer, more detailed sentence-based approach. This resource also contains videos on how to develop paper paragraphs from the sentence-based outline.

"Types of Outlines and Samples" (Purdue OWL)

The Purdue Online Writing Lab's guide is a slightly less detailed discussion of different types of outlines. It contains several sample outlines.

"Writing An Outline" (Austin C.C.)

This resource from a community college contains sample outlines from an American history class that students can use as models.

"How to Structure an Outline for a College Paper" (YouTube)

This brief (sub-2 minute) video from the ExpertVillage YouTube channel provides a model of outline writing for students who are struggling with the idea.

"Outlining" (Harvard)

This is a good resource to consult after completing a draft outline. It offers suggestions for making sure your outline avoids things like unnecessary repetition.

As with outlines, rough drafts can take on many different forms. These resources introduce teachers and students to the various approaches to writing a rough draft. This section also includes resources that will help you cite your sources appropriately according to the MLA, Chicago, and APA style manuals.

"Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

This resource is useful for teachers in particular, as it provides some suggested exercises to help students with writing a basic rough draft. 

Rough Draft Assignment (Duke of Definition)

This sample assignment, with a brief list of tips, was developed by a high school teacher who runs a very successful and well-reviewed page of educational resources.

"Creating the First Draft of Your Research Paper" (Concordia Univ.)

This resource will be helpful for perfectionists or procrastinators, as it opens by discussing the problem of avoiding writing. It also provides a short list of suggestions meant to get students writing.

Using Proper Citations

There is no such thing as a rough draft of a scholarly citation. These links to the three major citation guides will ensure that your citations follow the correct format. Please consult the LitCharts How to Cite Your Sources guide for more resources.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Some call  The Chicago Manual of Style , which was first published in 1906, "the editors' Bible." The manual is now in its 17th edition, and is popular in the social sciences, historical journals, and some other fields in the humanities.

APA Citation Guide

According to the American Psychological Association, this guide was developed to aid reading comprehension, clarity of communication, and to reduce bias in language in the social and behavioral sciences. Its first full edition was published in 1952, and it is now in its sixth edition.

MLA Citation Guide

The Modern Language Association style is used most commonly within the liberal arts and humanities. The  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  was first published in 1985 and (as of 2008) is in its third edition.

Any professional scholar will tell you that the best research papers are made in the revision stage. No matter how strong your research question or working thesis, it is not possible to write a truly outstanding paper without devoting energy to revision. These resources provide examples of revision exercises for the classroom, as well as tips for students working independently.

"The Art of Revision" (Univ. of Arizona)

This resource provides a wealth of information and suggestions for both students and teachers. There is a list of suggested exercises that teachers might use in class, along with a revision checklist that is useful for teachers and students alike.

"Script for Workshop on Revision" (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt's guide for leading a 50-minute revision workshop can serve as a model for teachers who wish to guide students through the revision process during classtime. 

"Revising Your Paper" (Univ. of Washington)

This detailed handout was designed for students who are beginning the revision process. It discusses different approaches and methods for revision, and also includes a detailed list of things students should look for while they revise.

"Revising Drafts" (UNC Writing Center)

This resource is designed for students and suggests things to look for during the revision process. It provides steps for the process and has a FAQ for students who have questions about why it is important to revise.

Conferencing with Writing Tutors and Instructors

No writer is so good that he or she can't benefit from meeting with instructors or peer tutors. These resources from university writing, learning, and communication centers provide suggestions for how to get the most out of these one-on-one meetings.

"Getting Feedback" (UNC Writing Center)

This very helpful resource talks about how to ask for feedback during the entire writing process. It contains possible questions that students might ask when developing an outline, during the revision process, and after the final draft has been graded.

"Prepare for Your Tutoring Session" (Otis College of Art and Design)

This guide from a university's student learning center contains a lot of helpful tips for getting the most out of working with a writing tutor.

"The Importance of Asking Your Professor" (Univ. of Waterloo)

This article from the university's Writing and Communication Centre's blog contains some suggestions for how and when to get help from professors and Teaching Assistants.

Once you've revised your first draft, you're well on your way to handing in a polished paper. These resources—each of them produced by writing professionals at colleges and universities—outline the steps required in order to produce a final draft. You'll find proofreading tips and checklists in text and video form.

"Developing a Final Draft of a Research Paper" (Univ. of Minnesota)

While this resource contains suggestions for revision, it also features a couple of helpful checklists for the last stages of completing a final draft.

Basic Final Draft Tips and Checklist (Univ. of Maryland-University College)

This short and accessible resource, part of UMUC's very thorough online guide to writing and research, contains a very basic checklist for students who are getting ready to turn in their final drafts.

Final Draft Checklist (Everett C.C.)

This is another accessible final draft checklist, appropriate for both high school and college students. It suggests reading your essay aloud at least once.

"How to Proofread Your Final Draft" (YouTube)

This video (approximately 5 minutes), produced by Eastern Washington University, gives students tips on proofreading final drafts.

"Proofreading Tips" (Georgia Southern-Armstrong)

This guide will help students learn how to spot common errors in their papers. It suggests focusing on content and editing for grammar and mechanics.

This final set of resources is intended specifically for high school and college instructors. It provides links to unit plans and classroom exercises that can help improve students' research and writing skills. You'll find resources that give an overview of the process, along with activities that focus on how to begin and how to carry out research. 

"Research Paper Complete Resources Pack" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, rubrics, and other resources is designed for high school students. The resources in this packet are aligned to Common Core standards.

"Research Paper—Complete Unit" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This packet of assignments, notes, PowerPoints, and other resources has a 4/4 rating with over 700 ratings. It is designed for high school teachers, but might also be useful to college instructors who work with freshmen.

"Teaching Students to Write Good Papers" (Yale)

This resource from Yale's Center for Teaching and Learning is designed for college instructors, and it includes links to appropriate activities and exercises.

"Research Paper Writing: An Overview" (CUNY Brooklyn)

CUNY Brooklyn offers this complete lesson plan for introducing students to research papers. It includes an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides.

"Lesson Plan: How to Begin Writing a Research Paper" (San Jose State Univ.)

This lesson plan is designed for students in the health sciences, so teachers will have to modify it for their own needs. It includes a breakdown of the brainstorming, topic selection, and research question process. 

"Quantitative Techniques for Social Science Research" (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

This is a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used to introduce students to a variety of quantitative methods used in the social sciences.

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  • Sampling Methods | Types, Techniques, & Examples

Sampling Methods | Types, Techniques, & Examples

Published on 3 May 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022.

When you conduct research about a group of people, it’s rarely possible to collect data from every person in that group. Instead, you select a sample. The sample is the group of individuals who will actually participate in the research.

To draw valid conclusions from your results, you have to carefully decide how you will select a sample that is representative of the group as a whole. There are two types of sampling methods:

  • Probability sampling involves random selection, allowing you to make strong statistical inferences about the whole group. It minimises the risk of selection bias .
  • Non-probability sampling involves non-random selection based on convenience or other criteria, allowing you to easily collect data.

You should clearly explain how you selected your sample in the methodology section of your paper or thesis.

Table of contents

Population vs sample, probability sampling methods, non-probability sampling methods, frequently asked questions about sampling.

First, you need to understand the difference between a population and a sample , and identify the target population of your research.

  • The population is the entire group that you want to draw conclusions about.
  • The sample is the specific group of individuals that you will collect data from.

The population can be defined in terms of geographical location, age, income, and many other characteristics.

Population vs sample

It is important to carefully define your target population according to the purpose and practicalities of your project.

If the population is very large, demographically mixed, and geographically dispersed, it might be difficult to gain access to a representative sample.

Sampling frame

The sampling frame is the actual list of individuals that the sample will be drawn from. Ideally, it should include the entire target population (and nobody who is not part of that population).

You are doing research on working conditions at Company X. Your population is all 1,000 employees of the company. Your sampling frame is the company’s HR database, which lists the names and contact details of every employee.

Sample size

The number of individuals you should include in your sample depends on various factors, including the size and variability of the population and your research design. There are different sample size calculators and formulas depending on what you want to achieve with statistical analysis .

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Probability sampling means that every member of the population has a chance of being selected. It is mainly used in quantitative research . If you want to produce results that are representative of the whole population, probability sampling techniques are the most valid choice.

There are four main types of probability sample.

Probability sampling

1. Simple random sampling

In a simple random sample , every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. Your sampling frame should include the whole population.

To conduct this type of sampling, you can use tools like random number generators or other techniques that are based entirely on chance.

You want to select a simple random sample of 100 employees of Company X. You assign a number to every employee in the company database from 1 to 1000, and use a random number generator to select 100 numbers.

2. Systematic sampling

Systematic sampling is similar to simple random sampling, but it is usually slightly easier to conduct. Every member of the population is listed with a number, but instead of randomly generating numbers, individuals are chosen at regular intervals.

All employees of the company are listed in alphabetical order. From the first 10 numbers, you randomly select a starting point: number 6. From number 6 onwards, every 10th person on the list is selected (6, 16, 26, 36, and so on), and you end up with a sample of 100 people.

If you use this technique, it is important to make sure that there is no hidden pattern in the list that might skew the sample. For example, if the HR database groups employees by team, and team members are listed in order of seniority, there is a risk that your interval might skip over people in junior roles, resulting in a sample that is skewed towards senior employees.

3. Stratified sampling

Stratified sampling involves dividing the population into subpopulations that may differ in important ways. It allows you draw more precise conclusions by ensuring that every subgroup is properly represented in the sample.

To use this sampling method, you divide the population into subgroups (called strata) based on the relevant characteristic (e.g., gender, age range, income bracket, job role).

Based on the overall proportions of the population, you calculate how many people should be sampled from each subgroup. Then you use random or systematic sampling to select a sample from each subgroup.

The company has 800 female employees and 200 male employees. You want to ensure that the sample reflects the gender balance of the company, so you sort the population into two strata based on gender. Then you use random sampling on each group, selecting 80 women and 20 men, which gives you a representative sample of 100 people.

4. Cluster sampling

Cluster sampling also involves dividing the population into subgroups, but each subgroup should have similar characteristics to the whole sample. Instead of sampling individuals from each subgroup, you randomly select entire subgroups.

If it is practically possible, you might include every individual from each sampled cluster. If the clusters themselves are large, you can also sample individuals from within each cluster using one of the techniques above. This is called multistage sampling .

This method is good for dealing with large and dispersed populations, but there is more risk of error in the sample, as there could be substantial differences between clusters. It’s difficult to guarantee that the sampled clusters are really representative of the whole population.

The company has offices in 10 cities across the country (all with roughly the same number of employees in similar roles). You don’t have the capacity to travel to every office to collect your data, so you use random sampling to select 3 offices – these are your clusters.

In a non-probability sample , individuals are selected based on non-random criteria, and not every individual has a chance of being included.

This type of sample is easier and cheaper to access, but it has a higher risk of sampling bias . That means the inferences you can make about the population are weaker than with probability samples, and your conclusions may be more limited. If you use a non-probability sample, you should still aim to make it as representative of the population as possible.

Non-probability sampling techniques are often used in exploratory and qualitative research . In these types of research, the aim is not to test a hypothesis about a broad population, but to develop an initial understanding of a small or under-researched population.

Non probability sampling

1. Convenience sampling

A convenience sample simply includes the individuals who happen to be most accessible to the researcher.

This is an easy and inexpensive way to gather initial data, but there is no way to tell if the sample is representative of the population, so it can’t produce generalisable results.

You are researching opinions about student support services in your university, so after each of your classes, you ask your fellow students to complete a survey on the topic. This is a convenient way to gather data, but as you only surveyed students taking the same classes as you at the same level, the sample is not representative of all the students at your university.

2. Voluntary response sampling

Similar to a convenience sample, a voluntary response sample is mainly based on ease of access. Instead of the researcher choosing participants and directly contacting them, people volunteer themselves (e.g., by responding to a public online survey).

Voluntary response samples are always at least somewhat biased, as some people will inherently be more likely to volunteer than others.

You send out the survey to all students at your university and many students decide to complete it. This can certainly give you some insight into the topic, but the people who responded are more likely to be those who have strong opinions about the student support services, so you can’t be sure that their opinions are representative of all students.

3. Purposive sampling

Purposive sampling , also known as judgement sampling, involves the researcher using their expertise to select a sample that is most useful to the purposes of the research.

It is often used in qualitative research , where the researcher wants to gain detailed knowledge about a specific phenomenon rather than make statistical inferences, or where the population is very small and specific. An effective purposive sample must have clear criteria and rationale for inclusion.

You want to know more about the opinions and experiences of students with a disability at your university, so you purposely select a number of students with different support needs in order to gather a varied range of data on their experiences with student services.

4. Snowball sampling

If the population is hard to access, snowball sampling can be used to recruit participants via other participants. The number of people you have access to ‘snowballs’ as you get in contact with more people.

You are researching experiences of homelessness in your city. Since there is no list of all homeless people in the city, probability sampling isn’t possible. You meet one person who agrees to participate in the research, and she puts you in contact with other homeless people she knows in the area.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population. Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research.

For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

Statistical sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population. There are various sampling methods you can use to ensure that your sample is representative of the population as a whole.

Samples are used to make inferences about populations . Samples are easier to collect data from because they are practical, cost-effective, convenient, and manageable.

Probability sampling means that every member of the target population has a known chance of being included in the sample.

Probability sampling methods include simple random sampling , systematic sampling , stratified sampling , and cluster sampling .

In non-probability sampling , the sample is selected based on non-random criteria, and not every member of the population has a chance of being included.

Common non-probability sampling methods include convenience sampling , voluntary response sampling, purposive sampling , snowball sampling , and quota sampling .

Sampling bias occurs when some members of a population are systematically more likely to be selected in a sample than others.

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APA Methods Section – How To Write It With Examples

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APA-Methods-Section-01

The APA methods section is a very important part of your academic paper, displaying how you conducted your research by providing a precise description of the methods and procedures you used for the study. This section ensures transparency, allowing other researchers to see exactly how you conducted your experiments. In APA style , the methods section usually includes subsections on participants, materials or measures, and procedures. This article discusses the APA methods section in detail.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 APA Methods Section – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: APA Methods Section
  • 3 APA Methods Section: Structure
  • 4 APA Methods Section: Participants
  • 5 APA Methods Section: Materials
  • 6 APA Methods Section: Procedure

APA Methods Section – In a Nutshell

  • The APA methods section covers the participants, materials, and procedures.
  • Under the ‘Participants’ heading of the APA methods section, you should state the relevant demographic characteristics of your participants.
  • Accurately reporting the facts of the study can help other researchers determine how much the results can be generalized.

Definition: APA Methods Section

The APA methods section describes the procedures you used to carry out your research and explains why particular processes were selected. It allows other researchers to replicate the study and make their own conclusions on the validity of the experiment.

APA Methods Section: Structure

  • The main heading of the APA methods section should be written in bold and should be capitalized. It also has to be centered.
  • All subheadings should be aligned to the left and must be boldfaced. You should select subheadings that are suitable for your essay, and the most commonly used include ‘Participants’, ‘Materials’, and ‘Procedure’.

Heading formats:

APA format has certain requirements for reporting different research designs. You should go through these guidelines to determine what you should mention for research using longitudinal designs , replication studies, and experimental designs .

APA Methods Section: Participants

Under this subheading, you will have to report on the sample characteristics, the procedures used to collect samples, and the sample size selected.

Subject or Participant Characteristics

In academic studies, ‘participants’ refers to the people who take part in a study. If animals are used instead of human beings, the researcher can use the term ‘subjects’. In this subheading of the APA methods section, you have to describe the demographic characteristics of the participants, including their age, sex, race, ethnic group, education level, and gender identity. Depending on the nature of the study, other characteristics may be important. Some of these include:

  • Education levels
  • Language preference
  • Immigration status

By describing the characteristics of the participants, readers will be able to determine how much the results can be generalized. Make sure you use bias-free language when writing this part of the APA methods section.

The study included 100 homosexual men and 100 homosexual women aged between 30 and 50 years from the city of London, UK.

Sampling Procedures

When selecting participants for your study, you will have to use certain sampling procedures. If the study could access all members of the population, you can say that you used random sampling methods. This section of the APA methods section should cover the percentage of respondents who participated in the research, and how they were chosen. You also need to state how participants were compensated and the ethical standard followed.

  • Transgender male students from London were invited to participate in a study.
  • Invites were sent to the students via email, social media posts, and posters in the schools.
  • Each participant received $10 for the time spent in the study.
  • The research obtained ethical approval before the participants were recruited.

Sample Size and Statistical Power

In this part of the APA methods section, you should give details on the sample size and statistical power you aimed at achieving. You should mention whether the final sample was the same as the intended sample. This section should show whether your research had enough statistical power to find any effects.

  • The study aimed at a statistical power of 75% to detect an effect of 10% with an alpha of .05.
  • 200 participants were required, and the study fulfilled these conditions.

APA Methods Section: Materials

Readers also need to know the materials you used for the study. This part of the APA methods section will give other researchers a good picture of the methods used to conduct the study.

Primary and secondary measures

Here, you should indicate the instruments used in the study, as well as the constructs they were meant to measure. Some of these are inventories, scales, tests, software, and hardware. Make sure you cover the following aspects:

  • Reliability
  • The Traumatic Stress Schedule (TSS) was used to measure the exposure to traumatic events.
  • This 10-item chart requires participants to report lifelong exposure to traumatic stress.
  • For example, they could indicate whether they suffered the traumatic death of a loved one.
  • The Davidson Trauma Scale was also used to assess the symptoms of trauma.

Under this subheading of the APA methods section, you should also mention covariates or additional variables that can explain the outcomes.

Quality of measurements

You can mention the strategies you applied to ensure data integrity and reliability. These may include:

  • Training the interviewers
  • Establishing clear data nominalization procedures
  • Rigorous data handling and analysis processes
  • Having multiple people assess the data

If the data was subjectively coded, you should indicate the interrater reliability scores in the APA methods section.

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APA Methods Section: Procedure

This part of the APA methods section indicates the methods you used to carry out the research, process the data, and analyze the results.

Research Design and Data Collection Methods

Data collection is the systematic gathering of observations and measurements, and you have to describe all procedures used in this process. You can use supplementary materials to describe long and complicated data collection methods.

When reporting the research design, you should mention the framework of the study. This could be experimental, longitudinal, correlational, or descriptive. Additionally, you should mention whether you used a between-subjects design or within-subjects design .

In this part of the APA methods section, you should also mention whether any masking methods were used to hide condition assignments from the participants.

  • Participants are told the research takes an hour covers their personal experiences in school.
  • They were assured that the reports would be confidential and were asked to give consent.
  • The participants were asked to fill in questionnaires .
  • The control group was given an unrelated filler task, after which they filled a questionnaire.
  • It was determined the experiences of homosexual and CIS-gendered students varied.

Data diagnostics

This part of the APA method section outlines the steps taken to process the data. It includes:

  • Methods of identifying and controlling outliers
  • Data transformation procedures
  • Methods of compensating for missing values

Analytic strategies

This subheading of the APA methods section describes the analytic strategies used, but you shouldn’t mention the outcomes. The primary and secondary hypotheses use past studies or theoretical frameworks , while exploratory hypotheses focus on the data in the study.

We started by assessing the demographic differences between the two groups. We also performed an independent samples t-test on the test scores .

What are the parts of an APA methods section?

In this section, you should include the study participants, the methods used, and the procedures.

What is included in the APA methods section?

The methods section covers the participants or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures, the sample size, the measures used, the data collection methods, the research design, the data analysis strategy, and the data processing method.

Should I use the Oxford comma when writing the APA methods section?

Yes, the serial comma is required when writing the APA methods section.

Should I use the first person to write the APA methods section?

Yes, the APA language guidelines encourage researchers to use first-person pronouns when writing the methods section.

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Research Method

Home » Sampling Methods – Types, Techniques and Examples

Sampling Methods – Types, Techniques and Examples

Table of Contents

Sampling Methods

Sampling refers to the process of selecting a subset of data from a larger population or dataset in order to analyze or make inferences about the whole population.

In other words, sampling involves taking a representative sample of data from a larger group or dataset in order to gain insights or draw conclusions about the entire group.

Sampling Methods

Sampling methods refer to the techniques used to select a subset of individuals or units from a larger population for the purpose of conducting statistical analysis or research.

Sampling is an essential part of the Research because it allows researchers to draw conclusions about a population without having to collect data from every member of that population, which can be time-consuming, expensive, or even impossible.

Types of Sampling Methods

Sampling can be broadly categorized into two main categories:

Probability Sampling

This type of sampling is based on the principles of random selection, and it involves selecting samples in a way that every member of the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample.. Probability sampling is commonly used in scientific research and statistical analysis, as it provides a representative sample that can be generalized to the larger population.

Type of Probability Sampling :

  • Simple Random Sampling: In this method, every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected for the sample. This can be done using a random number generator or by drawing names out of a hat, for example.
  • Systematic Sampling: In this method, the population is first divided into a list or sequence, and then every nth member is selected for the sample. For example, if every 10th person is selected from a list of 100 people, the sample would include 10 people.
  • Stratified Sampling: In this method, the population is divided into subgroups or strata based on certain characteristics, and then a random sample is taken from each stratum. This is often used to ensure that the sample is representative of the population as a whole.
  • Cluster Sampling: In this method, the population is divided into clusters or groups, and then a random sample of clusters is selected. Then, all members of the selected clusters are included in the sample.
  • Multi-Stage Sampling : This method combines two or more sampling techniques. For example, a researcher may use stratified sampling to select clusters, and then use simple random sampling to select members within each cluster.

Non-probability Sampling

This type of sampling does not rely on random selection, and it involves selecting samples in a way that does not give every member of the population an equal chance of being included in the sample. Non-probability sampling is often used in qualitative research, where the aim is not to generalize findings to a larger population, but to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular phenomenon or group. Non-probability sampling methods can be quicker and more cost-effective than probability sampling methods, but they may also be subject to bias and may not be representative of the larger population.

Types of Non-probability Sampling :

  • Convenience Sampling: In this method, participants are chosen based on their availability or willingness to participate. This method is easy and convenient but may not be representative of the population.
  • Purposive Sampling: In this method, participants are selected based on specific criteria, such as their expertise or knowledge on a particular topic. This method is often used in qualitative research, but may not be representative of the population.
  • Snowball Sampling: In this method, participants are recruited through referrals from other participants. This method is often used when the population is hard to reach, but may not be representative of the population.
  • Quota Sampling: In this method, a predetermined number of participants are selected based on specific criteria, such as age or gender. This method is often used in market research, but may not be representative of the population.
  • Volunteer Sampling: In this method, participants volunteer to participate in the study. This method is often used in research where participants are motivated by personal interest or altruism, but may not be representative of the population.

Applications of Sampling Methods

Applications of Sampling Methods from different fields:

  • Psychology : Sampling methods are used in psychology research to study various aspects of human behavior and mental processes. For example, researchers may use stratified sampling to select a sample of participants that is representative of the population based on factors such as age, gender, and ethnicity. Random sampling may also be used to select participants for experimental studies.
  • Sociology : Sampling methods are commonly used in sociological research to study social phenomena and relationships between individuals and groups. For example, researchers may use cluster sampling to select a sample of neighborhoods to study the effects of economic inequality on health outcomes. Stratified sampling may also be used to select a sample of participants that is representative of the population based on factors such as income, education, and occupation.
  • Social sciences: Sampling methods are commonly used in social sciences to study human behavior and attitudes. For example, researchers may use stratified sampling to select a sample of participants that is representative of the population based on factors such as age, gender, and income.
  • Marketing : Sampling methods are used in marketing research to collect data on consumer preferences, behavior, and attitudes. For example, researchers may use random sampling to select a sample of consumers to participate in a survey about a new product.
  • Healthcare : Sampling methods are used in healthcare research to study the prevalence of diseases and risk factors, and to evaluate interventions. For example, researchers may use cluster sampling to select a sample of health clinics to participate in a study of the effectiveness of a new treatment.
  • Environmental science: Sampling methods are used in environmental science to collect data on environmental variables such as water quality, air pollution, and soil composition. For example, researchers may use systematic sampling to collect soil samples at regular intervals across a field.
  • Education : Sampling methods are used in education research to study student learning and achievement. For example, researchers may use stratified sampling to select a sample of schools that is representative of the population based on factors such as demographics and academic performance.

Examples of Sampling Methods

Probability Sampling Methods Examples:

  • Simple random sampling Example : A researcher randomly selects participants from the population using a random number generator or drawing names from a hat.
  • Stratified random sampling Example : A researcher divides the population into subgroups (strata) based on a characteristic of interest (e.g. age or income) and then randomly selects participants from each subgroup.
  • Systematic sampling Example : A researcher selects participants at regular intervals from a list of the population.

Non-probability Sampling Methods Examples:

  • Convenience sampling Example: A researcher selects participants who are conveniently available, such as students in a particular class or visitors to a shopping mall.
  • Purposive sampling Example : A researcher selects participants who meet specific criteria, such as individuals who have been diagnosed with a particular medical condition.
  • Snowball sampling Example : A researcher selects participants who are referred to them by other participants, such as friends or acquaintances.

How to Conduct Sampling Methods

some general steps to conduct sampling methods:

  • Define the population: Identify the population of interest and clearly define its boundaries.
  • Choose the sampling method: Select an appropriate sampling method based on the research question, characteristics of the population, and available resources.
  • Determine the sample size: Determine the desired sample size based on statistical considerations such as margin of error, confidence level, or power analysis.
  • Create a sampling frame: Develop a list of all individuals or elements in the population from which the sample will be drawn. The sampling frame should be comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date.
  • Select the sample: Use the chosen sampling method to select the sample from the sampling frame. The sample should be selected randomly, or if using a non-random method, every effort should be made to minimize bias and ensure that the sample is representative of the population.
  • Collect data: Once the sample has been selected, collect data from each member of the sample using appropriate research methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations).
  • Analyze the data: Analyze the data collected from the sample to draw conclusions about the population of interest.

When to use Sampling Methods

Sampling methods are used in research when it is not feasible or practical to study the entire population of interest. Sampling allows researchers to study a smaller group of individuals, known as a sample, and use the findings from the sample to make inferences about the larger population.

Sampling methods are particularly useful when:

  • The population of interest is too large to study in its entirety.
  • The cost and time required to study the entire population are prohibitive.
  • The population is geographically dispersed or difficult to access.
  • The research question requires specialized or hard-to-find individuals.
  • The data collected is quantitative and statistical analyses are used to draw conclusions.

Purpose of Sampling Methods

The main purpose of sampling methods in research is to obtain a representative sample of individuals or elements from a larger population of interest, in order to make inferences about the population as a whole. By studying a smaller group of individuals, known as a sample, researchers can gather information about the population that would be difficult or impossible to obtain from studying the entire population.

Sampling methods allow researchers to:

  • Study a smaller, more manageable group of individuals, which is typically less time-consuming and less expensive than studying the entire population.
  • Reduce the potential for data collection errors and improve the accuracy of the results by minimizing sampling bias.
  • Make inferences about the larger population with a certain degree of confidence, using statistical analyses of the data collected from the sample.
  • Improve the generalizability and external validity of the findings by ensuring that the sample is representative of the population of interest.

Characteristics of Sampling Methods

Here are some characteristics of sampling methods:

  • Randomness : Probability sampling methods are based on random selection, meaning that every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. This helps to minimize bias and ensure that the sample is representative of the population.
  • Representativeness : The goal of sampling is to obtain a sample that is representative of the larger population of interest. This means that the sample should reflect the characteristics of the population in terms of key demographic, behavioral, or other relevant variables.
  • Size : The size of the sample should be large enough to provide sufficient statistical power for the research question at hand. The sample size should also be appropriate for the chosen sampling method and the level of precision desired.
  • Efficiency : Sampling methods should be efficient in terms of time, cost, and resources required. The method chosen should be feasible given the available resources and time constraints.
  • Bias : Sampling methods should aim to minimize bias and ensure that the sample is representative of the population of interest. Bias can be introduced through non-random selection or non-response, and can affect the validity and generalizability of the findings.
  • Precision : Sampling methods should be precise in terms of providing estimates of the population parameters of interest. Precision is influenced by sample size, sampling method, and level of variability in the population.
  • Validity : The validity of the sampling method is important for ensuring that the results obtained from the sample are accurate and can be generalized to the population of interest. Validity can be affected by sampling method, sample size, and the representativeness of the sample.

Advantages of Sampling Methods

Sampling methods have several advantages, including:

  • Cost-Effective : Sampling methods are often much cheaper and less time-consuming than studying an entire population. By studying only a small subset of the population, researchers can gather valuable data without incurring the costs associated with studying the entire population.
  • Convenience : Sampling methods are often more convenient than studying an entire population. For example, if a researcher wants to study the eating habits of people in a city, it would be very difficult and time-consuming to study every single person in the city. By using sampling methods, the researcher can obtain data from a smaller subset of people, making the study more feasible.
  • Accuracy: When done correctly, sampling methods can be very accurate. By using appropriate sampling techniques, researchers can obtain a sample that is representative of the entire population. This allows them to make accurate generalizations about the population as a whole based on the data collected from the sample.
  • Time-Saving: Sampling methods can save a lot of time compared to studying the entire population. By studying a smaller sample, researchers can collect data much more quickly than they could if they studied every single person in the population.
  • Less Bias : Sampling methods can reduce bias in a study. If a researcher were to study the entire population, it would be very difficult to eliminate all sources of bias. However, by using appropriate sampling techniques, researchers can reduce bias and obtain a sample that is more representative of the entire population.

Limitations of Sampling Methods

  • Sampling Error : Sampling error is the difference between the sample statistic and the population parameter. It is the result of selecting a sample rather than the entire population. The larger the sample, the lower the sampling error. However, no matter how large the sample size, there will always be some degree of sampling error.
  • Selection Bias: Selection bias occurs when the sample is not representative of the population. This can happen if the sample is not selected randomly or if some groups are underrepresented in the sample. Selection bias can lead to inaccurate conclusions about the population.
  • Non-response Bias : Non-response bias occurs when some members of the sample do not respond to the survey or study. This can result in a biased sample if the non-respondents differ from the respondents in important ways.
  • Time and Cost : While sampling can be cost-effective, it can still be expensive and time-consuming to select a sample that is representative of the population. Depending on the sampling method used, it may take a long time to obtain a sample that is large enough and representative enough to be useful.
  • Limited Information : Sampling can only provide information about the variables that are measured. It may not provide information about other variables that are relevant to the research question but were not measured.
  • Generalization : The extent to which the findings from a sample can be generalized to the population depends on the representativeness of the sample. If the sample is not representative of the population, it may not be possible to generalize the findings to the population as a whole.

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How to Write a Research Paper 

How to Write a Research Paper 

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Updated: May 17, 2024

Most students hate writing research papers. The process can often feel long, tedious, and sometimes outright boring. Nevertheless, these assignments are vital to a student’s academic journey. Want to learn how to write a research paper that captures the depth of the subject and maintains the reader’s interest? If so, this guide is for you.

Today, we’ll show you how to assemble a well-organized research paper to help you make the grade. You can transform any topic into a compelling research paper with a thoughtful approach to your research and a persuasive argument.

In this guide, we’ll provide seven simple but practical tips to help demystify the process and guide you on your way. We’ll also explain how AI tools can expedite the research and writing process so you can focus on critical thinking.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap for tackling these essays. You will also learn how to tackle them quickly and efficiently. With time and dedication, you’ll soon master the art of research paper writing.

Ready to get started?

What Is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a comprehensive essay that gives a detailed analysis, interpretation, or argument based on your own independent research. In higher-level academic settings, it goes beyond a simple summarization and includes a deep inquiry into the topic or topics.

The term “research paper” is a broad term that can be applied to many different forms of academic writing. The goal is to combine your thoughts with the findings from peer-reviewed scholarly literature.

By the time your essay is done, you should have provided your reader with a new perspective or challenged existing findings. This demonstrates your mastery of the subject and contributes to ongoing scholarly debates.

7 Tips for Writing a Research Paper

Often, getting started is the most challenging part of a research paper. While the process can seem daunting, breaking it down into manageable steps can make it easier to manage. The following are seven tips for getting your ideas out of your head and onto the page.

1. Understand Your Assignment

It may sound simple, but the first step in writing a successful research paper is to read the assignment. Sit down, take a few moments of your time, and go through the instructions so you fully understand your assignment.

Misinterpreting the assignment can not only lead to a significant waste of time but also affect your grade. No matter how patient your teacher or professor may be, ignoring basic instructions is often inexcusable.

If you read the instructions and are still confused, ask for clarification before you start writing. If that’s impossible, you can use tools like Smodin’s AI chat to help. Smodin can help highlight critical requirements that you may overlook.

This initial investment ensures that all your future efforts will be focused and efficient. Remember, thinking is just as important as actually writing the essay, and it can also pave the wave for a smoother writing process.

2. Gather Research Materials

Now comes the fun part: doing the research. As you gather research materials, always use credible sources, such as academic journals or peer-reviewed papers. Only use search engines that filter for accredited sources and academic databases so you can ensure your information is reliable.

To optimize your time, you must learn to master the art of skimming. If a source seems relevant and valuable, save it and review it later. The last thing you want to do is waste time on material that won’t make it into the final paper.

To speed up the process even more, consider using Smodin’s AI summarizer . This tool can help summarize large texts, highlighting key information relevant to your topic. By systematically gathering and filing research materials early in the writing process, you build a strong foundation for your thesis.

3. Write Your Thesis

Creating a solid thesis statement is the most important thing you can do to bring structure and focus to your research paper. Your thesis should express the main point of your argument in one or two simple sentences. Remember, when you create your thesis, you’re setting the tone and direction for the entire paper.

Of course, you can’t just pull a winning thesis out of thin air. Start by brainstorming potential thesis ideas based on your preliminary research. And don’t overthink things; sometimes, the most straightforward ideas are often the best.

You want a thesis that is specific enough to be manageable within the scope of your paper but broad enough to allow for a unique discussion. Your thesis should challenge existing expectations and provide the reader with fresh insight into the topic. Use your thesis to hook the reader in the opening paragraph and keep them engaged until the very last word.

4. Write Your Outline

An outline is an often overlooked but essential tool for organizing your thoughts and structuring your paper. Many students skip the outline because it feels like doing double work, but a strong outline will save you work in the long run.

Here’s how to effectively structure your outline.

  • Introduction: List your thesis statement and outline the main questions your essay will answer.
  • Literature Review: Outline the key literature you plan to discuss and explain how it will relate to your thesis.
  • Methodology: Explain the research methods you will use to gather and analyze the information.
  • Discussion: Plan how you will interpret the results and their implications for your thesis.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the content above to elucidate your thesis fully.

To further streamline this process, consider using Smodin’s Research Writer. This tool offers a feature that allows you to generate and tweak an outline to your liking based on the initial input you provide. You can adjust this outline to fit your research findings better and ensure that your paper remains well-organized and focused.

5. Write a Rough Draft

Once your outline is in place, you can begin the writing process. Remember, when you write a rough draft, it isn’t meant to be perfect. Instead, use it as a working document where you can experiment with and rearrange your arguments and evidence.

Don’t worry too much about grammar, style, or syntax as you write your rough draft. Focus on getting your ideas down on paper and flush out your thesis arguments. You can always refine and rearrange the content the next time around.

Follow the basic structure of your outline but with the freedom to explore different ways of expressing your thoughts. Smodin’s Essay Writer offers a powerful solution for those struggling with starting or structuring their drafts.

After you approve the outline, Smodin can generate an essay based on your initial inputs. This feature can help you quickly create a comprehensive draft, which you can then review and refine. You can even use the power of AI to create multiple rough drafts from which to choose.

6. Add or Subtract Supporting Evidence

Once you have a rough draft, but before you start the final revision, it’s time to do a little cleanup. In this phase, you need to review all your supporting evidence. You want to ensure that there is nothing redundant and that you haven’t overlooked any crucial details.

Many students struggle to make the required word count for an essay and resort to padding their writing with redundant statements. Instead of adding unnecessary content, focus on expanding your analysis to provide deeper insights.

A good essay, regardless of the topic or format, needs to be streamlined. It should convey clear, convincing, relevant information supporting your thesis. If you find some information doesn’t do that, consider tweaking your sources.

Include a variety of sources, including studies, data, and quotes from scholars or other experts. Remember, you’re not just strengthening your argument but demonstrating the depth of your research.

If you want comprehensive feedback on your essay without going to a writing center or pestering your professor, use Smodin. The AI Chat can look at your draft and offer suggestions for improvement.

7. Revise, Cite, and Submit

The final stages of crafting a research paper involve revision, citation, and final review. You must ensure your paper is polished, professionally presented, and plagiarism-free. Of course, integrating Smodin’s AI tools can significantly streamline this process and enhance the quality of your final submission.

Start by using Smodin’s Rewriter tool. This AI-powered feature can help rephrase and refine your draft to improve overall readability. If a specific section of your essay just “doesn’t sound right,” the AI can suggest alternative sentence structures and word choices.

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Plagiarism Checker:

All students need to realize that accidental plagiarism can happen. That’s why using a Plagiarism Checker to scan your essay before you submit it is always useful. Smodin’s Plagiarism Checker can highlight areas of concern so you can adjust accordingly.

Final Submission

After revising, rephrasing, and ensuring all citations are in order, use Smodin’s AI Content Detector to give your paper one last review. This tool can help you analyze your paper’s overall quality and readability so you can make any final tweaks or improvements.

Mastering Research Papers

Mastering the art of the research paper cannot be overstated, whether you’re in high school, college, or postgraduate studies. You can confidently prepare your research paper for submission by leveraging the AI tools listed above.

Research papers help refine your abilities to think critically and write persuasively. The skills you develop here will serve you well beyond the walls of the classroom. Communicating complex ideas clearly and effectively is one of the most powerful tools you can possess.

With the advancements of AI tools like Smodin , writing a research paper has become more accessible than ever before. These technologies streamline the process of organizing, writing, and revising your work. Write with confidence, knowing your best work is yet to come!

Study on the sustained release behavior of a slow-release scale-inhibiting material

  • Original Paper
  • Published: 17 May 2024
  • Volume 31 , article number  150 , ( 2024 )

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sample procedure research paper

  • Yang Xiao 1 ,
  • Ruosong Hao 2 &
  • Shicheng Zhao   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7454-7058 1  

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The phenomenon of scaling has caused great damage in many industrial production sites, especially in oil and gas field production equipment, and adding scale inhibitors is currently the most effective and commonly used method. However, this method also has the disadvantage of not being able to continuously and effectively remove scale. When there is too little scale inhibitor, it cannot have the effect of scale inhibition, but excessive scale inhibitor may lead to pseudo scaling and serious pipeline corrosion, or even environmental problems. To solve this problem, in this paper, we designed to use the degradable material polylactic acid (PLA) as the carrier, and mixed PLA with the scale inhibitor ethylenediamine tetramethylene phosphonic acid (EDTMPA) to obtain the sustained-release scale inhibition material. The sustained-release performance of the composite material was investigated through static and dynamic release experiments, and at the same time, the inhibition rate of the scale inhibitor in the process of sustained release was also investigated. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to analyze the morphology of the samples before and after the release of scale inhibitor, and the crystalline phases of calcium carbonate scale samples before and after the addition of scale inhibitors were analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD). The results indicate that the prepared composites can continuously release the scale inhibitors for more than 70 days and have scale inhibition capability throughout the continuous release process. The scale inhibitors released by the slow-release scale-inhibiting materials can both inhibit the formation of calcium carbonate and lead to lattice distortion, resulting in the formation of unstable crystals, which are more likely to be removed by fluid carry away. Therefore, the slow-release scale-inhibiting materials have the ability of continuous scale inhibition. This study provides a new strategy to realize the slow-release of scale inhibitors, and the prepared slow-release scale-inhibiting materials have a broad application prospect in the industry.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of this work by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 21878089).

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Xiao, Y., Hao, R. & Zhao, S. Study on the sustained release behavior of a slow-release scale-inhibiting material. J Polym Res 31 , 150 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10965-024-03991-9

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  4. Data Gathering Procedure |Research Defense

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  6. SAMPLING PROCEDURE AND SAMPLE (QUALITATIVE RESEARCH)

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an APA Methods Section

    Research papers in the social and natural sciences often follow APA style. This article focuses on reporting quantitative research methods. In your APA methods section, you should report enough information to understand and replicate your study, including detailed information on the sample, measures, and procedures used.

  2. How to Write a Methods Section of an APA Paper

    To write your methods section in APA format, describe your participants, materials, study design, and procedures. Keep this section succinct, and always write in the past tense. The main heading of this section should be labeled "Method" and it should be centered, bolded, and capitalized. Each subheading within this section should be bolded ...

  3. How To Write A Research Paper (FREE Template

    Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature. As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question.More specifically, that's called a research question, and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What's important to understand though is that you'll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources - for ...

  4. (PDF) Research Procedures

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the development of research questions in mixed methods studies. First, we discuss the ways that the goal of the study, the research objective(s), and the ...

  5. Research Paper

    The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

  6. PDF Writing Chapter 3 Chapter 3: Methodology

    Instruments. This section should include the instruments you plan on using to measure the variables in the research questions. (a) the source or developers of the instrument. (b) validity and reliability information. •. (c) information on how it was normed. •. (d) other salient information (e.g., number of. items in each scale, subscales ...

  7. How to Write a Research Paper

    This interactive resource from Baylor University creates a suggested writing schedule based on how much time a student has to work on the assignment. "Research Paper Planner" (UCLA) UCLA's library offers this step-by-step guide to the research paper writing process, which also includes a suggested planning calendar.

  8. Research Methodology

    The research methodology is an important section of any research paper or thesis, as it describes the methods and procedures that will be used to conduct the research. It should include details about the research design, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and any ethical considerations.

  9. Sample papers

    The following two sample papers were published in annotated form in the Publication Manual and are reproduced here as PDFs for your ease of use. The annotations draw attention to content and formatting and provide the relevant sections of the Publication Manual (7th ed.) to consult for more information.. Student sample paper with annotations (PDF, 5MB)

  10. Sampling Methods

    1. Simple random sampling. In a simple random sample, every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. Your sampling frame should include the whole population. To conduct this type of sampling, you can use tools like random number generators or other techniques that are based entirely on chance.

  11. APA Methods Section ~ How To Write It With Examples

    The main heading of the APA methods section should be written in bold and should be capitalized. It also has to be centered. All subheadings should be aligned to the left and must be boldfaced. You should select subheadings that are suitable for your essay, and the most commonly used include 'Participants', 'Materials', and 'Procedure'.

  12. APA Sample Paper

    Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader. Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student and professional papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication).

  13. (PDF) Chapter 3 Research Design and Methodology

    Chapter 3. Research Design and Methodology. Chapter 3 consists of three parts: (1) Purpose of the. study and research design, (2) Methods, and (3) Statistical. Data analysis procedure. Part one ...

  14. PDF Chapter 7 SAMPLING PROCEDURES IN RESEARCH

    The quality of a sample depends upon the quality of design and execution of. research project at every stage of the process. Consequently, strict attention must be paid to the planning of the sample. It must also be recognized that sample planning is only one part of planning the total research project. The process of selecting a sample follows ...

  15. Sampling Methods

    The sample should be selected randomly, or if using a non-random method, every effort should be made to minimize bias and ensure that the sample is representative of the population. Collect data: Once the sample has been selected, collect data from each member of the sample using appropriate research methods (e.g., surveys, interviews ...

  16. PDF CHAPTER 3 3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURE

    Interview schedules, observations of lessons, teacher questionnaires, teachers' written reports, video recordings, and document analysis were used to collect qualitative data. The individual teacher's PCK and its development in data handling teaching/statistics constituted the unit of analysis in this study. 3.4 Population and sample ...

  17. CHAPTER 3

    Gustave Flaubert. CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY. 3.1 Introduction. As it is indicated in the title, this chapter includes the research methodology of. the dissertation. In more details, in this ...

  18. How to Write a Research Paper

    You can adjust this outline to fit your research findings better and ensure that your paper remains well-organized and focused. 5. Write a Rough Draft. Once your outline is in place, you can begin the writing process. Remember, when you write a rough draft, it isn't meant to be perfect.

  19. Revolutionizing sample preparation: a novel autonomous microfluidic

    DOI: 10.1039/d4lc00195h Corpus ID: 269401673; Revolutionizing sample preparation: a novel autonomous microfluidic platform for serial dilution. @article{Vloemans2024RevolutionizingSP, title={Revolutionizing sample preparation: a novel autonomous microfluidic platform for serial dilution.}, author={Dries Vloemans and Alexander Pieters and Francesco Dal Dosso and Jeroen Lammertyn}, journal={Lab ...

  20. How to Write a Literature Review

    Examples of literature reviews. Step 1 - Search for relevant literature. Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources. Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps. Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure. Step 5 - Write your literature review.

  21. Study on the sustained release behavior of a slow-release scale

    Where. η is the scale inhibition efficiency, ρ 1 is the final Ca 2+ mass concentration in the solution containing the water treatment agent,. ρ 2 is the final Ca 2+ mass concentration in the blank comparison solution,. ρ is the original Ca 2+ mass concentration in the configuration solution.. Scale sample analysis. The crystal morphology changes of calcium carbonate scale layers with and ...

  22. Clinical considerations on antimicrobial resistance potential of

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of our greatest public health challenges. Targeted use of antibiotics (AB) can reduce the occurrence and spread of AMR and boost the effectiveness of treatment. This requires knowledge of the antibiotic susceptibility (AS) of the pathogens involved in the disease. Therapeutic recommendations based on classical antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) are ...

  23. About Handwashing

    Washing your hands is easy, and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Follow these five steps every time. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and ...

  24. Advancing precision and efficiency in ion chromatography with automated

    The Metrohm 800 Dosino is the key to maintaining the required accuracy and precision in this fully automated process. It is a precise and highly flexible dosing device. With the MagIC Net IC software, all the liquid handling and dosing tasks are controlled and entirely automated - with no need for manual intervention. Table 1.

  25. Hello GPT-4o

    Prior to GPT-4o, you could use Voice Mode to talk to ChatGPT with latencies of 2.8 seconds (GPT-3.5) and 5.4 seconds (GPT-4) on average. To achieve this, Voice Mode is a pipeline of three separate models: one simple model transcribes audio to text, GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 takes in text and outputs text, and a third simple model converts that text back to audio.