References and Appendices
ProcedureThe procedure is the narrative of the experiment. This section outlines what actually happened in the experiment from begining to end. The description must be a full and comprehensive one. The rule outlined earlier, that the method section must give enough information to allow someone else to repeat your experiment exactly as you did it, is especially important here. This is best shown by an example
Participants gathered in a large room in groups of 20 at an appointed time (each condition was run at a different time). They were told that they were taking part in a experiment on verbal memory and that they would first be told about a memory inproving technique (this was missed out on the control condition). The particpants were then either briefed about the mnemonic they were to use, (Method of Loci or Counting depending on the condition they were in),or were given a brief talk on memory (the control condition)...
As can be seen from the short excert above, the procedure should describe fully how the participants were exposed to the different levels of the independent variable and how the dependent variable was collected.
Common problemsThe most common problem with this section is the style: many students write this subsection as if it were the instruction that were given to participants. It isn't, it is an outline of what happened within the experiment, and should be written from the viewpoint of the experimenter. This having been said the detials of the instructions to participants should be included. Also because this section is what happened in the experiment, it should be written in the past tense. This seems obvious but 60% of students in second year still write this section in present or future tense.