Reviewer Guidelines for Methods Papers

Research Methods are manuscripts that describe the objectives and methodologies for multi-year interventions whose aims are to change nutrition and/or physical activity behavior and/or related physiological outcomes, such as BMI or blood glucose. Research Methods are expected to have protocols that have already undergone review external to the author's institution (federal or national agencies) prior to funding. Although Results are not included in Research Methods, a Discussion should include a brief summary of potential limitations and expected benefits or outcomes.

A structured abstract of 200 words or less organizes information with descriptive headings similar to those of a Research Article.

The abstract should include:
  • Objective: Specifies the primary purpose or objective(s) of the study and/or hypotheses tested.
  • Design: Describes the basic research design, methods used to collect data, timing and sequence of intervention, and data collection.
  • Setting: Describes the study setting.
  • Participants: States the number of participants or subjects/objects of observation by group and subgroup and describes how they will be selected.
  • Intervention(s): Describes the essential features of the intervention(s), including setting, methods, and duration.
  • Main Outcome Measure(s): Specifies dependent and independent variables and describes how each variable will be measured.
  • Analysis: Summarizes how data will be analyzed quantitatively and/or qualitatively and specifies the level used to determine statistical significance of quantitative results.

Research Methods include the following major sections:

Introduction: Should explain the rationale for the study and present the hypotheses.

Methods: Should explain research design, intervention, recruitment, number of subjects, main and secondary outcomes, evaluation, and statistics in enough detail to be replicated.

Discussion:Should describe the protocol’s strengths and limitations as described to funding agencies.

They should not include sections for Results or Implications for Research and Practice.

The future tense of verbs is used throughout Research Methods.