U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Ecosphere. 2023;14:e4539.

DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.4539


U.S. government work


The Methods section is a key component of any ecology research publication containing detailed information on how the data were collected and analyzed. However, descriptions of which statistical methods were used and how they were applied can substantially vary and may not provide enough information for the analyses to be reproducible. Computational and statistical programming advances have allowed ecological researchers without a strong statistical or mathematical background to access and use increasingly complex statistical methods. Thus, statistical methods are written by and need to be accessible to researchers across a range of quantitative expertise. Poorly written Methods sections can incorrectly inflate the strength of or call into question the results of an analysis. Although there are resources available, we have not found one that is specific to writing statistical methods, includes all the elements we discuss, and is targeted for ecologists. Here we provide guidelines for ecological researchers when writing statistical methods and review frequent errors made in Statistical Methods sections. We highlight some common dos and don’ts when writing Statistical Methods sections and present a simple checklist to help guide authors with their writing to ensure reproducibility. We illustrate the use of this guidance with two examples.