We all know that feeling…writing a manuscript and using the same words over and over again. Sometimes it’s really difficult to think of alternatives, especially when you’re trying to describe complex scientific protocols in the materials and methods section.
We have put together a huge list of useful words for materials and methods sections. Originally we intended to list at least 100, but we just kept adding more and more, and we’re not finished yet! The list is currently over 160 words long, and still growing.
Both UK and US English spelling variations are provided in the list. All of the words are listed in the past tense, as this is normally the correct style for the materials and methods section. Each word has a short example of correct use, but most words can be used in a variety of other ways.
1. Activated: The reaction was activated by incubation at 100 °C
2. Added: …5 mL NaOH was added to the solution
3. Adjusted: …and the pH was adjusted to 7.5
4. Air-dried: …and the samples were air-dried for 24 h
5. Allocated: The animals were randomly allocated to three groups
6. Amplified: DNA was amplified using Taq polymerase
7. Analyzed / analysed: All data was analysed using the Student’s t-test
8. Anesthetised /anesthetized: The rats were anesthetised using ketamine
9. Applied: …and primary antibody was applied
10. Assayed: Luciferase activity was assayed using the Dual Luciferase assay kit
11. Autoclaved: The solutions were autoclaved at 121 °C for 20 min
12. Baked: ….the slides were baked at 200 °C for 1 h
13. Blocked: The membrane was blocked in TBS-T containing 5% non-fat milk
14. Boiled: The sample was boiled at 95°C for 5 min
15. Caged: The rats were caged individually
16. Calculated: The chlorophyll content was calculated as described in .
17. Centrifuged: The sample was centrifuged at 13,000 rpm for 15 min
18. Chilled: … chilled at 4 °C for 24 h, ….
19. Classified: The patients were classified into two groups based on p53 expression
20. Coated: The slides were coated with 3% APES in methanol
21. Collected: The cells were collected by centrifugation
22. Combined: The samples were combined for analysis
23. Constructed: The pEDGT vector was constructed using site-directed mutagenesis
24. Containing: …, washed in PBS containing 1% Tween-20
25. Cooled: The reaction was cooled
26. Correlated: The levels of P53 expression were correlated with EGFR expression
27. Counterstained: …. and counterstained with haematoxylin.
28. Covered: …. and leaves were covered with foil
29. Created: The pEYTH plasmid was created by PCR
30. Cultured: E. coli were cultured overnight at 37 °C
31. Defined: Pre-diabetes was defined as an impaired glucose tolerance test in the last 6 months.
32. Denatured: The DNA was denatured at 94 °C for 15 min
33. Designed: Primers were designed to quantify p53 and EGFR
34. Detected: Antibody binding was detected using enhanced chemiluminescence
35. Determined: The rate of the reaction was determined as described by Smith et al.
36. Developed: The staining intensity was developed by incubation in 5% copper sulphate solution
37. Dialysed / Dialyzed: The sample was dialysed against 2M NaCl
38. Diluted: The sample was diluted to a final volume of 10 ml
39. Discarded: The supernatant was discarded
40. Dissected: Tumours were dissected from the normal tissue
41. Dissolved: Ampicillin was dissolved in water
42. Donated: The plasmids and p53 antibody were donated by Prof. J Smith.
43. Dried: The leaves were dried
44. Driven: Gene expression was driven by the CMV promoter
45. Electrophoresed: The samples were electrophoresed on 12% SDS-PAGE gels
46. Eliminated: Patients with Stage IV breast cancer were eliminated from the survival analysis
47. Elongated: The PCR product was elongated at 72 °C for 10 min
48. Embedded: The liver and kidney samples were embedded in paraffin
49. Estimated: Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method
50. Euthanized: The animals were euthanized after 24 days
51. Excised: HPRT was excised from the plasmid using Bam HI
52. Expressed: Human CRCX2 was expressed in HeLa cells
53. Extracted: DNA was extracted using the phenol:chloroform method
54. Extrapolated: The curve was extrapolated to determine the intersection of the y-axis
55. Fed: Animals were fed a high-fat diet
56. Filtered: The solution was sterile filtered at 0.2 µM
57. Fixed: The tissues were fixed in paraformaldehyde
58. Followed: …30 cycles of 94°c for 1 min, 60°c for 1 min and 72°c for 1 min, followed by 72°c for 15 min
59. Frozen: The samples were snap frozen in liquid nitrogen
60. Genotyped: The mice were genotyped using PCR
61. Graphed: The data was graphed using Microsoft Excel
62. Ground: The leaves were ground in a pestle and mortar
63. Grouped: The patients were grouped according to tumour stage
64. Harvested: Cells were harvested by scraping
65. Homogenized: The tissues were homogenised
66. Housed: Mice were housed individually under a 12 h light / dark cycle
67. Identified: Disease history was identified from medical records
68. Illuminated: The plants were illuminated using red light
69. Imaged: The sections were imaged by confocal microscopy
70. Immersed: Slides were immersed in fixative for 10 min
71. Incubated: Cells were incubated at 37 °C for 3 days
72. Indicated: The presence of fluorescent labelling indicated DNA damage
73. Infused: The drug was infused at 1 mL/min
74. Inhibited: The reaction was inhibited by addition of 2 mL of 1 M EDTA
75. Initiated: The reaction was initiated by addition of Taq Polymerase
76. Injected: The rats were injected with the drug or control saline solution
77. Inoculated: LB broth was inoculated with 100 µL bacterial supernatant and cultured for 24 h
78. Inserted: The FLOX gene was inserted downstream of the CMV promoter
79. Interrogated: The database was interrogated to identify miR-129 target genes
80. Interviewed: Patients were interviewed to collect a full medical history
81. Investigated: Gene expression was investigated using real-time PCR
82. Isolated: Plasmid DNA was isolated using standard methods
83. Labelled: Cells were labelled with a CD34 antibody
84. Loaded: The protein samples were loaded on 1% agarose gels
85. Localised / localized: Staining was localized to the nucleus
86. Lysed: Cells were lysed in RIPA buffer
87. Magnified: The samples were magnified for further analysis
88. Mated: Heterozygous male mice were mated with wild-type females
89. Measured: Gene expression was measured using real-time RT-PCR
90. Mixed: Developing solution was added, mixed and used for…
91. Modelled: The data was modelled using a system of partial differential equations
92. Neutralised / neutralized: The reaction was neutralised by addition of 5 mL of 2 M HCl
93. Normalised / normalized: The data was normalized to achieve a standard distribution
94. Observed: Cell migration was observed at 24 h, 48 h and 72 h
95. Obtained: Twenty six glioma samples were obtained from patients undergoing surgery
96. Pelleted: Cells were pelleted by centrifugation
97. Performed: Analysis was performed according to the method of Jones et al. (1996).
98. Picked: Individual colonies were picked using sterile loops
99. Plated: HeLa cells were plated in 30 mm-diameter dishes
100. Plotted: Data was plotted using SPSS software
101. Precipitated: The DNA was precipitated by addition of 15 mL isopropanol
102. Prepared: The samples were prepared as previously described (23).
103. Probed: Membranes were probed with DIG-labelled probes
104. Programmed: PCR was performed using a thermocycler programmed for …
105. Purchased: The CD34 antibody was purchased from Cell Signaling
106. Purified: The plant extract was purified using the method of Jones at al. (2005).
107. Quantified: The bands were quantified using the Gel Doc System
108. Queried: The database was queried using the following search terms:
109. Radio-labelled: Proteins were radio-labelled with P32
110. Reacted: After the enzyme and tissue had reacted, the solutions..
111. Received: All patients received MRI and CT scans
112. Recorded: The data was recorded in Excel
113. Recovered: The DNA was recovered by isopropanol precipitation
114. Recruited: Two hundred type 2 diabetes patients were recruited for this study
115. Removed: The leaves were removed 6 h after treatment
116. Represented: Using the formula of Jones et al., the gradient can be represented as x – y / t
117. Resected: The tumours were resected, then the patients…
118. Resuspended: HeLa cells were resuspended in serum-free media
119. Reverse-transcribed: Total RNA was reverse-transcribed to cDNA
120. Rinsed: The pellet was rinsed in PBS
121. Sampled: Five leaves were sampled from each tree at 3 h intervals
122. Saturated: The membranes were statured with 100% ethanol
123. Scored: Staining was scored as previously described
124. Scraped: The cells were scraped into lysis buffer
125. Sectioned: Tumour blocks were sectioned at 10 µm
126. Stained: Sections were stained using hematoxylin and eosin
127. Selected: Based on the pilot study, 200 mM cisplatin was selected for further experiments
128. Semi-quantitatively scored: Immunostaining was semi-quantitatively scored
129. Separated: Proteins were separated on using a SDS-PAGE gel
130. Shaved: The skin was shaved before surgery
131. Sized: Bands were sized using a DNA ladder
132. Soaked: The membrane was soaked in 100% methanol
133. Spread: Bacterial suspension was spread on LB agar plates
134. Staged: The patients were staged according to the WHO criteria
135. Standardised / Standardized: The assay was standardised by including the standard curve in each replicate
136. Sterilised / Sterilized: The slides were sterilised by baking at 200°C
137. Stirred: then 5 ml EDTA was added, stirred, and the solution was…
138. Stored: The solution was stored at room temperature
139. Stratified: The patients were stratified according to tumour stage
140. Subjected: Samples were subjected to Western blotting
141. Supplemented: DMEM media supplemented with 10% foetal calf serum
142. Sutured: Skin was sutured and the animals were allowed to recover
143. Swabbed: Skin was swabbed with 70% EtOH before surgery
144. Termed: The pcDNA-EGFR plasmid, termed pEGFR in this study,
145. Terminated: The reaction was terminated by addition of 5 ml EDTA
146. Tested: Our hypothesis was tested by investigating the …
147. Titrated: The solution was titrated against 2 M HCl
148. Transferred: Proteins were transferred to PVDF membrane,
149. Transformed: Data was transformed to achieve a normal distribution
150. Treated: Cells were treated with 0, 10, 20 and 30 mM 5-FU for 24 h
151. Trimmed: Frozen blocks were trimmed and sectioned
152. Undergoing: Normal tissues were obtained from patients undergoing tonsillectomy
153. Underwent: All patients received liver ultrasound and CT scans
154. Used: Leaf samples were used for DNA extraction
155. Viewed: Sections were viewed using a light microscope
156. Visualised / visualized: Staining was visualised using DAB
157. Vortexed: The solution was vortexed for 30 s
158. Washed: Sections were washed in TBS-T
159. Weighed: Leaves were weighed
160. Wetted: The drug was wetted with EtOH before it was dissolved in water
Hopefully you will find this list of words really useful for your materials and methods sections.
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