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Methods (m3)

In the modular version, all methods are gathered in the complex Methods module. This implies that all methods are labelled as such, allowing readers to locate them under that heading. The different methods are used in different stages of the problem-solving process; therefore the reader of the original version encounters them in different sections. 

In a modular, hypertext environment, representing the different methods in a complex Methods module does not imply that readers have to consult those methods in conjunction: each particular Results and Interpretation module is connected to the appropriate constituent module of the Methods by means of a link expressing the fact that the result or the interpretation depends on that particular method. In addition, the essay-type route connects subsequent modules regardless of their covering complex module. In particular in the map of contents A08-m1c, it is shown clearly that the essay-type route visits the Methods modules at different stages (see figures A08-m1c-F1 and A08-m1c-F2).

The coherence of the complex module is made clear in the  module summary, which briefly summarises the constituent modules and expresses the relations between them. The coherence can be made clear only when the methods are put into the perspective of the central problem of the article. Because the complex module Methods includes both the experimental and the theoretical (and in some articles numerical) methods, the module summary covers a large part of the article. In A08, for example, the module summary of A08-m3 describes the particular reaction that was studied (differential cross section of chemi-ionisation of sodium atoms-iodine atoms), the particular experimental method used to do so (beam techniques), and the particular theory (semi-classical atom-atom model). These concepts are included in almost every module in the article, in different combination and in more or in less detail. Thus, the module summary overlaps a lot with its own constituent modules, with the Results module summary, with the Interpretation module summary and with the `summarising' modules Positioning and Findings.

As stated in section 5.2.2, the requirement for efficiency causes tension, between the need for sufficient detail and the need to avoid redundancy. In science, the basics of most of the methods are available and it is generally accepted that they are useful. Scientists use these methods in their research, and in a particular article they describe how they have specified and applied the methods, also discussing the applicability of the methods to the problem at hand.5.17 In the original articles, The `standard' methods themselves are not described in full detail. Therefore, the methods take up a relatively small part of scientific articles [Swales, 1990], [Buxton and Meadows, 1978]. However, the article is required to provide the readers with enough information to repeat the work, or at least to understand it and judge its reliability. Thus, the methods are obvious candidates for a representation in a mesoscopic  or even a macroscopic  module.  

In the modularised articles the experimental set-up and the theoretical models and calculation techniques are represented in mesoscopic modules Experimental methods MESO-m3a and Theoretical methods MESO-m3c. The microscopic constituent modules of the Methods present the details that are specific to the article at hand and provide a brief summary of the method, for the sake of the self-containedness of the microscopic module.   Therefore, the constituent modules of the Methods overlap with the mesoscopic modules that they refer to, but that overlap is not literal. These modules do not overlap massively with other modules in the article.



 
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