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Overview of IMRaD structure

IMRaD refers to the standard structure of the body of scientific manuscripts (after the Title and Abstract):

  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion and Conclusions

Not all journals use these section titles in this order, but most published articles have a structure similar to IMRaD. This standard structure:

  • Gives a logical flow to the content
  • Makes journal manuscripts predictable and easy to read
  • Provides a “map” so that readers can quickly find content of interest in any manuscript
  • Reminds authors what content should be included

BUT… although the sections of the journal manuscript are published in the order: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion, this is NOT the best order for writing the sections of a manuscript. One strategy is to write your manuscript in the following order:

  • 1. Materials and Methods
  • 2. Results

These can be written first, as you are doing your experiments and collecting the results.

  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. Discussion
  • 5. Conclusion

Write these sections next, once you have decided on your target journal.

  • 6. Title
  • 7. Abstract

Write your Title and Abstract based on all the other sections

Following this order will help you write a logical and consistent manuscript.

Use the different sections of a manuscript to ‘tell a story’ about your research and its implications.

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