Chapter 2

The Sections of a Research Article

If you’ve ever read or written almost any type of academic document, you might have noticed that they start with introductions and end with conclusions. However, research articles – as a genre – have other consistent sections as well. The complete list of sections for research articles include the following:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion/Conclusion

A common acronym for teaching the sections of a research article is IMRD/C. In this book, we will focus heavily on helping you understand each of those IMRD/C sections’ various pieces, including their communicative goals and strategies you can use to achieve those goals. We will also use a visual of an hourglass to demonstrate this IMRD/C organizational structure.

Visual depiction of the sections of a research article in the shape of an hourglass. The beginning (introduction) and end (discussion/conclusion) sections are the broader parts of the hourglass while the Methods and Results constitute the more specific middle sections.

We hope that this graphic along with the explanations and examples in Chapters 3-6 will allow you to deepen your understanding of research writing and become a more successful author.

Next, we’ll investigate each part of a research article from a big-picture perspective, starting with an exploration of the term “research.”


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Preparing to Publish by Sarah Huffman; Elena Cotos; and Kimberly Becker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.