IMRAD – an aid for research and information structure in a text

Researching and creating an idea isn’t easy – you also need to know how to coherently pass on information to someone else. A great help can be the so-called IMRAD structure of a research article, which stands for Introduction, Methods, Results, Analysis and Discussion.  

What do the individual elements mean for your writing? 


The introduction truly introduces the reader to the issue of your work. This means it’s necessary to explain the motivation for researching the topic and what its contribution will be, and also to introduce the question or questions that you’ve asked. 

A part of the introduction (or just after it) is introducing the context. This means finding relevant authors and studies that deal with the given area and describing how they’ve approached it and what results they’ve had.  

Here it’s also necessary to explain how you understand the given area. This is sometimes done with the use of complex dictionary definitions, which don’t necessarily have to be the best strategy – definitions represent a certain dominating idea about a given matter. You can take a different path, i.e. that of describing selected authors and their ideas that your understanding and view of the matter also stem from.  

  • What is the topic, goal and problem of the work? Why is there sense in studying it?  
  • What is the contemporary state of knowledge on the topic? Who has written something about it, and what?  
  • What research question have you established?  


In methods, it’s necessary to coherently convey the way in which you’ve reached your results. You should describe your approach as best as possible. This points to your objectivity and the credibility of information that stems from it. It’s basically enough to answer these six questions:  

  • How did you answer the question? Using qualitative or quantitative methods?  
  • What tools helped you do this? An interview or a questionnaire?  
  • How did you collect data? How did you choose the people you examined?  
  • What was the sample? Who did you ask and why them? In what number?  
  • How did you process the data? What did you do with the interviews or questionnaires?  
  • How did you ensure research ethics? For example, was the questionnaire anonymous?  


In results, you’ll write down what you learned using the given method. This means what percentage of students responded to a given question in the questionnaire or what people said when you asked them the question. Be careful – not everything you’ve found out will fit here. You’ll only select data that most corresponds to your goal and answering your question. 

  • What data did you acquire? What kind of answers did you collect?  
  • How are they related to answering your question? 

Analysis and discussion 

Analysis and discussion deal with results. With qualitative research, these sections can be linked. This means that you look at what you’ve found and try to infer what it means, what it is linked to, and what it shows. You play with thoughts and points out sources that you’ve read. Is it linked to them? Does it correspond? Or does it contradict?  


In conclusion, it’s necessary to help readers finish the thoughts that you’ve used to guide them. What arises from the work? What are the three most important things? The conclusion should be friends with the introduction – if someone reads these two sections only, they should still understand the main idea of what the text is about.  

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