Manuscript Writing

IMRaD manuscript structure

IMRaD refers to the standard structure of the body of research manuscripts (after the Title and Abstract). This consists of Introduction, Materials/Methods, Results, Discussion/Conclusions. This standard structure:

  1. Gives a logical flow to the content.

  2. Makes journal manuscripts consistent and easy to read.

  3. Provides a “map” so that readers can quickly find the content of interest in any manuscript.

  4. Reminds authors what content should be included in an article.

  5. Provides all content needed for the work to be replicated and reproduced.

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 recommended strategy is to write your manuscript in the following order:

  1. Materials and Methods

  2. Results: You can write these first, as you are doing your experiments and collecting the results.

  3. Introduction

  4. Discussion

  5. Conclusion: Write these sections next, once you have had a chance to analyze your results, have a sense of their impact, and have decided on the journal you think best suits the work.

  6. Title & Abstract

Writing a manuscript | Authors | Springer Nature. (2022). Retrieved 14 March 2022, from

elements to include/avoid in the Introduction section

Elements to include in the introduction:

  • The introduction section should have a clear road map (flow). Start broadly and then narrow down. The introduction should be written using the simple present tense.

  • Background information needed to understand your study.

  • Cite studies related to your study. Should be strongly related to your research question (Relevant). Should be updated, and cited studies are not more than 10 years old if possible. Although be sure to cite the first discovery or mention in the literature even if it is older than 10 years (Current). Should be well balanced, If experiments have found conflicting results on a question, you cite studies with both kinds of results. Cite thoroughly but not excessively.

  • Reasons why you conducted your experiments. What question/problem did you study?. Tell the reader the purpose of your study. Usually, the reason is to fill a gap in the knowledge or to answer a previously unanswered question. Clearly state either your hypothesis or research question.

  • The final thing to include at the end of your Introduction is a clear and exact statement of your study aims.

Elements to avoid in the introduction:

  • Failing to follow the “introduction” road map (No flow). A huge part of writing well lies in creating flow. Flow means that the reader can easily follow from one sentence to the next one without getting stuck. it’s a good idea to map out the introduction before writing it.

  • Do not write a literature review in your Introduction, but do cite reviews where readers can find more information if they want it. Providing too much background/literature/theory is not recommended.

  • Using too long paragraphs or sentences.

  • Avoid giving too many citations for one point.

  • The research question is too vague, too broad, or not specified.

  • Avoid mysterious, and confounding expressions. Construct clear sentences.

  • Avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism encompasses copying of someone else’s work or ideas without proper reference and present it as an own piece of work. It is considered as academic misconduct.

Writing a manuscript | Authors | Springer Nature. (2022). Retrieved 14 March 2022, from

elements to include/avoid in the discussion section

Elements to include in discussion:

  • State the study's major findings.

  • Explain the meaning and importance of the findings.

  • Relate the findings to those of similar studies.

  • Consider alternative explanations of the findings.

  • State the clinical relevance of the findings.

  • Acknowledge the study's limitations.

  • Make suggestions for further research.

Elements to avoid in discussion:

  • Over-presentation of the results.

  • Unwarranted speculation.

  • Inflation of the importance of the findings.

  • Tangential issues.

  • The "bully pulpit".

  • Conclusions that are not supported by the data.

  • Inclusion of the "take-home message"; save this for the conclusions section.

By Dean R Hess - How to Write an Effective Discussion - 2004