I am a little confused about the following structure which is now demanded by many journals: Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion (IMRAD).

It seems difficult to use. For example, equations. If I write some equation stuff, showing the derivation of a formula from the motivation to the goal, this is not compatible with either the Methods section (what I am doing) or the Results section (what have I found). The derivation of equation is both, it shows the way how to get the results, you can not simply divide this into what I have done and what have I found. How should I include these?

I think I am more in line with older paper style, that does not bother about a specific structure.

Also, what about multiple experiments? Should I really use "method A, method B, method C" and then "result A, result B, result C" for the experiments A, B, C? This completely destroys the reading flow.

  • Are journals really "demanding" that submitted papers stick to the IMRAD structure? In most fields, this is extremely difficult to achieve in an accomplished manner.
    – user136193
    Aug 4, 2021 at 15:16
  • Yes, they actually demand it as far as I can tell. Aug 4, 2021 at 15:19
  • So, IMRAD is for experimental research. Not for mathematical research. Nor for other, similar, research.
    – GEdgar
    Aug 4, 2021 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


tl;dr: Make IMRaD per-experiment/section, not overall, with an overall introduction and conclusion/discussion.

I think you are overly strict in your interpretation. The form given is for papers with a simpler structure in which there is a single methodology leading to a single result. Putting a lot of separate methodology "sections" at the beginning makes no sense to a reader and complicates understanding. It would also be contrary to the stated purpose of IMRaD, which is to follow the normal process of experimental science.

One solution is to split the paper in to several so that it is easier to achieve the form. That makes sense for a lot of work.

But if the various experiments need to be collected together in a singe paper, then a section of the paper for each experiment can follow the form, rather than the overall paper. That is to say IMRaD is per section, not for the paper as a whole. Or per-experiment, if you like, which is the intent of it all.

Still better, perhaps, but depending on the work, is a single introduction for the whole and a final discussion bringing it all together, with the sections independently discussing individual research question/hypothesis, methodology, results, and conclusions.

Also, don't forget that you need to say something about the execution of the methodology for each individual hypothesis.

See the caveats here.

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