Structured Format and Content - From a Research Project to a Journal Article - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

Structured Format and Content
From a Research Project to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types

In developing a manuscript for a research publication, researchers need to use the traditional format, language, and style that researchers use in reporting their study. The manuscript needs to briefly and clearly describe the study. It needs to follow a set of principles in a logically and efficient way that includes a title, an abstract, and four sections that consist of introduction, methodology, results, and discussion (IMRaD). In 1979 the American National Standards Institute adopted Standard Z39, which established IMRaD as the official standard for presenting scientific information that is in common use. Figure 7.1 explains the IMRaD format (Annesley, 2010c).

Fig. 7.1 IMRaD structure for a quantitative report

Activity 7.2: Applying the IMRaD Structure

Select a quantitative manuscript in development, one that has been rejected, or a publisher journal article. Use the questions Fig. 7.1 to evaluate its adherence to the IMRaD structure. What strengths and weaknesses did you identify?

Online Tool

Richard Jewell has advice on writing papers using the IMRaD structure and several sample papers in Chapter 50, posted at:

The IMRaD format is generally used to report original quantitative research. It offers an appropriate and systematic interpretation of a research study to help readers identify what is known, what is not known, and why the study was conducted (Introduction); who the subjects were, what materials/instruments and procedures were used, how the determined using the materials/instruments and procedures (Methodology); what was learned (Results), and what significance and meaning of the study has (Discussion) (Todorovic, 2003). To address each of these questions, a research manuscript needs several components, which are found in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1

General components of quantitative research article




Would readers understand the nature of the research study and determine if they wish to read it from the title?


Would readers know what the study was about from a brief description of the study?

Would readers understand the study from a summary that ranges between 200 and 300 words?

Would readers identify the relevance in the study based on the key words that are used for indexing purposes and on-line searches of databases?


Do the brief descriptions of previous related studies support the current research?

Does the theoretical framework justify the need for the current research study?

Does the introduction conclude with the hypotheses or research questions and the purpose of the study?


Does it include a description of everything that is needed to replicate the study?

Does it explain and justify the methodology that was used?

Does it describe procedures, materials, measures, analyses, and subjects that are used (including ethics and consent)?

Does it describe and justify the sample size calculation?

Does it describe and justify the statistics used to analyze the data?


Do they describe all findings (including significant, negative, and non-significant results)?

Do they complement the description of the outcomes with appropriate tables, graphs, and figures?


Does it emphasize the major findings and compares them with findings from previous related studies?

Does it discuss any limitations of the study?

Does it provide recommendations for future research and practice?


Do they provide complete references that were cited in the text?

Do they use the current edition of the APA manual to cite references in text and to list them in the references’ section?