Carnegie Mellon University

IMRD: A Structure for Technical and Scientific Papers

Organizing your scientific research paper can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never written a formal research article before. Luckily, readers in a wide variety of fields ranging from mechanical engineering to chemistry will expect the same basic structure. After examining thousands of different papers, research has isolated four main sections that many technical papers have in common:

  1. Introduction
  2. Methods
  3. Results
  4. Discussion

Together, these four sections are known as IMRD. By following a general IMRD structure, you can ensure your audience can find the information they’re looking for.

In this handout, you’ll learn:

  • The basic types of information to include and questions to answer in each section
  • Which sections audiences generally read the most
  • How much time you should devote to each section in your abstract

To explore this structure more, along with its specific applications, check out our handouts in the sidebar above. 

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