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Hello, this is Satu again. In this video I'm going to talk
about the basic IMRaD structure. Some of you have probably seen
the acronym IMRaD before. But if you haven't,
you need to know what it means and what disciplines use IMRaD structure
in essays and research papers. IMRaD is an acronym that stands for
introduction, methods, results, and discussion. It's the most commonly used format for
scientific papers or papers that are based on
experimental studies. In fact, in some disciplines,
medicine, for instance, the IMRaD structure is pretty much the
only format used for writing up papers. If we think about it, the IMRaD structure bares much in common
with a typical three part essay structure. It has an introduction; the methods and
results make up the body, and the conclusion consists
of the discussion part. So, let's now work through each of the
component parts of an IMRaD paper in turn. Firstly of course,
we have the introduction. If you want a neat formula for structuring
the introductory part of your essay, I'd recommend turning to
John Swales' CARS model. CARS is another acronym that stands for
creating a research space, and the module maps out the moves
that an introduction typically makes. According to Swales' ecological metaphor,
we writers are like plants competing for space, water,
and nutrients in an ecosystem. We need to find a place to grow,
create a gap in this space, and then occupy the space. According to the CARS model, the first move in an introduction
should be to establish your territory. This often means making some
sort of claim to centrality which tells your reader why this area
is interesting and worthy of research. Reviewing previous work that is of
relevance and making general claims about your topic can also be considered
part of staking out your territory. What you should aim to do at
this stage is position yourself in relation to previous work. Move two, according to the CARS model,
involves establishing your own niche. To do this, you might counter some
claims that other researchers have made. Maybe you will raise some sort of problem
that needs an answer, a problem that previous work has not been able to solve,
or the solutions are somehow incomplete. Or they introduce a number of new
problems that also need to be solved. Or perhaps you might indicate a gap
where there is lack of research. It might also be valid to just
claim that you are continuing or developing an existing tradition. Perhaps your goal is to apply someone
else's ideas to new material. In the final move of the introduction,
move three of the CARS model, you need to occupy the space
that you've staked out. You need to plant yourself in the soil. Here you will present
a statement of purpose, that is, the main claim that you
will make in your paper. It's usual at this point to provide some
sort of outline of the rest of the essay or research article, a sort of
blueprint or mapping statement, and perhaps make a claim about the broader
significance of your research. In other words, state how it
will contribute to discussions of the topic more broadly speaking. Basically, you should be
trying to convince your reader of the importance of your work. Because the introductory part of an IMRaD
essay or research paper involves positioning and persuasion, the chances
are you will find yourself using more of the active voice than when it
comes to the method section for instance. This is because what you do in comparison
to what other researchers have done is important. So as you can see,
when it comes to the introduction, we have not deviated too far from
the typical three part essay. The next two parts of the IMRaD essay,
the method part and the results part,
are in effect the main body of the paper. The main purpose of the method section
is to convince your target audience that the way you've gone about collecting your
results, the materials that you used to support your main claim and
the possible subclaims is valid. What did you do? How did you do it, and
what materials did you use? Did you have any problems? And if you did, how did you solve them? It's important to make sure
that the materials that you use meet what rhetorician
Richard Fulkerson calls, and yes we have another acronym coming up,
the STAR criteria. STAR stands for sufficiency,
typicality, accuracy, and relevance. The idea is that you should
collect enough materials so that they truly support your claims. The materials should be representative and
typical of what you're studying. The materials should be accurate and
up-to-date. And finally, they should be relevant
to the claims that you're making in your essay or research paper. Because you are reporting
what you have done, it's common to use mostly the past
tense in the passive voice. For instance, the experiment was
conducted by doing X, Y, and Z, or the materials were
collected in this way or that way. The results section, the R in the acronym IMRaD, is where
you present the findings of your study. This is the most important
section of your paper, as this is where you can show what
it is that you've actually found. This is your contribution to the field. It might seem that reporting your
findings is a simple task, but things are not always as
simple as they may seem. As the author, it's up to you to decide
what results you want to present and what the order in which you
want to present them is. So that some of the results get
foregrounded while others get backgrounded. Presenting your results
in a particular way, or in a particular order is part of telling
a bigger story of your research. Some things are more
important than others, and some of your findings are more
conclusive or novel than others. In your results section, you may
find yourself having to use visuals, such as tables, figures,
diagrams, charts, or drawings, to help tell the particular
story that you want to tell. Here you have the added dilemma
of how to comment on your data within the running text. You don't simply want to retell what
any reader can decipher themselves from the visuals that you've included
in this part of your essay. But you want to be showing
the results to your audience in view of your particular stance. This leads us on neatly to
the discussion part of your paper. And this is where you should,
as the name suggests, discuss and interpret your findings and connect them to previous research
on the topic that is of relevance. If you think about the shape
of the introduction, the discussion section turns
the funnel shape on its head. Instead of starting with a broad context
and narrowing down to your specific purpose, the discussion section typically
begins by restating your main findings. And then broadens out to discuss
the significance of these results to the field at large. Just as it's possible to determine
certain set moves in the introduction, a pattern of moves can also be determined
in the case of the discussion. John Swales and Christine Feak have mapped
these out into the following five stages. The first move appears in some,
but not all papers, and this is the presentation
of background information. Move 2 is the obligatory
summarizing of key results. Move 3 is where the actual
discussion of results takes place. And sometimes it might be necessary to
mention the limitations of your study, which is move 4. And finally, move 5 is the place
to suggest further research or broader implications. Whilst I was talking, you might have
already asked yourself, but hang on, how can I possibly present my results
without commenting on them there and then? If this was a thought that
occurred to you, then yes, you're on to something here. Sometimes the essay guidelines you
receive from your teacher will stipulate that you have to adhere strictly
to the IMRaD structure. But you might also be allowed to use
some variation of the structure. For instance, many disciplines
tend to combine the results and discussion section to get around
the problem of having rather brutally divide findings from
interpretations of these findings. It's also common to see
a conclusion as a separate section after the discussion part. Other common variations include the
addition of a separate literature review or theory section after the introduction. It's important that you read the essay
guidelines that you've received from your teacher carefully so that you know what applies to the essay
that you are expected to write. So, why is the IMRaD structure so
ubiquitous, and what does it offer you as
a writer and/or as a reader? While following the IMRaD setup might
initially seem very restrictive, there are still many choices
that you need to make in terms of the presentation
of your research. What the IMRaD structure does
is supply you with a framework with which to write in
an economical fashion, and in a way that will be instantly
recognizable to your target readers. They are expecting you to do
certain things in a certain way. And any deviations from the conventions
will direct their attention away from the contents of your paper. By abiding by the rules of the game and
sticking to conventions, you're not limiting yourself but rather making
yourself convincing to your target reader. So that when you say
something that maybe novel or challenging you will be taken seriously. [MUSIC]

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