The Structure Of Scientific Articles

Research articles typically have a standard structure to facilitate communication, which is known as IMRAD (introduction, method, results and discussion), although, of course, there are variations on this basic format. The chapters that follow in Section 2 of this book elaborate on each IMRAD section in more detail. It is important to note here, of course, that this structure is actually a charade. Scientists do not proceed in the way that IMRAD implies. IMRAD is a formula for writing up, and it is a method for making the scientific enterprise look much more logical than it actually is (see Medawar, 1964). Similarly, although the language of the scientific article may appear to be precise, impersonal and objective (as noted at the beginning of this chapter), this, too, is misleading. The language of scientific text is also the language of rhetoric and persuasion. Table 1.1.3 lists some rhetorical devices that the reader will no doubt find in this text!

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