Skip to Main Content

Reading for Research: Social Sciences

Structure of a Research Article

Academic writing has features that vary only slightly across the different disciplines. Knowing these elements and the purpose of each serves help you to read and understand academic texts efficiently and effectively, and then apply what you read to your paper or project.

Social Science (and Science) original research articles generally follow IMRD: Introduction- Methods-Results-Discussion


  • Introduces topic of article
  • Presents the "Research Gap"/Statement of Problem article will address
  • How research presented in the article will solve the problem presented in research gap.
  • Literature Review. presenting and evaluating previous scholarship on a topic.  Sometimes, this is separate section of the article. 

​Method & Results

  • How research was done, including analysis and measurements.  
  • Sometimes labeled as "Research Design"


  • What answers were found


  • Interpretation of Results (What Does It Mean? Why is it important?)
  • Implications for the Field, how the study contributes to the existing field of knowledge
  • Suggestions for further research
  • Sometimes called Conclusion

You might also see IBC: Introduction - Body - Conclusion


  • Identify the subject
  • State the thesis 
  • Describe why thesis is important to the field (this may be in the form of a literature review or general prose)


  • Presents Evidence/Counter Evidence
  • Integrate other writings (i.e. evidence) to support argument 
  • Discuss why others may disagree (counter-evidence) and why argument is still valid


  • Summary of argument
  • Evaluation of argument by pointing out its implications and/or limitations 
  • Anticipate and address possible counter-claims
  • Suggest future directions of research