Crafting Exceptional Research Articles: A Genre-Based Approach

As a researcher, publishing your work is crucial to advancing your academic career. However, publishing your research in reputable journals can be daunting. That’s where a genre-based approach can help.

Our workshop series, “Unlock your Publishing Potential,” introduces a framework for strategically publishing research articles. By understanding the genre expectations of research articles, researchers can effectively structure and present their findings to increase their chances of publication.

The genre-based approach is based on the IMRaD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) structure commonly used in research articles. Each section has specific expectations that researchers must meet to effectively communicate their research findings to the reader. In the e-book Preparing to Publish, the authors depict this structure using an hourglass.  That shape lets us consider which research article sections will be general/broad and specific/narrow. The first part — the Introduction — is one of the article’s most general or broad parts.

Let’s graphically unpack this structure using images from the e-book, Preparing to Publish.


The introduction sets the stage for the research by providing background information, stating the research problem, and outlining the research questions. A strong introduction should grab the reader’s attention and interest them further.

There are three main goals for an effective Introduction:

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In the methods section, researchers describe the research design, participants, data collection methods, and data analysis procedures used in the study. This section should be detailed enough for other researchers to replicate the study.

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The results section presents the findings of the study. Researchers should use clear and concise language to describe their results and use visual aids such as tables and graphs to help readers understand the data.

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The discussion section interprets the findings and relates them to the research questions and the existing literature. Researchers should highlight the significance of their findings and suggest areas for future research.

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By understanding the expectations of each section, researchers can effectively structure and present their findings in a way that meets the genre expectations of research articles. This increases the chances of publication and helps readers understand and appreciate the research.

Overall, a genre-based approach can help researchers strategically publish their work by understanding the expectations of research articles. By effectively structuring and presenting their findings, researchers can increase their chances of publication and contribute to advances in their field.

About the Author

Kimberly Becker, Ph.D.

Applied Linguist Specializing in Disciplinary Academic Writing

Kimberly is a lecturer in the English department at Iowa State University (ISU). She has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Technology (ISU, 2022) and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (Northern Arizona University, 2004). Kimberly’s research and teaching experience in disciplinary academic writing has equipped her to support native and non-native English speakers in written, oral, visual, and electronic communication. Her most recent publication is a co-authored e-book for graduate students titled Preparing to Publish, which provides information about composing academic research articles. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, gardening, and walking with her two poodles.

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