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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The introduction, methods, results and discussion (IMRAD) structure: a Survey of its use in different authoring partnerships in a students' journal

Loraine Oriokot1, William Buwembo2, Ian G Munabi2* and Stephen C Kijjambu3

Author Affiliations

1 Former Editor Makerere Medical Students Journal, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, New Mulago Hospital Complex, Kampala Uganda

2 Department of Human Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, New Mulago Hospital Complex, Kampala Uganda

3 Dean's office, School of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, New Mulago Hospital Complex, Kampala Uganda

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:250  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-250

Published: 21 July 2011



Globally, the role of universities as providers of research education in addition to leading in main - stream research is gaining more importance with demand for evidence based practices. This paper describes the effect of various students and faculty authoring partnerships on the use of the IMRAD style of writing for a university student journal.


This was an audit of the Makerere University Students' Journal publications over an 18-year period. Details of the authors' affiliation, year of publication, composition of the authoring teams and use of IMRAD formatting were noted. Data analysis gave results summarised as frequencies and, effect sizes from correlations and the non parametric test. There were 209 articles found with the earliest from 1990 to latest in 2007 of which 48.3% were authored by faculty only teams, 41.1% were authored by student only teams, 6.2% were authored by students and faculty teams, and 4.3% had no contribution from the above mentioned teams. There were significant correlations between the different teams and the years of the publication (rs = -0.338 p < 0.01 one tailed). Use of the IMRAD formatting was significantly affected by the composition of the teams (Χ2 (2df) = 25.621, p < 0.01) especially when comparing the student only teams to the faculty only teams. (U = 3165 r = - 0.289). There was a significant trend towards student only teams over the years sampled. (z = -4.764, r = -0.34).


In the surveyed publications, there was evidence of reduced faculty student authoring teams as evidenced by the trends towards students only authoring teams and reduced use of IMRAD formatting in articles published in the students' journal. Since the university is expected to lead in teaching of research, there is need for increased support for undergraduate research, as a starting point for research education.

research; education; publications; undergraduate; IMRAD