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Structuring your manuscript

Overview of article structure

Details on the structure of manuscripts published in BioMed Central journals can be found in the instructions for authors for each journal. The standard structure of the body of research articles (after the Title and Abstract) is:

  • Background
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion

The article structure:

  • Gives a logical flow to the content
  • Makes journal manuscripts predictable and easy to read
  • Provides a "map" so that readers can quickly find content of interest in any manuscript
  • Reminds authors what content should be included

BUT... although the sections of the journal manuscript are published in the order: Title, Abstract, Background, Methods, Results, Discussion,and Conclusion, this is NOT the best order for writing the sections of a manuscript. One strategy is to write your manuscript in the following order:

  1. Materials and Methods
  2. Results

These can be written first, as you are doing your experiments and collecting the results.

  1. Introduction
  2. Discussion
  3. Conclusion

Write these sections next, once you have decided on your target journal.

  1. Title
  2. Abstract

Write your Title and Abstract based on all the other sections

Following this order will help you write a logical and consistent manuscript.
Use the different sections of a manuscript to 'tell a story' about your research and its implications.