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Academic reading: Structure of various text types

Structure of various text types

The following genres have their own structural elements:

Research report
  • A research report generally follows a set structure:
    Intro – Method – Results – Discussion - Conclusion (known as IMRAD)

    1. Longer research reports may contain a literature review as part of the Introduction, or an abstract
    2. Each of these sections follows a relatively predictable structure. For example, a research paper introduction presents a topic and a related issue/problem then establishes a gap in research. It then announces the research question and the aim of the research. It may also give a structural overview of the whole paper.

Case Study
  • This may have a similar structure to a Research Paper:
    Introduction – Aims – Method – Results – Discussion – Recommendations
  • Monash University lists 8 sections:
    Executive Summary – Findings – Discussion – Conclusion – Recommendations – Implementation – References – Appendices
  • A case study can also be structured in a similar way to a story:
    Problem – Solution – Result – Conclusion
Argumentative essay
  • Argumentative papers follow a 3-part structure:
    Introduction – Body - Conclusion
  • The middle part of the tripartite arrangement comprises body paragraphs which present and support arguments (including counter-arguments with refutations). These may be grouped in blocks or arranged point-by point.
  • The introduction is typically arranged to lead up to a thesis statement. The thesis will arise out of a particular issue and the introduction will narrow the topic focus towards the argument the essay wishes to advance.


The following list of (incomplete) sentences are from the Introduction to a Research Report. What is the correct sequence of the sentences? Reorder them:

  1. This paper investigates …
  2. However, there has been relatively little analysis of …
  3. Recent developments in … have demonstrated that …

    C = 1
    B = 2
    A = 3

This language is very typical of the genre of writing that it represents. As a reader. You can train yourself to recognize these ‘sentence frames’. Where the gaps occur is where the subject-specific vocabulary is used.