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PUBH 4020 Biostatistics

A guide for PUBH 4020 students, containing links to relevant library and other resources

Types of academic journal articles

Within academic journals, there can be many different types of articles. Some of the most common article types are: 
  • Research Article is the most common type of academic journal article. The research article reports on original empirical research and is considered "primary" literature. The basic outline for research articles is: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion (although this can vary across disciplines and journals). Often a literature review is included in the research article, either in it's own section, or as part of the introduction. 
  • Clinical Study is a type of article that is used in the medical field, to report on the results of a clinical trial. A clinical study provides a detailed account of the methods and results of a clinical trial study. These articles are typically similar in length and format to research articles.
  • Review Article is considered "secondary" literature. The review article analyzes and synthesizes the existing literature on a topic. A review article does not present the authors' original empirical research, but it does provide important analysis of the state of primary research on a specific topic. There are a few different types of review articles:
    • Literature review is a synthesis of research on a certain topic.  A literature review article should provide a very thorough introduction and overview of the topic and provide insights into where the research on the specific topic is lacking. 
    • Meta-Analysis is a type of review that relies on quantitative methodology to statistically analyze the results of primary research studies on a specific topic, draw conclusions, and report results. 
    • Systematic Review is a type of review that systematically uses the existing literature to answer a specific research question. Authors carefully document their detailed search strategies, to make sure other researchers can replicate the search. The systematic review comprehensively identifies and synthesizes all research articles that meet pre-set eligibility criteria. 
  • Case Study is an article that reports on a very specific instance of an interesting phenomena. In medical literature case studies are often used to report on previously unknown or emerging pathologies.
  • Short Report/Brief Communication is a way for researchers to publish quickly, in a short-format, on a time-sensitive topic. It's a brief discussion of original research, without all the details. 
  • Book Review is a type of article that provides summary, critique, and opinion of a recently published book. Book reviews are an approachable format for new academic authors looking to publish.
Authors may employ a variety of research methodologies to conduct the research that they publish in the research article or clinical study format. In some of the library databases, you can limit your search by methodology or by article type. When limiting by methodology or article type is not an option, you can simply search with your topic keywords + include the methodology/article type as keywords in the search. 

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