Original Research Study
Considered the most common type of journal manuscript used to publish full reports of data from research. It may be called an Original Article, Research Article, Research, or just Article, depending on the journal and the abstract provided. The Original Research format often includes: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections.
Short reports or Letters
These papers communicate brief reports of data from original research that editors believe will be interesting to researchers and will likely stimulate further research in the field. They are relatively short the format and useful for scientists with results that are time sensitive (example: those in highly competitive or quickly-changing disciplines). This format often has strict length limits, so some experimental details may not be published until the authors publish a full Original Research manuscript. These papers are sometimes called 'brief communications'.
Review Articles provide a comprehensive summary of research on a certain topic, and a perspective on the state of the field and where it is heading. They are written by leaders in a particular discipline after invitation from the editors of a journal. Reviews are widely read (for example, by researchers looking for a full introduction to a field) and highly cited. Reviews commonly cite approximately 100 primary research articles. Often, the word 'Review' is in the title of the article.
TIP: If you would like to write a Review but have not been invited by a journal, be sure to check the journal website as some journals do not consider unsolicited Reviews. If the website does not mention whether Reviews are commissioned it is wise to send a pre-submission enquiry letter to the journal editor to propose your Review manuscript before you spend time writing it.
These articles report specific instances of interesting phenomena. A goal of Case Studies is to make other researchers aware of the possibility that a specific phenomenon might occur. This type of study is often used in medicine to report the occurrence of previously unknown or emerging pathologies.
Methodologies or Methods
These articles present a new experimental method, test or procedure. The method described may either be completely new, or may offer a better version of an existing method. The article should describe a demonstrable advance on what is currently available.
Specific to the field of medicine, clinical trials describe the methodology, implementation, and results of controlled studies, usually undertaken with large patient groups. Clinical trial articles are long, usually of about the same length as an original research article. Clinical trials require practical work experience, as well as, high standards of ethics and reliability. This format is more useful for experienced researchers.
Perspective, opinion, and commentary
Perspective pieces are scholarly reviews of fundamental concepts or prevalent ideas in a field. These are usually essays that present a personal point of view critiquing widespread notions pertaining to a field. A perspective piece can be a review of a single concept or a few related concepts. These are considered as secondary literature and are usually short articles, around 2,000 words.
Opinion articles present the author’s viewpoint on the interpretation, analysis, or methods used in a particular study. It allows the author to comment on the strength and weakness of a theory or hypothesis. Opinion articles are usually based on constructive criticism and should be backed by evidence. Such articles promote discussion on current issues concerning science. These are also relatively short articles.
Commentaries are short articles usually around 1,000-1,500 words long that draw attention to or present a criticism of a previously published article, book, or report, explaining why it interested them and how it might be illuminating for readers.