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Types of journal articles

There are several types of journal articles; the exact terminology and definitions vary by field and specific journal, but often include:

· Letters (also called communications, and not to be confused with letters to the editor) are short descriptions of important current research findings that are usually fast-tracked for immediate publication because they are considered urgent.

· Research notes are short descriptions of current research findings that are considered less urgent or important than Letters.

· Articles are usually between five and twenty pages and are complete descriptions of current original research findings, but there are considerable variations between scientific fields and journals – 80-page articles are not rare in mathematics or theoretical computer science.

· Review articles do not cover original research but rather accumulate the results of many different articles on a particular topic into a coherent narrative about the state of the art in that field. Review articles provide information about the topic and also provide journal references to the original research. Reviews may be entirely narrative, or may provide quantitative summary estimates resulting from the application of meta-analytical methods.

· Data papers are articles dedicated to describe datasets. This type of article is becoming popular and journals exclusively dedicated to them have been established, e.g. Scientific Data and Earth System Science Data.

Research article structure

The formats of journal articles vary, but many follow the general IMRAD scheme recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Such articles begin with an abstract, which is a one-to-four-paragraph summary of the paper. The introduction describes the background for the research including a discussion of similar research. The materials and methods or experimental section provides specific details of how the research was conducted. The results and discussion section describes the outcome and implications of the research, and the conclusion section places the research in context and describes avenues for further exploration.

Review articles

Review articles, also called "reviews of progress," are checks on the research published in journals. Some journals are devoted entirely to review articles, some contain a few in each issue, and others do not publish review articles, including only what they think worthwhile. They are typically relied upon by students beginning a study in a given field, or for current awareness of those already in the field.

B.Mikhov, B.Katerska, 2010. Some biocompatible materials used in medical practice. Trakia Journal of Sciences, v.8, pp.119-125.

Pre-reading tasks.

I. Read the heading of the article. What does the term ‘biocompatible’ mean (choose the correct definition)?

• having an effect on a living organism

• going together well with living tissue by not being toxic, injurious, or physiologically reactive and not causing immunological rejection

• capable of being slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural processes


II. Read about the types of journal articles again. What type is Mihov& Katerska (2010) article? What are the main features of articles of this type?


III. Read the heading, the information about the authors and the key words. Can you predict what the article will be about? What field(s) of science and technology are involved? Are the authors native English speakers? Do they work in a well established scientific center/university/hospital/business company?


IV. Skim the article. Name the parts it consists of. What is the function of each part ( Give reasons/Prove your ideas).


V. Look at figures 1 and 2. Describe what you see to each other.


VI. Study the list of references and find examples of:

• research articles in scientific journals

• review articles

• proceedings from international conferences

• monographs/ books

Do the authors use direct citation?


Date: 2016-03-03; view: 523

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