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Writing 116 (Toconis)

Science Writing in Natural Sciences


Scholarly journals contain more than one type of article. In one issue of a journal, such as this issue of Nature, you may find original research articles, review articles, letters to the editor, book reviews, and more. When browsing articles in databases or in paper journals, keep the following questions in mind:

  • What is this piece's purpose?
  • Is this an original research article?
  • Does this article summarize the original research of others?
  • Why is this material included in the journal?

Scholarly Articles - Key Article Types

scholarly articles

Original Research Article Example

Original research articles are based on an experiment or study.  The authors will report the purpose of the study, the research methodology, and results. This is a familiar structure for original research articles > IMRAD: introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

Example: The influence of electronic polarization on the sprectral density

Example: Genetic regulation of the development of mating projections in Candida albicans


Review Article Example

Review articles summarize or synthesize content from earlier published research and are useful for surveying the literature on a specific research area.  Review articles can lead you to original research articles.

Example: The effects of Sclerostin on the immune system

Example: Molecular host mimicry and manipulation in bacterial symbionts

Peer Review in 3 Minutes

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries, 3:15

  1. What do peer reviewers do?  How are they similar to or different from editors?
  2. Who are the primary customers of scholarly journals?
  3. Do databases only include peer-reviewed articles?  How do you know?