Scholarly journals contain more than one type of article. In one issue of a journal, you may find original research articles, review articles, letters to the editor, reviews of books and other materials, and more. When you are browsing articles in databases, online, or in paper journals, keep the following questions in mind:
Journal example: Nature
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Research Notes are short articles. They may be called short reports, technical notes, case reports etc. Be aware that some limiters in databases may also include correspondence in a Notes limiter.
Example: "Are mitochondria inherited paternally in Ascaris?" (Research note)
In small groups, look at one of the articles below and answer the questions.
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.
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.
A research letter is a shorter version of a full original research article. Be aware that this is not the same as a letter to an editor in an academic journal.
See a description from the JAMA Network, Geophysical Research Letters, Environmental Research Letters, FEBS (Federation of European Biochemical Societies) Letters (limits to 4,000 words), and American Journal of Epidemiology (limits to 1,000 words).
Example: "Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive behavior, and dysmorphic features ...." Click on Elsevier ScienceDirect on UC-eLinks window.
Letters are often written in response to articles, editorials, and other materials. They do not go through a peer-review process, but can give you insight into the scholarly conversation around a topic. They are not included in all databases, but you may find them included in some of them.
Obituaries are included in many journals. Related information includes listings of new jobs, projects, etc. Since fields are scholarly communities, this can allow for them to acknowledge the passages in their members' lives.
Note: You can narrow down search results in Web of Science by using the "Document Type" filter.
Example: John Walley Littlefield Obituary