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InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

Sports Medicine: Types of Journal Articles

This guide provides access to recommended research resources for Sports Medicine

4 General Types of Journal Articles


Articles, also called full papers, are definitive accounts of significant, original studies.  They present important new data or provide a fresh approach to an established subject.  The organization and length of  an article should be determined by the amount of new information to be presented and by space restrictions within the publication.


Notes are concise accounts of original research of a limited scope.  They may also be preliminary reports of special significance.  The material reported must be definitive and may not be published again later.  Appropriate subjects for notes include improved procedures of wide applicability or interest, accounts of novel observations or of compounds of special interest, and development of new techniques.  Notes are subject to the same editorial appraisal as full-length articles.


Communications, called "letters" or "correspondence" in some publications, are usually preliminary reports of special significance and urgency that are given expedited publication.  They are accepted if the editor believes that their rapid publication will be a service to the scientific community.  Communications are generally subject to strict length limitations; they must contain specific results to support their conclusions, but they may not contain nonessential experimental details.

The same rigorous standards of acceptance that apply to full-length articles also apply to communications.  Like all types of presentations in journals, communications are submitted to review.  In many cases, authors are expected to publish complete details (not necessarily in the same journal) after their communications have been published.  Acceptance of a communication, however, does not guarantee acceptance of the detailed manuscript.


Reviews integrate, correlate, and evaluate results from published literature on a particular subject.  They seldom report new experimental findings.  Effective review articles have a well-defined them, are usually critical, and may present novel theoretical interpretations.  Ordinarily reviews do not give experimental details, but in special cases (as when a technique is of central interest), experimental procedures may be included.  An important function of reviews is to serve as a guide to the original literature; for this reason, accuracy and completeness of references cited are essential.

Source: Coghill, A. M., Garson, L. R., & American Chemical Society. (2006). The ACS style guide: Effective communication of scientific information. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.

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