Research articles serve as the backbone of scientific communication, enabling researchers to share their findings, insights, and innovations with the global community. Crafting a well-written research article requires a combination of meticulous planning, rigorous analysis, and effective communication skills. What is a research article, what are its main components, and its role in the journal impact factor?
The basics of the scientific literature
When discussing research articles, it is essential to touch upon scientific literature, of which this form of writing is a part. A research article falls under the category of primary literature, which encompasses the use of empirical data and analyses conducted by a researcher.
This distinction sets it apart from secondary literature, which synthesizes primary sources, tertiary literature, which relies on both primary and secondary resources, and gray literature, which encompasses sources beyond traditional journal and book publishers. A research article is also quite different from non-scientific papers, published in academic journals.
Research articles may also include keywords, chosen by the authors, and subject codes linked, both of them used to aid readers find the article in databases.
Types of research articles
Trying to divide research articles into different categories, may be based on their research purpose and the applied methods.
Theoretical articles focus on theoretical frameworks, concepts, and ideas in a particular field of study. Unlike empirical research articles that present original research findings, theoretical articles aim to explore, analyze, and synthesize existing theories, models, or perspectives to advance understanding and generate new insights.
Empirical research refers to a systematic approach to gathering and analyzing data to answer research questions or test hypotheses. It involves the collection of real-world data through direct observation or experimentation, rather than relying solely on theoretical or conceptual frameworks. Empirical research aims to generate evidence-based knowledge and draw conclusions based on observed facts and data.
Works that are not research articles
We should understand now what a research article is, but do we know when we can’t call a paper a research article?
- Abstracts of individual publications or oral presentations, as they only summarize the information already used,
- Addendum, Article Commentaries, Letters (to the Editors), offering additional information,
- Discussion papers, with competing views of experts invited by the journal editors,
- Brief Reports and Rapid Communication, which are used for breaking news announcements,
- Case Reports, used in medicine and social science to describe a phenomenon,
- Dissertations are written by students for a scientific degree.
The journal impact factor and a research article
The journal impact factors provide important information on the average number of citations of the journal article. If a journal is prestigious, it’s more capable of publishing the highest quality research articles.
Journals that consistently publish groundbreaking and influential research articles tend to gain a higher reputation within the academic community, with researchers publishing their work in prestigious journals to enhance the visibility, credibility, and impact of their research.