Types of Articles
Review articles identify, synthesize, and summarize the available evidence and information about a specific topic. In biomedical journals, clinically based reviews have practical importance because practitioners may use these articles as guides for staying current with clinical information and helping inform decisions that involve clinical diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the journal, reviews can range from a rigorous, in-depth, systematic assessment of the literature to a less formal review based on a combination of selective evidence and expert opinion, similar to chapters in some textbooks. Journals generally have 2 types of reviews based on the scope of the review and level of analysis of the evidence and supporting literature.1
1.2.1 Systematic Reviews.
Systematic reviews are critical assessments of the literature and data sources that pertain to clinical topics and often include information about the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, or prevention of a disease or condition. These reviews involve a complete and up-to-date systematic search of the literature using multiple databases, covering many years, and grading the quality of the available evidence. Many journals encourage authors of systematic reviews to follow recommended reporting guidelines.2 Systematic reviews without meta-analysis are generally published as Reviews. Systematic reviews that include meta-analysis of the available evidence and provide novel information, such as new estimates of effect size, may be published as Research articles.
Systematic reviews in biomedical journals generally follow a consistent format, although article sections may vary, depending on the specific type of review article. For example, Systematic Reviews in the JAMA Network journals usually include the following sections: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion, along with References, Tables and Figures, Article Information, Acknowledgments, online-only Supplemental content, and perhaps Multimedia content (see 22.214.171.124, Structured Abstracts for Systematic Reviews [Without Meta-analysis]).
1.2.2 Narrative Reviews.
Narrative reviews in medical journals provide an up-to-date review that involves a specific question or issue relevant for clinical practice from the perspective of recognized experts in the topic. Although a systematic review of the literature is not necessarily required, recommendations should be supported with current evidence and based on recent research, systematic reviews, and guidelines.
Narrative reviews might include the following sections: Title, Abstract, Introduction, perhaps a Methods section, Observations, Discussion, with or without topic-specific subheadings, along with References, Tables and Figures, Article Information, Acknowledgments, online-only Supplemental content, and perhaps Multimedia content.