Reports of Original Data - AMA Manual of Style

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Reports of Original Data 

Reports of Original Data

Types of Articles

Richard M. Glass

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Reports of Original Data

Published reports of original research are the backbone of medical and scientific communications. Critical evaluation and replication of the findings of such reports are key aspects of quality control and progress in science and medicine; the clinical applications of original research are a major source of benefits for patients. Journals often categorize reports of original data as Original Articles, Original Communications, or Original Reports, section headings that emphasize the new findings such articles intend to communicate. Short articles reporting original data may be called Brief Reports. Studies that address basic issues of physiology or pathology may be called Research Reports or Clinical Investigations. In JAMA, articles that report preliminary findings are called Preliminary Communications.

Articles that report original research results usually follow the traditional IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) format. Changing the acronym to AIMRAD would give appropriate emphasis to the abstract, which has become increasingly important in the era of electronic databases. Many readers scan only the title and abstract (eg, from a search of an electronic database) and often use the abstract to decide whether to obtain or read the full text of the article. This highlights the importance of the abstract in communicating a brief but accurate and informative summary of the article.1 Structured abstracts, which provide summary information in a standard format, have enhanced value and are now required by many medical journals for all reports of original data.2,3 (See 2.5, Manuscript Preparation, Abstract, and 2.8, Manuscript Preparation, Parts of a Manuscript, Headings, Subheadings, and Side Headings, for guidance in preparing these sections.)

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