Journal Articles

Peer-reviewed journal articles are an important resource in the research community and speak to a study's credibility. Journal articles addressing health are written to inform other academicians and/or clinicians as well as to document emerging scientific knowledge or best practices in care delivery. Publishers look for innovative and original research that will either impact patient care or add to the field of study. Conclusions must be supported by sufficient and robust data.

General Rules

  • Identify and decide upon the journal (prior to writing). You can find journals by:
    • Reviewing journals where others in the field have published.
    • Scanning published journal abstracts for topics/methods similar to your own.
  • Review the selected journals' Aim, Scope, Impact Factor, and the Guide for Authors. Write the article following the format specified in the Guide for Authors.
  • Submit the article with a cover letter following the journal's specified submission process.
  • Articles are either accepted, rejected, or receive a revise-and-resubmit request.

Recommendations for Format

Format of a published article will reflect the preferences and requirements of the publishing journal. Format is specified in the Guide to Authors, but there are standard headings:

  • Introduction: Refer to other literature, and provide context and purpose for the study.
  • Method: Explain how the data were collected and analyzed, and report statistical significance.
  • Results: Describe what was discovered, and answer research question(s).
  • Discussion and Conclusions: Describe the implications of the study for practice, policy, and/or future research, address limitations, and make recommendations.
  • Acknowledgements: Recognize those who helped with the research but are not authors.
  • Supplementary Material: Additional resources may include raw data, video, or audio.

Read Understanding the Publishing Process: How to Publish in Scientific and Medical Journals (no longer available online) or Understanding the Publishing Process: How to Publish in Scholarly Journals for more information.


  • Use active voice, and write in third person.
  • For known facts and hypotheses, use the present tense; use past tense when referring to experiments that have been conducted.
  • Noted differences should be statistically significant and have an accompanying p-value.

Graphic Design and Layout

  • Each journal will have specific guidelines, and likely a limit, for figures and tables; review the Guide to Authors before developing any data visualizations.