Types of Scientific Articles and Their Differences

Types of Scientific Articles

Every student needs to know the types of scientific articles. The works vary in structure, proposal, and design. While the final project is usually 40 to 70 pages long, the scientific article is a leaner type of work, with up to 20 pages.

In the academic community, research paper ranks high on the pedestal of things to advance your career whether as a student or a professional. Going to the field of research demands a high level of persistence. Many researchers dedicate many a sleepless night towards conducting research and documenting results. In the competitive world of academia, you are expected to start publishing early in your career, and many early-career researchers are faced with the looming worry of how to publish a journal article.

Indeed, original research many times takes a lot of time to finish. However, this should not translate to you not having any publications to your credit till the time you complete your research.

What is a scientific article?

We can define a scientific article as “part of a periodical publication with declared authorship, which discusses ideas, methods, techniques, processes, and results in several areas of knowledge.”


A good scientific article has the following qualities:

  • Of course, the reader understands what he reads.
  • It has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Concise, avoid focusing on information that is not relevant.
  • Respect a logical sequence to present the facts and arguments.

Types of scientific articles

The standard, which defines rules for formatting the presentation of articles in the periodic publication, considers the existence of three types of scientific articles:

  • Review article

When starting their academic life, students are encouraged to publish review articles. This type of work is based on the analysis of bibliographic sources, that is, studies on the theme that already exists. This type of article allows knowing in-depth the state of the art of the researched topic. It aims to make a conceptual structuring and increase familiarity with scientific knowledge.

In addition to exposing the concepts developed by other authors, the review article focuses on making a critical assessment of what has already been published. The publication takes on the role of summarizing, analyzing, and discussing information that is already part of other studies.

In terms of structure, the review article has up to 20 pages. The number of references consulted to carry out the work varies from 30 to 100 sources.

  • Original article

It is a type of text published first-hand, like a report, presenting the results of scientific research. It features original themes and approaches. An original scientific article seeks support from a theoretical framework, but this is not its only purpose. The objective is to emphasize the results obtained in practical research. The main difference between the review article and the original article is in the methodology. The original does not focus only on the reading of other authors, but rather considers practical life in its analysis. It is usually the result of the work of a research group.

An original article usually has up to 15 pages and a maximum of 6 illustrations in all content (considering tables, charts, and figures). The number of sources consulted to compose the bibliography is less than the review article: from 20 to 40.

  • Disclosure article

As with the name, scientific disclosure has the role of disseminating scientific research in all areas of knowledge, making science more accessible even for those who are not experts in the field.

Disclosure of scientific articles is not common in undergraduate and graduate courses.  When the work is aimed at a non-scientific audience, the text has a concern to be more didactic, however, without losing the traits of scientific. The target audience of the disclosure articles can be composed of specialists in the area, that is, people who belong to the scientific community. In this case, the texts are written to communicate science and technology.

It is important to point out at this stage that there are other different categories of scientific articles. An article can be categorized according to the outline. Below takes a look at some other categories of scientific articles:

  • Literature review

After reviewing books, journal articles, historical records, reports, theses, and other types of work, the student can create a literature review. Narrative review, the method most used by undergraduate students, is concerned only with selecting studies and interpreting information. The systematics, on the other hand, is a little more complex, since it synthesizes the results of primary studies and analyzes them critically. There is also an integrative review, which has the same scientific rigour as the systematic, but which is concerned with drawing comparisons and integrating the results.

  • Case study

In the case study, the researcher deepens his knowledge about one or a few objects, investigating real-life phenomena.

  • Comparative study

The phenomena are investigated and explained based on similarities and differences.

  • Documentary study

In documentary research, the analyzed materials do not receive analytical treatment, as in the literature review. The researcher needs to analyze official documents, films, photographs, contracts, newspaper reports, letters, recordings, and reports.


The original and review articles differ in terms of structure. The first is more complete, with sections on results and discussion before completion. The review work is basic, with an only introduction, development, and conclusion. See below what each section of the article contains:

Pre-textual elements

All elements that precede the introduction are considered pre-textual elements. In the case of a scientific article, this part consists of title, abstract, keywords, authors, and dates of submission and approval.

Textual elements


A good introduction presents context, objectives, and justification. To start your article well, answer the following questions:

  • What is a research?
  • Why was the investigation carried out?
  • What was already known about the topic at the beginning of the study?

It is in this section that a foundation is built. It is responsible for debating the concepts and presenting the arguments, based on the bibliographic review. Focus on the answers to the following questions:

  • Which authors have already studied the theme?
  • What were the main findings?
  • What are the authors’ approaches?
  • What is the state of knowledge?

The section aims to present what was found in the research, that is, original data that the researcher obtained after analyzing all the information collected.

What was found? What facts were revealed by the study? It is recommended to respect a logical sequence and use resources such as graphs, tables, and charts in the presentation.


The discussion in the scientific article is the part of the study that highlights new information and confronts what already exists in the literature. The purpose is to interpret the results and relate them to the state of the existing knowledge. Use the questions below as a guide to writing this section:

  • What do the research findings mean?
  • Do these findings agree with what other authors say?
  • What does the study add to the work done previously?

Also called “final considerations,” it is the final part of the scientific research work. Its function is to present the outcome of the study, that is, to show whether the investigation has achieved the proposed objectives.

Post-textual elements

The post-textual elements are references, glossary, appendix, annex, and thanks. Of these items, only bibliographic references are mandatory.