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PLS 3004C Principles of Plant Science

Selected Plant Science Journals at UF

Article Types

What type of article have you found?

The categories are not rigid; some of them overlap.  Here are some characteristics to help identify an article type:

Research articles:

  • typically published in a journal
  • highly likely to have been peer-reviewed
  • structured like lab reports, with sections for:  abstract (summary of the article), introduction and literature review (including hypothesis or experimental question and its importance), method (describing processes used), results (data collected), discussion (analysis or interpretation of the data) and conclusions.
  • Their purpose is to serve as the primary (first) report of research, and they are used by practitioners as a theoretical base for their applications. Research articles contain highly technical language for an experienced or educated audience.
  • Not every article in a peer-reviewed journal is peer-reviewed.  Many academic or research journals also have editorials, comments, conference summaries, and reviews.

Peer reviewed (or Refereed):

  • usually (but not always) original research articles
  • publisher's website should describe any peer review process.  If this is not prominent, it may appear in the Instructions for Authors.
  • frequently, but not always, identified by string of acceptance dates. When you see that time passed between submission of the draft and final acceptance, you know that the author’s peers reviewed the article for sense and value of the contribution, and submitted suggestions to make the article stronger.
  • usually identified as refereed in  Ulrichs Global Serials Directory

Review articles:

  • summarize historical and current research on a particular topic
  • identify trends, replication of results, hypotheses that warrant further research
  • secondary sources (do not present original research)

Technical reports: (not peer reviewed)

  • are structured like case studies, e.g. "how I solved this problem."
  • May serve as a project report to the funding source, which may be a government agency.  Tech reports are not always available; they may be kept proprietary, especially if client is a non-governmental corporation.

Conference papers:

  • may report on a "work in progress," and be incomplete
  • In some cases the paper may be peer-reviewed, and sometimes only the abstract is peer-reviewed.  Conference papers might be published in conference proceedings, or the authors may wait to publish the complete version of the article in a peer-reviewed journal.

Trade publication articles: (not peer reviewed)

  • brief, informally structured articles that usually do not have references
  • published in magazines or trade journals
  • written by practitioners for practitioners
  • provide up-to-date news about products, meetings, and research summaries  

Popular articles:

  • published in magazines and news sources intended for general audiences.

Websites, press releases, encyclopedia entries:

  • Use with caution and evaluate for authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage.

What does Peer Review mean?

Peer review or refereed publications have been checked by scientific peers for quality prior to publication.

Peer review in 3 minutes by NCSU Libraries explains the process.

Locating a Specific Journal Article

How do you find a specific journal article from the catalog?

You will need to know the Journal Title, Publication Date, and Author and/or Title of the article.

  1. Enter the Journal Title into the search bar of the catalog.
  2. From the results, determine if UF has a subscription to the year needed.
  3. If so, then search within the journal for the volume or year of publication desired.
  4. Then search for the author and publication title.
  5. If UF does not have access to this article, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
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