Types of Articles
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Following are brief descriptions of the various types of articles published by Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD). We recommend that prospective authors of papers that will require peer review read not only the description of the type of article they plan to submit but also our Peer Review Checklists. These checklists present the criteria by which peer reviewers judge whether or not to recommend publishing a paper.
These articles present important research results of broad significance to public health professionals. They explain the value of the research to public health and the meaning of the findings to chronic disease prevention. A statement indicating that the research was approved by the appropriate institutional review board (IRB) must accompany every submission of a report on original research.
We welcome articles from many disciplines as long as the research results are pertinent to preventing or reducing the effects of chronic disease. Below are some examples of suitable articles:
Use the following subheadings in the abstract: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion. Use the following subheadings in the body of the paper:Introduction
Describe clearly the main purpose of the research and the main hypothesis to be tested or the main question to be answered. Include information about what is already published on this topic in the science literature and what your research will add.
We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, short audio or video clips, public service announcements, interactive pieces, and other multimedia. Before submitting your manuscript, we suggest you check it against the Reviewer Checklist for Original Research (PDF–119K). Articles reporting results of randomized controlled trials must conform to the standards of the CONSORT statement, available at www.consort-statement.org.
Number of words: text, no more than 3000 words; abstract, no more than 250
Essays are opinion pieces that provide thoughtful discussion of contemporary issues in public health. They raise issues of interest to researchers and practitioners, initiate or focus discussion, or propose a position or consensus statement. Essays can report on unusual cases or personal experiences, and they may include figures, tables, slides, or other supporting graphics. Not suitable are reviews, methods, how-to papers, or responses to specific published papers. Essays are not subject to peer review.
Editorials are usually solicited, but unsolicited and solicited editorials follow the same format as essays. Editorials are not subject to peer review.
Number of words: text, no more than 2000 words; abstract (for
indexing purposes only), no more than 150
Special topics articles include original material, similar to original research and community case studies, but vary widely in topic and format. Special topics have included recommendations from the National Expert Panel on Community Health Promotion; a genomics perspective on the obesity epidemic; a theoretical interpretation of the population attributable fraction; a practice-based evaluation of tobacco cessation interventions; and featured abstracts from the 18th National Conference on Chronic Disease Prevention and Control. Special Topics are subject to peer review.
Number of words: text, no more than 2500 words; abstract, no more than 150
This section is intended primarily for comments on articles published previously in PCD, but letters reporting original research or case reports are also welcome. Letters must cite published references to support the writer’s argument. If warranted, journal editorial staff will solicit a reply from the author of the corresponding article; both letter and reply may appear in the same issue. Letters require statements of authorship responsibility and disclosure of conflicts of interest. They may include a limited number of figures, tables, slides, or other multimedia support. Letters should not be divided into sections. List authors and affiliations at the foot of the letter. Letters may be subject to peer review, and, as with other articles, they will be edited by PCD editors for clarity, sense, and style. Authors have the right to refuse publication after editorial revisions have been made. Please note that some indexing/abstracting services do not include letters in their databases. Before submitting your manuscript, we suggest you check it against the Reviewer Checklist for Letters to the Editor (PDF–103K).
Number of words: text, no more than 750 words.
These articles provide systematic assessments of literature and data sources pertaining to our Scope of Interests. Authors should describe their methods for performing the review, including ways of searching for, selecting, and summarizing information. Use a structured abstract with the following headings: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. Meta-analyses also will be considered as reviews. Minireviews provide brief historical perspectives or summaries of developments in fast-moving areas (fewer than 2000 words and 40 references). Before submitting your manuscript, we suggest you check it against the Reviewer Checklist for Reviews (PDF–102K).
Number of words: text, no more than 3500 words; abstract, no more
than 250 words.
These articles describe disease prevention activities such as community programs, community-based interventions and evaluations, and field observations. They emphasize the context (community) in which the activity occurs and should offer special insight and commentary. Simple descriptions of events such as conferences or health fairs are not suitable for this category. Community Case Studies must use the following structure:Abstract
Use the following subheadings in a structured abstract: background, context, methods, consequences, and interpretation.
Before submitting your manuscript, we suggest you check it against the Reviewer Checklist for Community Case Studies (PDF–123K).
We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, short video or audiotapes (up to 5 minutes), multimedia, or other information that complements the article and that can be delivered or linked to via the Web.
Number of words: text, no more than 3000 words; abstract, 250 words.
These are instructional materials for professional development that focus on the practical application of methods. Sample topics include how to develop a logic model as a tool for program planning and evaluation; how to design and implement legal frameworks that can broaden the range of effective public health strategies; how to use geographic information systems to assess environmental supports for physical activity; and how to organize a regional coalition to coordinate efforts to reduce the public health burden of stroke. These articles are not subject to peer review.
Number of words: text, no more than 3000 words; abstract, no more than 250
These articles are intended to provide lay community leaders with practical information on promoting health in their communities. Authors may use examples from their own community, but these examples should illustrate a general point, or “step,” that is likely to work in readers’ communities. Authors should write these articles in plain language and avoid technical terms and jargon. In general, we expect that authors of these articles will be members of the community rather than health care professionals. We encourage the inclusion of audio/visual/multimedia materials. Insert references where appropriate. If selected books for lay audiences are useful, indicate where these can be found. These articles are not subject to peer review.
The recommended structure is:
Background: Provide a brief description of your organization. When was it established, and by whom? How is it funded (e.g., private charitable donations, government funding)? What is your mission? What is your approximate annual budget? How many staff do you have? Why did you decide to focus on the problem you chose? Do data support your decision (e.g., from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results)? Who is the target group audience? Why did you choose the intervention you chose? Does evidence exist to support your belief that it will provide the best solution for helping to solve your problem?
Implementation: Describe the program, budget, and sources of funding.
Impact: What was the reaction of the community to the program? What worked well? What could be improved?
Conclusion: What challenges were associated with this program? If the program is ongoing, what would you modify going forward? What are future plans for the program? What advice would you offer to another community interested in implementing this type of program?
References or reading lists are useful. However, these should be materials that lay readers can obtain and understand, such as information readily available on Web sites or in bookstores or public libraries.
Number of words: text, no more than 2000 words; abstract, 150
We welcome short reviews (500 to 1000 words) of soon-to-be-released and recently (within 6 months) published books on issues related to public health and the prevention of chronic disease. As part of the evaluation, answer these questions: Who is the intended audience (e.g., physicians, scientists, public health practitioners, general public)? What is the author’s purpose for writing the book, and is his or her argument convincing? Is the factual evidence correct, and does it support the author’s argument? Does the author present an objective point of view? Provide an evaluation of the book’s overall quality relative to similar works, and support any negative or positive comments with evidence. Please include the name of the book, name of the author, publisher’s name and location, number of pages, price, and ISBN.
We welcome brief announcements (25 to 75 words) of events of interest to our readers. In this section, we also include information (no more than 100 words) about upcoming conferences related to preventing chronic disease. Announcements should list the topics to be covered during the conference and may refer readers to a Web site with a full description of conference activities. These announcements will be put on our Web site within 2 weeks of approval for publication. All announcements must be submitted through Manuscript Central.
The opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors’ affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above. URLs for nonfederal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. URLs do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of Web pages found at these URLs.
This page last reviewed September 10, 2008