Opinion articles present the researcher’s viewpoints on the strengths and limitations of a scientific hypothesis or theories. Consequently, they help us ponder over or make us think about where we stand, where are we going and what should we do to meet the rapidly changing research trends. This form of writing involves constructive criticism. These articles are intended to encourage scientific discourse that defies the current state of knowledge in that specific field. As an esteemed scientist you get the satisfaction of expressing your unique perspectives in a competitive manner. Again, it is undoubtedly the most-read section of a journal. In the best case, it could also inspire decision-making!
Characteristics of an Opinion Article
Opinion articles are written to share an author’s perspective on a contemporary issue. It must add significant value to the scientific literature pool. Additionally, unlike original research articles, it is variant that is briefer, crisper and has a clear point of view. Indeed, it is also equally important that the authors present a well-balanced overview of the field in terms of research representation for all the concerned groups. Indeed, the fundamental idea of encouraging opinion pieces is to stimulate healthy debates about new research. Moreover, they assist in discussing possible consequences or effects of new research, provide a new framework for an old existing problem or any current issue.
Structure of an Opinion Article
Opinion pieces may not strictly follow the IMRaD format. The author has to ensure that ideas are logical and presented in a coherent manner. Opinion article are usually around 2000-3000 words and have an accompanying short abstract of about 150-300 words. It may have a minimum of 5 to 10 references and one or two tables or figures at the maximum.
Generate a concise and specific title that clearly reflects the idea of the article.
For instance, “What is the impact of factor ABC on subject PQR: A systematic analysis” or “ Is A a risk factor for B: a case control study”
Ensure that your provide the complete list of authors, their full names and institutional addresses.
Clearly indicate the corresponding author.
The abstract must be a succinct summary of around 150 words that briefly explains the significance and relevance of the article. You may include the background, the main body, followed by a short conclusion. Do not add any citations in the abstract. Abbreviations and acronyms may be added if absolutely essential. Ensure to spell them correctly. In certain cases, the journals may not require an abstract at all.
Provide 4-6 keywords relevant to your subject of discussion. This helps in improving the visibility of the article.
Provide background information with a brief summary of existing literature. Once you establish the base, present your statement of purpose towards the end.
The main body must be logical and well-structured. Ensure that every viewpoint is presented in a lucid manner, making it easy to read and review. Introduce your topic and outline all the existing opinions and perspectives about the issue. In addition, always make sure that the opinions or models have strong and credible supporting evidence. Add relevant, meaningful and informative subheadings to the article for better distinction of arguments.
Summarize your arguments with evidence that supports your statement. Furthermore, discuss the applications and implications of your opinions. You may also recommend future directions for research. It is also important to mention any limitations or shortcomings related to your opinion piece for an unbiased overview.
Declarations in An Opinion Article
Some journals require a declaration section that includes the following:
- Authors must disclose any financial or non-financial competing interests.
2. Authors must provide ethics approval and consent to participation in the study (if human subjects/ human tissue/ human data are involved). Mention the ethics statement and the name of the ethics committee that approved the study.
3. Consent for publication for any human data involved in the report.
4. Availability of data and materials statement must include information about the source of data supporting your findings reported in the article. You may also provide hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets that were refereed to, analyzed or generated during the course of your study. Providing the sources help other to accurately interpret, replicate and build upon the published data. However, please refrain sharing data that may compromise individual privacy.
Examples of data availability statements may include:
- The datasets analyzed/generated during the present study can be availed from [Name of the repository and web link to the dataset].
- All the data analysed or generated during the present study have been included in the supplementary files.
- The datasets analysed/referred to/generated during the present study are available from the corresponding author on rational and valid request.
5. Clearly state the funding sources and their role in the design of the study, data collection and analysis, interpretation of data and in the writing of the article.
6. Individual author’s contributions should be specified.
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