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HLS 401: Letter to the Editor/Commentary Guidelines

Letter to the Editor/Commentary assignment

List of Journals Currently Accepting Student Commentary


Find Health Sciences Articles in the Library Databases

Use CINAHL, ScienceDirect, ProQuest Research Library or the journal's homepage to access recent articles for commentary.  These databases (and others) can also be used to locate your supporting articles.        

How to Submit a Letter to the Editor


Your letter/commentary should be cited according to the preferred style of the journal in which it will be published.  Many journals use APA  style, but some use AMA or their own publishing "house style."  Follow the Information for Authors guidelines on your journal's web site, or check other articles in your journal to determine which style should be used.

Your Research Steps:

1. Select a journal article - 

A list of journals that currently accept letters to the editor is available at the link in the top left box on this page. Browse journals that are related to your major or another area of interest to you. On the list, use the "Indexed in" column to find out which database to use, and the "Full text" column to read the article in full.   Article should have been published only in the most recent 1 or 2 issues. 

2. Locate a previously published commentary or letter to the editor in that same journal -

Set the Publication Type limiter to "Letter" in CINAHL or Medline, or add the word "letter" to your search to find examples of letters to the editor . For print journals, be sure to check several issues for the Letters to the Editor feature, as some journals don't publish them in every single issue.


NOTE: After steps 1 and 2, be sure to meet with your instructor for article approval.


3. After reading the article carefully, find additional articles to support the points you will make in your letter -

Search the library catalog and databases for other articles on the same topic as the article you're commenting on.

4: Locate your journal's Information for Authors or Submission Guidelines -

Find your journal's official web site (search Google for the journal title) and look for an area called "For Authors" "Submission Guidelines", or similar.  This will tell you what citation style to use and how to format your letter (manuscript). Often the different types of article will be listed; if so look for the specific guidelines for letters or commentary (not all journals provide specific guidelines re: word count and references -- if you don't find them, follow the example letter you found in #2 above.)4.

5. With your instructor's approval, submit your article to the editor of your journal -

The submission process is different for each journal; please read How to Submit a Letter to the Editor (link on the left side of this page).

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