Results from different types of clinical research studies provide different types of evidence for evaluating the effects of a new drug or intervention. For this reason, it is important to recognize this phenomenon during reporting and to choose appropriate language to match the type of study that was done, because this can become critical to the interpretation and application of the results in clinical practice. In this article, we aim to highlight this issue through a series of examples and provide some guidance on what the appropriate language for different types of studies should be.

This editorial review was cowritten and developed as an expanded background piece to accompany the statement by the HEART Group journal editors, which is being published simultaneously with this article.

The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.