Observational epidemiology is continually held to thestandard of randomized trials. A typical epidemiology article references previous trials in the introduction (or reasons why trials are not feasible) and, when possible, compares the results to previous trials in the discussion. When the results from an observational study and trial disagree, we nearly always begin by questioning the former. Curiously, the methods section of an observational study — an undeniably crucial part of an article — rarely references trial methods or designs. Explicit target trial emulation aims to remedy this.