Q: Is literature review required for an article that is complementary to another published article?

Detailed Question -

I am going to write an article which is complementary to my previous paper. I would like to know what kind of structure this second article should follow. I suppose I do not have to prepare the Literature Review section as it has already been described in the previous study.

1 Answer to this question

An original article should include all the sections – Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and Acknowledgements. The structure of an article does not change even if it is complementary to a previously published article. You should of course, refer to and cite the previous article wherever required, but the second article should also be structured in such a way that it can be read as a standalone article.

Any article needs a review of literature. I am not sure what your area of study is and what type of article you are planning to write. In general, a brief review of literature is necessary in the Introduction section of any manuscript to highlight what has been previously done in the area of study. It is important to cite these to showcase what is already known and what are the gaps in the previous studies. Citing the relevant articles will let the readers know the novelty of your article.

For example, if a previous study has examined the role of banks in rural areas of one state in a country, the next study can focus on how these banks are helpful in micro-financing agriculturists in the same rural area. So, for the second article, the author needs to cite the previous studies on the role of banks in that rural area.

Thus, what you need to look at is, if there have been any papers published in your area of study after your first paper was published. You can even cite your own paper in your second paper and talk about how your second paper advances the knowledge of your first paper. You should also cite some of the studies that you might have missed in your first paper and also look at different aspects of your research problem and develop new hypotheses and ideas for your second paper so that it does not become redundant. You must clearly explain how your second paper is supportive of the data presented in your first paper and how much more is it contributing to literature.

I hope you have got an idea as to why it is important to cite previously published papers and why a thorough review of literature is necessary for any given article.

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