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Advanced Literature Searching

Citation Tracking to Expand a Literature Search

One way to expand your literature searching techniques is through citation tracking also called citation mining.

Citation tracking is a search method by which you look at the references or works cited page to find possible sources and look to see who has cited your source since it was published.

It can be a powerful search technique for building a literature review, especially when it comes to connecting the threads of a scholarly conversation. By tracking the citations for a source like an article, you are able to:

  • See where a scholarly conversation might have started.
  • Find additional sources that were published previously so you can see the history of the scholarly conversation.
  • Examine how the source builds on previous research and scholarship.
  • Discover newer sources that have been published that cite your original source.

Review the References

Mine the references to find sources related to your topic when you have a source that's helping you move forward with an assignment or research project. The in-text citations alert you to sources that you can find on the references list.

Look for Citing Sources

Looking for sources that cite a specific publication is a great option for finding newer research related to your topic. Sometimes these sources refute or criticize the source. Other times, they will help you develop your research question. Either way, it's worth exploring these sources during your literature search.

Example #1 - Reference Review

In-text Citations

While reading the literature review section of a paper, you will see the author(s) cite previously published articles, books, or book chapters. These can be possible sources for your literature review.

Take, for example, the article excerpt below. The authors cite Gardner and Galoozis' 2018 article, and mention how the current article contradicts the analysis by Gardner and Galoozis. Given this information, reading the Gardner and Galoozis article is a good idea. You could look at the references list of this article to find the full citation for Gardner and Galoozis' 2018 source. This will help you find the full text.

article excerpt highlighting in-text citation for Gardner and Galoozis (2018)

To see the full article above: Boomers to Millennials: Generational Stereotypes at Work in Academic Librarianship, by Jessica B. Hayes, Cecelia Parks, Samantha McNeilly, and Phill Johnson

Finding Full Text

There are a few options to find full text of a source when you have citation information.

One of the quickest ways is to use the title of the source, usually the article title, title of the book chapter, or book title. Enter the title into the library's Big Red Box. The link below is for a video about using this technique to locate full text of an article using the article title.

Example #2 - Scopus

Scopus - Cited by documents

When you know which publication you are looking for, you can find it in Scopus by searching for the title or for the DOI.

In this example, we are searching for the article title: Boomers to Millennials: Generational stereotypes at work in academic librarianship.

Using the drop-down menu to the left of the search box, we select "Article title" before completing the search.

article title search in scopus

After running the search, you will likely only see a few items in your results list. Here, we see only one article in the results list.

You can select the title of the source to explore. This will bring you to the detailed record page.

The detailed record is where you can find all the citation information, including a hyperlinked list of references, the citing documents, and related titles.

The "Citing document" are those sources, or documents, that are citing your original source. To view the full list, you can select the "View all citing documents" link.

detailed record with citing documents outlined

Once you've selected "View all citing documents," you see a results list, and you have the option to apply filters. When the citing documents list is large, for example over 50 titles, the filters are useful in narrowing the list. Try filters such as year, subject area, document type, etc. You can also "Search within results" by entering keywords.

citing documents results page

Example #3 - Google Scholar

Google Scholar - Cited by

Watch this short video to see how you can use the "Cited by" link in Google Scholar to find sources citing your original document. This video contains no narration.