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Citation chasing

Also know as chaining is a search skill valuable for finding and verifying related sources


Image of 4 prarie dogs at Devils Tower National MonumentUsing citations from one source to find other sources is a powerful and efficient way to search both for what has been published before and what has been published after. The tactic of looking both ways is known as chasing citations (also known as forwards and backwards chaining.) This guide will help you do that effectively.

Search tactics

1.   Start with a known source, particularly a scholarly book or an article recommended or assigned to you. Use it to see who has cited it since it was published.

2.  Do a topic search and find an article right on topic. If it is recent, use the references cited in the source for similar material. If it is older, use tools to see if it has been cited.

3. Pay attention to reporting on your topic in blogs, social media, documentaries, and news sites. Find names of experts the reports interview or mention. Then, use the names of those researchers and scholars to find their work using search tools.

Primary search tools to use

Databases are beginning to add links to "Cited by" searches to article records. In most cases, this will lead you to articles, sometimes books that cite the article only found within the database. Web of Science is like this. If you go to the publisher's page for an article, you are more likely to find links to where it has been cited everywhere as well as when using search tools like Google Scholar.

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