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Research Techniques for Undergraduate Research

This guide includes content from the library workshops "Advanced Research Techniques Honors & Emerging Scholars" and additional support content.

What is 'Citation Tracing'?

This module is borrowed in part from Hilton C. Buley Library, Southern Connecticut State University. 

'Citation Tracing' (also known as 'Citation Tracking') refers to both finding references cited in a given article and finding newer articles that cite the original article.

Think about whether you need to go back in time or forward in time. Ask:

  • Is the article you start with a classic that many other scholars have subsequently cited and you want to trace forward in time?
  • Or are you looking at a recent article that is a review article or otherwise has a rich literature review that you might want to trace back in time? 

This allows you to follow research-as-a-conversation through time--cited references are past research, while citing works are more recent (relative to the article you already know about.)

Finding Citing Works in Google Scholar

In the Results list of Google Scholar, below the entry for each result that has been cited, will be a 'Cited by [number]' link. The [number] is how many other entries Google Scholar has found that cite that work. Some of these may be duplicates. Click the link to see a list of citing works.

If there is no 'Cited by' link, then Google Scholar has not found any citing works. That does not mean it hasn't been cited, just that GS doesn't have records.

Note: pay attention to dates. Extremely new articles will have few if any 'Cited by' works, just because no one has had time to publish anything newer. Classic and high impact works may have hundreds (even thousands) of 'Cited by' works.