Skip to main content

Citation Searching

What is Citation Searching?

Scholars and researchers have always found additional relevant papers by looking at the reference list or bibliography at the conclusion of papers and books.

Citation searching (sometimes called cited reference searching) is based on this method of finding further information. Once you have a useful reference to a book or journal article on the subject you are researching it will allow you to search forward in the published literature. Starting from your known reference you can locate new articles which cite that reference in their reference lists.

This also enables you to take a seminal article and uncover who influenced the author (who was cited) and go forward in time to discover how that seminal research affected newer works (who is citing it), following the development of an idea or theory through the literature.

In summary, citation searching enables you to:

  • find out if articles have been cited by other authors
  • discover references to a particular author
  • find more recent papers on the same subject
  • discover how a known idea or innovation has been confirmed, applied, improved, extended or corrected

How it works

This article is a highly cited article in its area:

KRAMER, R., 1999. Trust and distrust in organizations: Emerging perspectives, enduring questions. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, pp. 569-598. 

On Web of Science it has been cited over 600 times. This video shows you how to find out who has cited it.

Databases with citation searching function

The major citation searching resources are listed below. While all resources are continually expanding their scope, no one tool provides complete coverage.

Generally, Web of Science and Scopus offer good coverage of the sciences and social sciences. Google Scholar also has good coverage of all subjects, but its tools are less robust and there is little quality control. Coverage of the humanities, especially where there is more reliance on books, is limited.

More and more databases are now including citation information and will have Cited By orTimes Cited links in their article records. Examples include Business Source Complete, PsycinfoBiosis Previews andPubmed.