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Writing a Literature Review in Social Sciences

2 Ways for Citation Tracking

Two common ways for tracking references or citations to specific authors and/or articles:

1. Forward chaining:
Search an article/book at a Citation Indexes database, then locate the related works that cited the article/book. 

  • Google Scholar 
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (through Web of Science database)

2. Backward chaining:
Use an article/book for a starting point. Review "References" "Bibliography" or "Works Cited" section of the publication. Trace back and locate the previous publications on the subject, by searching article databases, library catalogs or Google Scholar

For example, if a paper on "fantasy sports" was published in 2007, use the backward chaining method to locate the works published in or before 2007. Use the forward chaining method to find the publications that cited the 2007 paper. The publications were most likely to be published in or after 2007. Use both backward and forward chaining methods to identify a citation network. 

Google Scholar

1) At Google Scholar, enter keywords 

2) Once you locate the most relevant article, click "Cited by" or"Related articles" under the search result to explore similar articles. 

Example Google Scholar search results page with red arrow pointing to article "Cited by" link

Social Science Citation Index

1) At Web of Science database, choose Social Science Citation Index database, then select "Cited Reference Search" mode

Red arrow pointing to "Cited Reference Search" in Basic Search drop-down menu

2) At the Cited Reference Search page, enter keywords, author's name (last name only is acceptable), and the date of publication. 

3) The results page will show you that the Farquhar's 2007 paper on fantasy sports was cited by 31 other publications (as of April 2015). You can sort the results by relevance, # of times cited, author, publication dates, etc. Please note that the recent publications are not cited by others yet. 

Example results page with red arrows pointing to number of results, "Sort by Relevance," date published, and times cited

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