In order to track research trends over time, scholars often count citations. A citation count establishes how many times an article has been cited in other articles. Citation indexes were created to help scholars in this endeavor. A citation index is a database that allows scholars to easily establish which later articles cite which earlier articles. Citation counts are used to measure the impact of an article on a particular field of study. Is this a groundbreaking article that all the scholars in that field read before conducting their own research? Was the article published at the tail end of a research trend?
If you do not have access to a citation index, you can use Google Scholar and certain other databases. See the General Options page of this guide to get started. The Specialized Areas page will help you use databases specific to your subject area to track citations. Beyond Ship explores powerful citation indexes such as Web of Science and Scopus, which may be accessible at other local universities.