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Citation Searching

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Why do Citation Searching?

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.

General Options

Google Scholar

  1. Go to Google Scholar and select the drop-down arrow on the right side of the search bar.
  2. A window with the title "Find Articles" will pop up. In the search box next to "Return articles authored by" type in the name of the author whose citations you are tracking. Keep in mind that many scientific publications only use authors' first and middle initials, rather than their first or middle names. For this example, I searched for "p diplas" for Panayiotis (Panos) Diplas, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Click the blue search button with the magnifying glass in the center to search for this author.
  3. The search results Google Scholar returns are articles written by Dr. Diplas. Underneath each article you will see a hyperlink in blue, "Cited by," with a number after it. This is the number of times the article has been cited. Google Scholar lists each publication from the most cited at the top of the page, down to the least cited.
  4. Select the "Cited by" option. This will show you which publications have cited this specific article.
  5. You can refine your search results using the options on the left hand side of the screen. For instance, to see how many times the article has been cited in a certain date range, select "Custom range" and enter the years of the time period you're interested in.

Academic Search Complete

  1. In Academic Search Complete, select "Cited References" in the blue ribbon at the top of the screen.
  2. Type in the name of the author you're interested in (for example: Arensberg, Conrad), and hit "Search." A list of articles and books written by the author will appear.
  3. Underneath each citation, you will see the number of times the article was cited in the database, "Times Cited in this Database."
  4. Select the articles/books you are interested in tracking and click "Find Citing Articles."
  5. This will show you which articles cited the author's work.

Specialized Areas

EBSCO Subject Specific Databases

These databases (provided to us by EBSCO) all share a common interface. Follow these procedures to track citations in any of these databases.

  1. Once you've entered the database, select "Cited References" in the blue ribbon at the top of the screen. If you do not see "Cited References" listed, look under "More" in the blue ribbon.
  2. Type in the name of the author you're interested in (for example: Arensberg, Conrad), and hit "Search." A list of articles and books written by the author will appear.
  3. Underneath each citation, you will see the number of times the publication was cited in the database, "Times Cited in this Database."
  4. Select the articles/books you're interested in tracking and click "Find Citing Articles."
  5. This will show you which articles cited the author's work.

More Subject Specific Databases

Follow the directions listed under each of these individual databases to track citations.

Beyond Ship

Citation Indexes