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Thesis Writers Toolbox

Help with literature review research and state of the field research: tools and tricks for rounding up all the resources you need for your review, introduction and more....

Cited Reference Searching Basics

What is Cited Reference Searching?

  • Cited Reference Searching allows you to "go forward in time" from a book or article you know to newer books or articels which have cited your original source since it has been published.
  • Normally you look at the end of a book or article for the references cited, all of which have been published earlier than the piece you are reading.

  • For example, when I read Keith Basso's "Portraits of "The Whiteman" which was published in 1979, all works cited are dated earlier than 1979. 

  • However, if I want to know who has cited Basso's work since it has been published, I will use the "Cited Reference" searching approach.

 
Why Use Cited Reference Searching?
  • To establish the impact of a given book or article:

  • The more often it's been cited the more "important" it is

  • To find a series of related works that update (rather than predate) the work I know.

  • To investigate the intellectual history of an idea, method or scientific approach. The assumption is that if an author cites a given work, she is engaging with at least one idea in that work. Thus we can follow a thread of research or reasoning by doing a cited reference search.

  • For example in "Portraits..." Basso explores joking in intercultural encounters. By finding out who has cited this work, I can find more recent works on this subject.