Skip to Main Content


General research guide for OSU's Sociology program, part of the School of Public Policy. Covers both undergraduate and graduate research.

Practice Using Web of Science (Social Sciences Citation Index)

Use the tips below to practice using the database Web of Science. Open up Web of Science in another tab or browser and try it out as you walk through this guide. Note: Web of Science is the platform for several databases one of which is called Social Sciences Citation Index.

What is Web of Science?

What's Included in Web of Science?

  • Information about scholarly journal articles from thousands of scholarly journals from both science and social science fields. It also has information about proceedings from conferences, book chapters, and review articles
  • Sometimes you can get to the full-text of the articles, but not always
  • Find who cited an article listed in Web of Science

When should you use it?

  • When you have a multidisciplinary topic
  • When you are looking for scholarly sources
  • When you want to find links between articles on your topic

How Do I Use Web of Science

Start by entering some keywords. Web of Science searches a smaller set of fields, so start with a broad search (use fewer keywords). The results of your search are displayed in the middle column. Options for refining your search are on the left side. Learn more about refining in the next module (below).

Refine a Search

Most databases allow you to refine your search. Web of Science has some refining choices targeted at people interested in doing science. You can see the main funding agencies, countries where the research happens, the top authors and research organizations who work on the articles about your topic - as well as many more choices.

The options for refining your search are shown on the left side of the search results screen. Here's an example of how to refine by article type.

Accessing the Article

To get to articles in Web of Science click on the Find it @OSU button below the article title.

Several things may happen when you click this link: The PDF of the article may open. Or a page with a link to an article or journal may open. If this happens, click the article or journal link. This will take you to the publisher's website. Depending on the year the article was published you may need to navigate to the article using the date, volume, issue and page number information given in the citation. Once you find the article, look for PDF links to open up the full-text of the article.

If you click on the Find it @OSU button and the page says we don't have the full-text of the article, click the Request from Interlibrary Loan and the library will secure the article for you. The Interlibrary Loan department will email you the article; this service typically takes 1-3 days and is free.

Find the Connections Between Articles

Web of Science's best feature is its ability to show the connections between articles on a topic. It does this by showing who has cited an article. Make use of this feature by clicking on the Times Cited number next to specific articles you are interested in.

Or to most easily find the most cited articles on your topic (a proxy for "most popular" or "well known") change the sort by option on the top of the results page.

A screenshot of the Web of Science database. On the lefthand sidebar, it says "Results: 267". On the top righthand side, the "Times Cited" filter option is circled in red.