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Use One Good Article to Find Others

Overview & Contents

This modules in this section of the tutorial show ways to "look backward" to find older articles that serve as a foundation for our starting article.

Research Foundation

At any point in time, scholarly research is built upon a foundation of other older scholarly research. As researchers do their work, they read and think about and are inspired by the work done (and published) by others. That older scholarly research sets the foundation and context for new questions that researchers ask and the experiments or studies they design to answer those questions.

Finding Older Articles Using Our Starting Article

Any reader of a scholarly article can indentify the foundation for that work by looking at the article's References or Works Cited section. The items in the References or Works Cited section are also called "cited references"  meaning that the author(s) of the article we are looking at cited these references in his or her own article because of their importance and relevance to the topic. Cited references are always older than the current article so we can refer to this as "looking backward." We can look backward beginning with our starting article  (pictured below) and identify articles in the References or Works Cited section that we should consider reading given their relevance to our interest in online identity.

image shows a sample academic article

image shows example from a reference page


Looking backward into the References section of the starting scholarly article by Tiffany Pempek and her colleagues, we can identify a scholarly article (older, as it was published in 2004) that also addresses online identity, a concept that Pempek and her colleagues discuss. This older article by S.R. Stern addresses online identity in the time before social networking sites became popular and thus provides some historical context and research regarding online identity. This older article is providing part of the foundation for the newer research conducted by Tiffany Pempek and her colleagues.



  1. Find the References or Works Cited section of your starting article and look "backwards" for relevant and interesting articles.
  2. Did you find more than one interesting article?
  3. If you read the starting article and the older related article, can you trace how the research in the older article influenced the research done for the newer, original starting article?