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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.

Finding Older Article Using Online Tools

You do not always need the full text of scholarly articles to look "backward" to find older, related articles in the starting article's References or Works Cited section. There are databases that are designed to help us look backward. One of these databases is Web of Science - a very useful tool! Let's get to work with our starting article.

The image below is of the full record for our starting article in the Web of Science database. Note that off to the right side of the full record, there is a link called Cited References. That link will provide the list of items in the References or Works Cited section of the starting article.

Web of Science cited references

When you click the Cited References link, a new page opens that lets us look "backward" at all the items from the starting article's References or Works Cited section. We can look through the list for other articles that might be of use to us.

Web of Science cited references list

Item 13 in the Cited Reference list is the older article about expressions of online identity that we identified earlier.

web of science older article

Other Databases with Cited Reference Options

Not every database has the feature to let you look backward at Cited References. In addition to the Web of Science, here are a few more databases (not a comprehensive list) that have this feature.

  • In PsycInfo (psychology database), look for the References link in each record.

Psycinfo cited references link

  • In SciFinder Scholar (chemistry database), look for the Get Cited link from the Get Related Citations drop-down menu.

Scifinder Scholar cited references


  1. Look up your starting article in the Web of Science database (use link above).
  2. If you find the article (might not always happen), open the full version of the record by clicking on the title
    Click the Cited References link to look at the items from your starting article's References or Cited Works section.
  3. Do you find any articles in that list that look relevant to your topic?