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The modules on this page will teach you how to use one good scholarly article to find other related scholarly articles.
You can use the example articles shown to try the process for yourself or use a scholarly article you already have for a project you are currently working on.
Look at this example to see what this looks like in action.
While this tutorial focuses on Web of Science and Google Scholar, some subject databases also offer options to find newer, cited sources. Look for links like "Cited by" or "Times Cited" when using your favorite database. Here are a just a few that have this feature.
In this tutorial, our topic is college students' use of social networking sites. The starting scholarly article is shown below. The citation for this article can be found in a number of library databases and other search tools including 1Search, Academic Search Complete, ERIC, Google Scholar, and Web of Science.
Whatever your topic, the key to finding several good related sources is to find one good starting source.
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.
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.
Unlike looking backward for older articles (where we can look at the References section of the article itself), we have no way of looking at our starting article and finding newer, related articles without the use of some online tools to help us. This does make sense if we stop and think about it. At the time an article is published, there is no way to know what other researchers will eventually find it and include it in their reference lists.
Note the difference in the number of newer items that Web of Science and Google Scholar link out to. Each tool covers a different set of journals and Google Scholar includes books (Web of Science tends not to include books in its Times Cited numbers).
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