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Cited Reference Searching: A How-To Guide

This guide covers search techniques and resources that offer the ability to search the list of references (or footnotes) found in journal articles, books, websites, etc.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before searching for a cited reference in a database, do a keyword search and pull up a couple of articles at random to see how their cited references appear. Do they include titles of the articles, or author names spelled out in full? Use this information to influence how you construct your search.
  • Copy/paste information into a program (such as Word, Excel, or EndNote) to compile a list of citations that you can sort to eliminate duplication in the results. I also tend to note which database(s) provided the citation so I have an overall picture of which methods found results.
  • Try searching using author name spelling variations – due to common typographical errors and difficulty reading handwritten research notes.
  • Be careful of search pages which offer “citation search” features – these are not looking for cited references; rather they are offering the option to go directly to a specific article in the database.

Your Librarian

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Lorrie Pellack
Head, Research Services Dept.
150c Parks Library
Ames, IA 50011-2140
Phone: 515-294-5569