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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.

Specialized Database Searching

Many specialized discipline databases offer a way to search through reference lists or find out how many times a specific journal article has been cited. The most popular method is to use Advanced Search and then change the "Field" box to search within References. There are advantages to searching databases beyond Web of Science, Google Scholar and Scopus. A good example is that PsycInfo will tell researchers how many times their publications have been cited within psychology journals, books, and book chapters.

  • Notice that some databases can only search through HTML versions of full-text articles and not PDF while others can do both.
  • In some databases, searching full-text will search for words anywhere (acknowledgements, errata sheets, appendices, references, etc.). Others will only search the main body of the text of the article.
  • Each database has slightly different content – many have full text for newer articles, but not older ones.
  • For databases that only offer the option to search within full-text (and not specifically in references), the most effective search is a combination of author last name and a keyword from either the journal name or the article title.

Your Librarian

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