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Advanced Search Techniques


Citation Chasing

Backward Citation Chasing 

Backward Citation Chasing involves using the reference list or bibliography from books, journal articles, etc. as a way to identify sources for your own research. In this case, you are exploring what a scholar has identified as being an authoritative and relevant source. These sources will be older than the source citing them, hence “backwards.”

Forward Citation Chasing

Forward citation chasing (or cited reference searching) is, essentially, the inverse of backward citation chasing as it involves locating sources that have cited a work. In this case, you are exploring what sources reference a work you are using and, therefore, might be relevant to your research. Only some databases are capable of doing this; they are often referred to as a “citation index” or “citation database.

When citation chasing, it is helpful to export the results and import them into a citation management tool.

Methods for Forward Citation Chasing

Citation indexing databases like Web of Science and Google Scholar allow users to see the number of times a work has been cited and to identify the citing sources.

In Google Scholar, there is a "Cited by" hyperlink that provides a total count and links to the sources that have cited the work. 

A Google Scholar results page that includes the number of times different articles have been cited and links to more information about those citations.


In Web of Science, select "Cited Reference Search" and enter information about the work you are citation chasing. The results are in a list form that can be downloaded and imported into a citation management tool.

The Web of Science interface with the option to search cited references.