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Literature Reviews: Overview

Tracking Citations

The first step in tracking citations is by locating the sources cited by authors with whom you are already familiar or sources you have already found.

Cited reference searching will:

  • Lead to related articles and authors.
  • Indicate the most influential sources on particular topics.
  • Show what else you ought to read in order to gain a mastery of a subject.

Here are links to tools you can use to search cited references.

  1. Web of Science
  2. Google Scholar research guide

Your librarian might have additional suggestions listed in the subject guides.

Dissertations & Theses

See who has written on a topic similar to yours and who they have included on their literature reviews.

Includes 2.4 million dissertation and theses citations from around the world from 1861 to the present, including 1 million full-text dissertations that are available for download in PDF format.

The Scholarly Conversation

In addition to searching by topic in all the usual sources for your discipline, as listed on the subject guides, a thorough lit review also includes tracking citations and citation searching.

Using sources is a kind of conversation, a scholarly conversation. When you read publications, you are engaging those authors in a discussion that is taking place in their absence. So, when producing your own publications (blog, paper, article, book, etc.), you need to recognize their contributions to your argument; and, moreover, allow anyone reading your paper to join fully in this exchange of ideas. In other words, your citations need to recognize someone else's ideas and to acknowledge what thoughts of theirs inspired yours.

Similarly, when reading others' work, their citations provide a way for you to follow their thought process as well as engage directly with the people with whom they have been consulting. In fact, sometimes the citations of a well-researched source can be more helpful than the content. So, do not just dismiss a source does not precisely address your topic. If their conversation overlaps with yours, check out who they have been reading. This is one of many reasons to search dissertations.