22 Strategy #4: Citation Tracking

A final strategy for finding more sources to support your writing is to examine the works cited by the authors of the sources you find.

quotation marks in a circle
Figure 3.5 Scholarship as a conversation. Original image by 905513.

Consider that scholarship is a conversation among researchers on a particular subject, with everyone offering evidence, theories, and criticism to advance what is known and what may not be known about a topic. Your task is to understand what connections are being made between these viewpoints, how you will integrate them in your own work, and what conclusions or advances you might be able to add.

In practical terms, as a researcher, this means paying attention to the reference lists or bibliographies of the works you find in your initial searching. This is known as citation tracking and is an important strategy to use to find additional resources.


There are a couple of ways to do this:

  1. Follow the authors and works mentioned in the introduction or literature review section of your first article
  2. Use the links that Summon, library databases, and sometimes Google Scholar provide to locate any articles that cite your article, as well as other recommended or related works. Look for: Cited By, Recommended, or Related articles


ACTIVITY: Click on the Hotspots

The image below is taken from the introduction of an article on populism, found in one of the library’s databases. Click on the purple question marks to view details from the article record.

(Use Fullscreen to expand and your keyboard’s Esc button when finished.)




Image: “Citation circle” adapted by author from original 905513.

Article: Moffitt, B., & Tormey, S. (2014). Rethinking populism: politics, mediatisation and political style. Political Studies62(2), 381–397. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9248.12032


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Doing Research Copyright © 2020 by Celia Brinkerhoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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