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Find Information — Discovering More Sources

Discovering More Sources by Following the Citation Trail

Need to find more information on your topic?

  • What articles or books did your source cite? Look at the bibliography or footnotes.
  • What books or articles cited your source? Use Google Scholar or Scopus. Keep in mind this will not work for recently published works. 

Wikipedia References

You (or someone you know) have probably used a Wikipedia article to find sources. Find an entry on your topic, check the references - and you've got some sources to start exploring your topic!

You can do the same thing with journal articles and books. When you find a source that is particularly relevant or useful for your topic, you can look for books or articles your source has referenced. Finding one good source will help you find others!

For example: The Wikipedia entry on Macbeth contains this footnote:

Text from a Wikipedia article featuring linked number 62 at end of sentence.

Clicking the hyperlinked footnote number brings us to the footnote:

A footnote from Wikipedia linked from note number 62 above, reading "Marsden (2002, 21)."

Looking through the references using the author's last name comes up with this reference:

Citation of Jean Marsden chapter "Improving Shakespeare: From the Restoration to Garrick" in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage (Cambridge UP, 2002).

A search in the Library General Search comes up with the book chapter, which can be read online. A Wikipedia article has helped find a scholarly source!

Entry in library catalog for The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage.

"Cited By" in Google Scholar

The Cited by link under the Google Scholar citation is another way to expand your search and find more relevant articles. See Using "Cited By" in the Using Google Scholar tab in this guide.

Database tricks for this

Some Library databases have tools that will help you track citations. Check an item record to see if there is a link or a list for the item's references, or a link or a list for publications citing the item.

Link reading, "Cited References: (57) Times Cited in this Database: (1)."

If you notice an item with a very high "cited by" count, many other authors have found it valuable, and it might be worth investigating. The Scopus Database is a very good resource for this purpose. It is designed to display an item's references, as well as publications citing it.

Finding References from a Works Cited Page

Highlighted in-text citation reading (Chauvin, 2012).

When you're reading and find a reference that looks useful or interesting, you can look at the works cited (usually found at the end of an article, chapter, or book). 

Circled full citation for "Social norms and motivations associated with college binge drinking" associated with in-text citation above.

You can use the Library General Search, Google Scholar, or WorldCat to check if the Library has access to the item you've found. If the Library doesn't, don't panic! You can still make a request using interlibrary loan. One good source will help you find others.

Reference Books

Cover of Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.Reference books (encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, companions) are great places to find entries with bibliographies or references to related articles or books on your topic.  

The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (2003) includes an entry on "Snacks" with a brief bibliography of related book titles. 

Example citation of Joel Glenn Brenner's The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hersey and Mars (Broadway Books, 2000).

Search in Library General Search, Worldcat, or Google Scholar for items listed in the references. 

Catalog entry for Brenner's The Emperors of Chocolate.


eReference Books

Wikipedia is one place to find background information. In addition to Wikipedia, the library subscribes to multiple online reference resources that are as simple to search as Wikipedia, but return results written by experts in the field with more comprehensive bibliographies containing a higher number of scholarly sources.

The Library subscribes to the following eReference book collections: