Citation Searching

A citation searcher starts with a known reference and then searches within the bibliography of an article, book, or other material for cited references to their key work. In other words, the searcher starts with a reference (journal article, book, etc.) that they are interested in and looks within sources published at a later date for citations to the original work. Citation searching is sometimes referred to as “cited reference searching.”

Why do citation searching?

  • To find similar research
    Looking up a key work that you are interested in can help you find later works that have cited it. This allows you to find new material that is influenced by the reference that you have.

  • To find out how important a work is to your research
    Citation searching will show you how often a work has been cited by other authors. This can illustrate the impact that a work has on a given field. The greater number of times it is cited, the greater impact it has had.

What databases allow citation searching?

It's best to start with a citation database such as Scopus, that covers all subjects. 

Additionally, you may try searching some library's subject specific databases that allow for cited reference searching. Because many databases include references for articles and other items, you can search across the database's cited references. From there, you may be able to see authors and items that cited those references. Please note, most database do not include references for every item indexed. 

The databases in the following categories have citation searching capabilities:

All Subjects

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature.

  • 19,500 peer-reviewed journals (including 1,900 open access journals), 400 trade publications, 360 book series, and “Articles-in-Press” from over 3,850 journals.
  • 49 million records: 28 million records go back to 1996 (of which 78% include citing and cited references), 21 million records pre-1996 which go back as far as 1823 (abstracts are included where available, but these do not include cited references), and 5.3 million conference papers from proceedings and journals.
  • Find out who is citing you, and how many citations an article or an author has received
  • Analyze citations for a particular journal issue, volume or year
  • Use this information to complete grant or other applications
  • Use the refine results overview to quickly see the main journals, disciplines and authors that publish in your area of interest
  • Uncover important and relevant articles that you may have missed
  • Click on the cited by and reference links to track research trends and make connections.

Google Scholar allows you to freely search for scholarly information on the web. To find cited references and related articles:

  • Search for your original work with the Google Scholar search option. Your item will have Cited By link. Cited By identifies all articles, books and other sources that cite your original article within Google Scholar. Clicking on the Related Articles link will bring up a list of references to other documents that are similar to the cited article.

Note that Google Scholar does not always have access to the full text of an article or you may have to pay to access an article. If the full text is not available, search the library’s Journal Finder by the journal your article is in to see if it’s available at USF.

JSTOR includes older articles from scholarly journals in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

  • Search for a specific author or title. A full-text search will search the references of articles in JSTOR.
  • Or, click on the title of a specific article. If your article was cited by other articles in JSTOR, links to those will be provided to the right. A link to search Google Scholar for items citing the article is also provided.

Business & Management

Business Source Complete contains articles, many of which are in full-text, on all disciplines in business. 

  • Search for cited references going back to 1998. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

Communication and Media Studies

Communication Source indexes more that 1000 core journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study.

  • Search for cited references. In the top menu bar, select Cited References and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

Environmental Science

Environment Complete and GreenFILE both contain articles and information on environmental topics.

  • Run your search in either database from the advanced search screen. When available, the Times Cited in this Database link in your search results presents a list of articles in Environment Complete or GreenFile that cite your original article.
  • Or, search directly for cited references. In GreenFILE, click on Cited References at the top of the Advanced Search Screen. In Environment Complete, under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

History

America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts

America: History and Life is an article database covering the history and life of the United States and Canada. Historical Abstracts covers the history of the world, excluding the United States and Canada, focusing on the 15th century forward.

  • Search for cited references. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

Nursing & Health Science

CINAHL Complete indexes articles on nursing as well as physical and occupational therapy, sports science, and other allied health topics.

  • Run your search from the advanced search screen. When available, the Times Cited in this Database link in your search results presents a list of articles in CINAHL that cite your original article.
  • Or, search directly for cited references. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

PubMed Central
Contains bibliographic citations and author abstracts covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. You cannot search cited references in PubMed directly, but you can find citations and citing articles available in PubMedCentral, a free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

For this search you are looking within other article reference lists for your original work.

  • Select PMC (PubMedCentral) in the top menu bar.
  • Click the Preview/Index tab and then select Reference or Reference Author from the drop-down menu.
  • Type your search terms in the text box and click the Preview button.
  • Click the Go button in the main search box to view the search results.

Politics

Political Science Complete is an article database covering global political topics.

  • Search for cited references. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

Psychology

PsycINFO focuses on psychological research, including applied psychology.

  • Search for cited references. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

PsycNET is a full-text database comprised of approximately 50 journals published by the American Psychological Association.

  • Search for an article title or author. In the results display, you'll see Cited by next to articles that have been cited. Click on those links to display citing references.
  • Or, select the Cited References tab near the top of the main search screen to search works cited lists. Search by author or title of article cited. Click the Cited in link to see where a particular work was cited.

Science, Mathematics, & Technology

ScienceDirect

  • Search ScienceDirect by author or document title.
  • Click on the title of the document to retrieve further information.
  • On the right hand side of the screen you will see a green table, with a Cited By link. Click on this link to retrieve available citations.

MathSciNet

The American Mathematical Society’s searchable web database indexes citations and abstracts to articles and books on mathematical subjects.

  • Click on the tabs at the top of the main search screen to search for author citations or journal citations.

SciFinder

Contains references in all areas of chemistry from 1907-present.

  • Click on Citing under each reference to see references that cited the original source.

Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts

Subject coverage includes librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.

  • Search for cited references. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search. From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items. 

Sociology

SocIndex with Full-Text 

  • Search for cited references. Under Advanced Search, select More > Cited References near the top and conduct your search.  From the results screen, select the checkbox(es) for the item(s) you are interested in, and click Find Citing Articles.  You'll see research that referenced your selected items.  

Where else can I do citation searching?

Web of Science
Web of Science is a citation database comprised of Social Science Citation Index, Science Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index. Due to high cost of subscribing to Web of Science, USF does not have access to this database. It is, however, available at several publicly accesible libraries in the Bay Area including UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and UC San Francisco (UCSF), among others. UCSF library, located at 530 Parnassus Avenue, is closest to USF. To search Web of Science, you must physically go to these libraries.