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Advanced Research Strategies


Why use advanced searching techniques in library databases? These search strategies are useful in that they:

  • contribute to a more focused, yet comprehensive search
  • increase the number of relevant results if you are finding too few
  • decrease the number of irrelevant results if you are finding too many

This section of the guide includes specific materials and guidance on::

Cited Reference Searching


Image illustrating linkages between a key article and the articles it cites that are older, and the newer articles that cite the key work

Leverage the intellectual connections between publications documented in their bibliographies to expand your identification of relevant literature.  Citation Chaining is the process of using the bibliography to find research material published at an earlier time.  Cited Reference searching uses the citation of a key publication to look at work published more recently that may be pertinent to your research.

Dr. Moya Bailey, NU School of Communication, published this book in 2021

The example below uses this as a key work illustrating how to identify who has cited this work, further developing this research conversation since the book's publication.

The Web of Science database is unique in offering CITED REFERENCE SEARCHING.  Usually entering the author's name (with first initials only - not done in this illustration!) and year of publication is sufficient.

Web of Science Cited References Search Screen image


From the initial search results screen, place check marks next to all the entries that match your key work.  Due to variations in how works are cited, there may be several different representations of the same work.  Click the SEE RESULTS button when selections are complete.

Web of Science initial search results screen


This search yielded 17 additional articles that have cited Dr. Bailey's book, published since the book's release in 2021.  This search was conducted March 2022 and over time, additional journal articles will become available in response to this search.

Web of Science search results display


Citation Links in Subject Databases

Article records in the Web of Science database include CITATION NETWORK links. This article has 51 references in its bibliography (Cited References), but has no citing references (Citations) at this time.   Don't judge this work harshly!!  This article was published in 2022 and at the time this image was captured (March 2022) there hadn't been time for it to be cited by other authors.

Web of Science database article display with citation network information highlighted


Scopus also provides links to references and cited by articles.  The Scopus record for the same article is provided below.

Scopus record with annotations

Other databases provide links to explore both bibliographic references and cited references.  The image below is taken from the GenderWatch database which selectively provides links for References, Cited By, and Documents with Shared References. 

GenderWatch database record display highlighting citation network information

Google Scholar also provides links between published works based upon citations.  The image below highlights where to find these options.

Google Scholar search results screen with annotations


Use the document or video linked below to add the FindIt@NU link to your Google Scholar searches and avoid paywalls, as shown in note #4 of the image above.

Google Scholar provides ADVANCED search options which may boost relevant results to the top of the display.  The Advanced Search screen can be found using the 'hamburger' menu (3 horizontal lines), top left of the Google Scholar landing page, as shown in the image below.

Google Scholar search screen with menu options highlighted

Many tools are being developed as applications of machine learning and GPT-3 language models.  Each application addresses a particular challenge experienced in the research process.  Just a few of these tools are linked here.  Some of these are free, some offer a free trial period, others are fee-based.  Each varies in how explicit they are about the sources of their citation data, how frequently it is updated, or any biases of subject coverage or content.

If you work with a tool not listed below, please share it and your experience!

Why Authors Cite
 “What do notes, marginal or footnote, actually do? From the first use of marginal glosses through the sophisticated citation and discursive forms of the nineteenth century, we have seen notes work in a dialectical exchange with the body text in question. The notes may gloss a basic text cum notis variorum like parasitic plants; they may support body text with citations of other works that the author embraces or rejects; they may enlarge on issues that would blunt the flow of the text's argument if included in it; they may create a parallel discourse on a related set of questions, as Gibbon's footnotes do with issues of historical judgment; they may show off the author's wide reading or membership in a discourse community; they may appropriate and manage the reading of a text.”

Connors, Robert J.  The rhetoric of citation systems -- Part II: Competing epistemic values in citation,
Rhetoric Review
, 17:2, 219-245, DOI: 10.1080/073501999359242; p.219


Teplitskiy, M., Duede, E., Michael Menietti, M., Lakhani, K.R.  (2022). How status of research papers affects the way they are read and cited.  Research Policy, 51(4): 104484 (


Although citations are widely used to measure the influence of scientific works, research shows that many citations serve rhetorical functions and reflect little-to-no influence on the citing authors. If highly cited papers disproportionately attract rhetorical citations then their citation counts may reflect rhetorical usefulness more than influence. Alternatively, researchers may perceive highly cited papers to be of higher quality and invest more effort into reading them, leading to disproportionately substantive citations. We test these arguments using data on 17,154 randomly sampled citations collected via surveys from 9,380 corresponding authors in 15 fields. We find that most citations (54%) had little-to-no influence on the citing authors. However, citations to the most highly cited papers were 2–3 times more likely to denote substantial influence. Experimental and correlational data show a key mechanism: displaying low citation counts lowers perceptions of a paper’s quality, and papers with poor perceived quality are read more superficially. The results suggest that higher citation counts lead to more meaningful engagement from readers and, consequently, the most highly cited papers influence the research frontier much more than their raw citation counts imply.


Content developed by Anne Zald and Jeannette Moss, 2023.