Citation searching (or cited reference searching)

Citation searching, which is also known as cited reference searching, is useful if you already have a useful reference to a book or journal article on the subject you are researching. It allows you to search forward in the published literature, starting from your known reference, to locate new articles which cite your known reference in their bibliographies (the lists of references usually found at the end of chapters, or journal articles). At the end of this page you will find a example of how citation searching works.

Citation searching is only available on a small number of databases, notably Web of Science and its constituent parts Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index on Web of Knowledge

  • citation searching is a useful alternative to other methods of subject searching, and can sometimes give better results. It is probably best to try various approaches;
  • citation searching usually works best if your known reference is of high quality by leaders in the field, and limited to the subject you are researching;
  • citation searching is not the same as searching for articles by an author;
  • to make a citation search on the Web of Knowledge citation databases it is usually best to use the first named author of the reference you have (though a co-author's name will probably work as well), and its date of publication.
  • the number of references you find in a citation search is not necessarily a measure of the quality of the cited reference; a notoriously bad paper can be cited often!

Question
M. Herbert's 1976 article in Br. J. Med. Psych. (Vol.49) is an important article in my field; what articles since 1976 have cited this reference?

Answer
Using a citation search on Web of Knowledge finds numerous articles, over 70, from 1981 to date which give the Herbert article as a reference. One of these references is reproduced below, a journal article by I.D. Brown published in the journal 'Human factors' in 1994:

TI- DRIVER FATIGUE
AU- BROWN, ID
JN- HUMAN FACTORS
PY- 1994
VO- 36
NO- 2
PG- 298-314

Here is part of the list of references in Brown paper, which includes the Herbert paper:

HAMELIN_P, 1987 Vol.30 p.1323, ERGONOMICS
HARRIS_W, 1977 p.133, VIGILANCE THEORY OPE
HARRIS_W, 1972, 17272 HUM FACT RES I
HERBERT_M, 1976 Vol.49 p.373, BRIT J MED PSYCHOL
HERBERT_MJ, 1964 Vol.3 p.1, J ENG PSYCHOL
HOBFOLL_SE, 1989 Vol.44 p.513, AM PSYCHOL
HORNE_J, 1992 Vol.133 p.20, NEW SCI
etc

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