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Lund University

LTH Master's student guide: Citation searching

This is a helpful tool when writing your master's thesis at LTH (Faculty of Engineering). - by librarian Emma-Lisa Hansson

Citation searching & Pearlgrowing technique

In this section you will be acquainted on how to and where to find the recent published literature you need by using a search method called "citation searching".

Pearl growing is when it comes to searching for information, the process of using one information item (like a subject term or citation) to find more information! This search strategy can be very useful when a searcher uncovers new ”pearls” about a topic. From a relevant document, you might be able to find other keywords, descriptors and themes to use in a following search.

  • Citation pearl growing is when a searcher has a relevant source (or citation) to find more relevant sources on a topic. Usually that is a document that matches a topic or information need.
  • Subject pearl growing is useful in databases that includes subject or keyword descriptors. By clicking on one subject, the searcher is able to find other related subjects and subdivisions that may or may not be useful to the search.

Citation searching & Citation analysis

Many of the publications you find will contain relevant bibliographies. Bibliographies are great to get a background for the article that you are currently reading. but what happend after the document was published? That's when you need to do a citation search.

Citation searches gives you a perspective on what happened after the document was published  who has cited the publication you have found? In this way you will find recent literature. You can also find out what the most cited documents are within your subject.

What is citation analysis?

Citation analysis is a way of measuring the relative importance or impact of

  • An author
  • An article
  • A publication

Measuring is done by counting the number of times that the above has been cited by others.

Who is using citation search & what are the reasons for this technique?

  • Who is citing my articles? How many times have I been cited? (Professor)
  • How do I know if this article is important? (Student)
  • Which journal should I publish in for my tenure? (Researcher)
  • What are the best journals in the field of Anthropology? (PhD student) 

Everybody that wants more information within their specific subject uses citation searching and analysis. The method may vary but everybody uses the same tools!

Reasons for performing a citation search 

  • Find the original work on which an idea or research is based
  • Find reactions to a research work
  • Find authors working in a similar research field
  • Follow up further developments in the research field 
  • Find the impact of one author’s work on others’ work

Where can I go to do citation searching?

Head over to Scopus, Web of Science or even Google scholar or visit your library or book an librarian for instruction.

Where does the citation count come from?

The citations comes from a "citation index".

The definition of citation index is: ”A citation index is a kind of bibliographic database, an index of citations between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents cite which earlier documents”. 

Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org