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Citation Tools

Selected Recent Publications by FAU Faculty from Web of Science

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Backward Reference Searching

References Example

Image Source:  Finch, W.H., & Hernandez Finch, M. E. (2020).  Poverty and COVID-19: Rates of incidence and deaths in the United States during the first 10 weeks of the pandemic.  Frontiers in Sociology, 5:47.  DOI: 10.3389/fsoc.2020.00047

Backward reference searching, also known as chain searching, involves identifying and examining the references or works cited in an article.  It is done for the following reasons:

  • Learn about the development of knowledge on a topic. 
  • Study the origins and development of a theory, construct, or model of interest. 
  • Identify experts, institutions or organizations that specialize in a topic of research.

A second-level or second-generation backward reference search is when a researcher examines sources cited by the references used in an initial article.  This allows a researcher to identify inconsistencies in the literature.  Third-level or third-generation searches are where the references of articles located in a second-level or second-generation reference search are examined.  These searches can also go further back.

Backward Author Searching.  The works of an author can be examined by doing a backward reference search.  This allows a researcher to review an author's previous work and publications, and also the development of their research.

Tools for Backward Searching (Available Through the FAU Libraries)

Web of Science (Clarivate)

Exploring Funded Research

Tips on Backward and Forward Reference Searching

Last updated on Oct 7, 2022 3:20 PM