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Citation Databases for Literature Review

Citation Databases

Citation databases are a valuable resource for conducting a literature review because they allow researchers to identify and analyze the most influential works in a particular field. Citation databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar track the number of times a particular article has been cited by other researchers.

  • Different citation databases cover different types of publications and disciplines. It is important to choose a database that covers the types of publications that are relevant to your research question. For example, if you are conducting research in the sciences, you may want to choose a database that includes scientific journals, conference proceedings, and technical reports.

  • Depth of Coverage: Some databases cover a broader range of disciplines and publications, while others specialize in a particular subject area. Depending on your research question, you may want to choose a more specialized database for in-depth coverage of your topic.

  • Search Features: Citation databases vary in their search features and capabilities. Some databases offer more advanced search options, such as the ability to search by author affiliation, funding agency, or grant number. It is important to choose a database that has the search features you need to conduct a thorough literature review.

  • Citation Metrics: Some citation databases provide citation metrics, such as the h-index or impact factor, that can help you evaluate the influence and impact of a particular publication or author. If citation metrics are important to your research question, you may want to choose a database that provides this information.

Here are some tips for using citation databases for a literature review:

  • Choose the right database: There are several citation databases available, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Consider which database is most appropriate for your research question and discipline.
  • Use keywords: Use relevant keywords to search for articles that are relevant to your research question. Be specific and use synonyms to expand your search.
  • Sort by citation count: Most citation databases allow you to sort search results by the number of citations received by each article. This can help you identify the most influential articles in your field.
  • Look for patterns: Analyze the articles that cite the most influential works to identify patterns and trends in your field.
  • Check for completeness: Citation databases are not perfect and may not include all relevant articles. Be sure to cross-check with other databases and resources to ensure that you have a complete picture of the literature in your field.
  • Use citation management software: Citation management software such as Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote which helps to keep track of the articles, store and organize references, and automatically generate citations and bibliographies.

Refer to the below LibGuides to learn and use Web of Science citation database and Journal Citation Report to evaluate journals for your literature review.

  1. Web of Science (WoS) : Getting Started
  2. Journal Citation Report