Citation Chaining

Using reference lists to find additional relevant articles and books

Citation Chaining

If you find yourself stuck in the research process after finding only a few relevant journal articles or books, one research strategy you can use is called Citation ChainingCitation chaining is a research method by which you trace an idea or origins of a research topic both forward and backward in time for materials that are either cited by or cite resource you have. 

Citations are found in either the references or works cited section and they are a list of sources the author(s) of a book or article used to create the new work. As a researcher, you can use these citations to find articles and books with similar subjects.

Backward chaining involves using the list of references of an article to find other material relevant to your research topic.

Forward chaining involves identifying those authors who have cited the article. 

Photo credit: Bonnie Swoger