Develop your idea

Know where to start to find research sources by topic

Identify relevant research and scholars by discipline and topic

Follow references and citations

Know where to start to do find research sources by topic

Explore Library Guides: SUBJECT guides introduce the best research sources (the best encyclopedias, library databases, and other academic resources available to you at Cornell) that you can mine to develop your own ideas and projects.

Cornell University Library Guides

Consult Subject Encyclopedias: Go beyond Wikipedia to find academic background information on your idea/ project. Encyclopedia articles are good for developing a topic; educating yourself quickly; learning variant spellings, vocabulary, and terminology; and finding cited references (bibliographies).
Use the library guides (linked above) to find many more subject-specific encyclopedias (online or in print).

Key resource for research overviews:

  • Annual Reviews Annually-published overview/synthesis of important topics in the study of 40 disciplines within the Biomedical, Life, Physical, and Social Sciences.

Identify relevant research and scholars by discipline and topic

Follow references and citations

Just as you follow links on the web, follow lists of works cited in the articles and books you read. There are two strategies to following citations:

  1.  Backward citation searching

    Looking at the list of all sources cited by an author is called 'backward citation searching'. It provides a snapshot of the thinking and research available at the time the research was published. It tells you what sources, ideas, theories have shaped and influenced a researcher.

  2. Forward citation searching
    Finding out whether an article was cited by authors after its publication will help you assess the importance of that article and how it has shaped subsequent research and scholarship.  This is called 'forward citation searching". Web of Science cited reference search (see below) provides forward citation searching.

This LibGuide skill guide will help you navigate cited reference searching in Web of Science, JSTOR, EBSCO databases, and other databases with this feature.