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Cited Reference Searching & Acceptance Rates

Search Tips

  • Make sure you have the accurate citation to the article.
  • Before searching for a cited reference in a database, do a keyword search and look at a few articles to see how their cited references appear.
    • Do they include titles of the articles?
    • Are author names spelled out in full or abbreviated?

Use this information to help you construct your search.

  • Test the search first using a cited reference that you know is in the database and see how effective the Advanced Search function is at finding that particular reference.
  • Try searching using author name spelling variations – due to common typographical errors and difficulty reading handwritten research notes.
  • Be careful when search pages which offer “citation search” features – these are not looking for cited references; rather they are offering the option to go directly to a specific article in the database.
  • Some databases can only search through HTML versions of full-text articles and not PDF while others can do both.
  • In some databases, searching "full text" will search for words anywhere (acknowledgements, errata sheets, appendices, references, etc.). Others will only search the main body of the text of the article.
  • Many databases/collections only contain references starting in recent years – 2002 to the present. Older citations may exist but may not be included in the database.
  • Each database has slightly different content – many have full text for newer articles, but not older ones.
  • For databases that only offer the option to search within full text (and not specifically in references), the most effective search is a combination of author last name and a keyword from either the journal name or the article title.
  • Web search engines (like Google Scholar) will pull up multiple links (including mirror sites) with many duplicate entries.

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