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PSYC 257: Laboratory Research Methods in Social Behavior and Interpersonal Processes

Professor Neil Lutsky - Winter 2024

Citation and Subject Searching

One great way to build a library of articles on a specific topic is to start with one good article that focuses on that topic. From there, you can use different methods to find related research.

Citation searching

Using the bibliography to find older articles

Researchers cite articles that are related to the topic, and this is a great way to expand your search to find more research on the topic. 

  1. Read through the introduction to the article. The introduction will often include a literature review that should put prior research into context of how it relates to the article's topic. Highlight any references in the introduction that look relevant and then find them in the bibliography.
  2. Some online articles will have links from the bibliography to the articles. If you can't get to the article that way, use Catalyst to search for the title of the article.

Using a "Cited Reference" search to find newer articles

If you want more recent articles, you'll need to do a "cited reference" search to find articles that have cited your article. Web of Science, Google Scholar and PsycINFO will find articles that have cited your article. Since each looks at a slightly different group of journals, you should search all of them.

  • Web of Science: Search for the title of your article, click the number under "Citing Articles" to find all articles in this database that cite it.


  • Google Scholar: Search for the title of your article, click "Cited by" below the article to find articles that cite it.

Subject Searching

The other way to find related articles is to look for articles about the same topic. PsycINFO is the best database for doing this.

  1. Look up the article on PsycINFO (searching by title is usually the most efficient way to do this).
  2. Look at the subjects assigned to the article and identify the ones that are most relevant to your topic.
  3. Search for those subject terms using "AND" to separate each one.
  4. When reading through the target article, also pay attention to other key phrases that describe the topic, you can search on those as well.

Keeping track

While you're researching, it's helpful to keep notes in some form or another - whatever works best for you.  The important thing is to keep track of where you've been, what you've looked at, and what worked and what didn't.

Some things to keep track of...


  • Where did you search?
  • Which search terms did you use?
    • which worked well?
    • which didn't?


  • What did you find?
  • How will it help you?
  • How can you get to it again?
    • URL for webpage,
    • folder location if you've downloaded an article,
    • call number of a book or map