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BSC 415: Scholarship as a Conversation

Searching Backward and Forward in Time

You can use a technique called citation searching to conduct a search backward or forward in time. Web of Science provides an easy way to do this within the detailed record for each article. To the right of the basic article information is a column labeled Citation Network. You'll see a pair of numbers at the bottom of the box at the top of the column.

The first number (18 in the example below) shows how many times the article you are reading has been cited by other authors in their work. This is searching forward in time and will show how this article has contributed to the scholarly conversation about this topic.

The second number (51 in the example above) shows which articles the author cited when writing their paper. It's a list of the sources they used just like the References page in the papers you write here at Miami. This is searching backward in time and will show you the development of knowledge about a topic, identify experts that specialize in the topic, and see how a theory or model developed as time passed. 

In librarianship, we refer to this entire concept as "Scholarship as Conversation."  Expert researchers build on one another's work and seek out the perspectives of others within their own discipline or from other professions. Here's a brief video that explains this idea: