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Citation Chaining

Follow the Citation Chain Backward: What research/authors informed your author?

  • Carefully study the the introduction of the text you have chosen. What sources and scholars are mentioned there? Look for mentions of key or important or seminal works in the field
  • Mine the footnotes and bibliography - what research is cited in these books/articles
  • Make note of key sources cited in the text, then look for them in LibrarySearch to see if MRU owns them


Follow the Citation Chain Forward: What research has been informed by your author/text?

  • Look in Google Scholar for "cited by" results for the titles you discovered above, then limit to more recent citations.
  • Pursue the citation trails in LibrarySearch to see what other texts a source has cited, and also who has cited it. Note that in LibrarySearch, this is possible only for journal articles, book results are not included. 

  • In the database Historical Abstracts, go to the Cited References button at the top of the screen. Enter your title and author name, then follow instructions for viewing cited articles.

Reviews: What Did Other Historians Think of a Text/Topic?

Tips for Finding Book Reviews & Review Articles

In any search tool, search for a book title or it's topic and:

  • Go to the Advanced Search or Filters and limit to "book review," OR
  • Add the phrase "book review" or "review article" or "review essay" or "literature review" to your search

Historical Abstracts is an important article database for the study of European history - try these tips for finding reviews and historiographical articles there:
  • Use the drop down menus to search for the word review in the subject or abstract of articles, along with your topic search terms or author name/book title
  • Try searching for the term historiography in the subject field.

This will retrieve articles discussing previous research on a topic that can alert you to key authors, significant studies, and key theoretical approaches that historians have used to address this topic.

  • Try searching for variations of the terms historiography, historians, scholars, etc. in the abstract field, along with terms about your topic. This should also retrieve articles that discuss the work of previous scholars.


Other Useful Resources for Finding Historiographical Information

Here are a few other places you might explore to find historiographical information about the topic or time period discussed in your text

Find Secondary Sources in a HIstory-Specific Database

How to find secondary sources in the database Historical Abstracts
2 minutes

Accessing Items MRU Does Not Own

If our library does not have the journal or book chapter you need, you can request them through the InterLibrary Loan (ILL) service. The service is free, and the library will find the article for you at another university.

*Note that during the pandemic, ILL is only available for digital items - electronic journal articles and book chapters. Entire books are not eligible for ILL right now. If you need an entire book, ask Alice for advice.

MRU Interlibrary Loan Service

or try Google Scholar. Make sure you have the Library Links settings configured to link you to MRU Library. 


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Alice Swabey
Drop-in help Mondays 12-2 at the Library Service Desk. Appointments available via Google Meet or in-person. Email help is also available.