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What are influential and essential key sources?
- Sometimes called a "seminal work" or "landmark work"
- Key to a topic or area of interest regardless of the date they were written
- Influential in the area of research that you are exploring
Method #1: Compare Reference Lists/Bibliographies/Works Cited
- Consult the footnotes, parenthetical references, and other in-text citations on your topic.
- Identify sources that show up on multiple lists. These may be key sources.
Method #2: Identify sources that are "cited by" a high number of sources
- Many databases allow you to explore how often a source is cited.
- Sources that have been cited many times are often important and influential.
- Review the Top Picks: Find Influential and Key Sources for recommended places to get started.
Method #3: Identify sources cited in Dissertations and Theses
Method #4: Identify sources cited in Review Articles
- Review articles look to summarize the current status of research on a topic.
- In some databases, you can narrow the type of article to "review."
- Typically, in a review article, the author is looking for things such as:
- Key people
- Major advances
- Current debates
- Where the research might go next
Find influential and essential key sources
A search platform to explore the library's physical and (many of our) electronic collections.
Dates of Coverage: Various
Web of Science
Sort by the number of citations using the "Sort by Times Cited - highest to lowest" feature or use the citation mapping tool to explore the citation relationships for a specific source.
Dates of Coverage: 1864 - Current
Explore how many times are article is cited using the "Cited by #" feature.
Dates of Coverage: All Time Periods
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I
Review other students' dissertations and theses on similar topics. Pay attention to the "Literature Review" section to identify what authors and sources they selected.
Dates of Coverage: 1743 - Current
When searching for your topic, add phrases such as:
"seminal research" or "seminal study/studies"