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HDR Literature Review Plan

Expand your literature search

There are many ways to locate literature for your literature review.

In a traditional search, topic keywords are used to find relevant papers; whereas searching in citation databases allows researchers to search via the references and citations to papers, providing a relational or association-based view of the literature.

Citation databases

Citation databases are a special type of scholarly database which indexes research publications by indexing the citations between publications and providing citation searching/tracking features.

Citation databases index the citations between articles, thus linking together articles based on their reference lists.




The image depicts a key article (centre) arrows pointing to older articles (left) and arrows pointing to papers that cite the key article (right).

Left: Backwards citation searching

Reference list of key article

Older articles

Image of 3 articles referenced by the key article

  1. Retrospective/cited references
  2. Past research ideas on which the key article is based

Right: Forwards citation searching

Papers that cite key articles

Newer articles

Image of 3 articles that have referenced the key article following its publication

  1. Prospective/citing references
  2. The way ideas in the key paper influenced future research

How are citation databases different to full-text library databases?

Citation databases are a place to search for links between publications, allowing you to see who has cited who, and providing researchers with the ability to expand their literature search beyond traditional keyword searching. Full-text might not be available to all resources found in citation databases.

Where can I do citation searching?

There are three main places you can search for literature by following the citations to publications. They include: 

Scopus and Web of Science are the two most comprehensive citation databases, and the Library subscribes to both on behalf of Deakin staff and students. They are both multidisciplinary, and cover a wide range of subject areas. Google Scholar also provides citation searching functionality, however it is less sophisticated than the other two databases, and it only permits forward citation searching.