Q. I need to identify the seminal articles in a discipline or the top 10 most cited articles in the field.
The best tool for this is a database called Web of Science; it covers all disciplines. Here’s a step-by-step approach for how to use it.
1. Go to our Databases and look for Web of Science. Click on the name to enter the database.
2. In the first search box, type your search term: learning style. Or writing pedagogy, or whatever topic you want to search.
3. The list of results you get will have options for narrowing the search on the left side of the screen. Refine the search until you get what the results you want.
4. Once you have the search results that reflect your topic, click on the small link on the right side of the screen that says “Create Citation Report.”
5. This will result in a list of articles sorted by number of times the article has been cited. You can get to a longer citation for an article of interest by clicking on the title. That will also give you a list of all the articles that have cited it. Once you get to a citation, you can click on the “Full Text” button to see if you can get the article online. (This will take you to Google Scholar with full text or an option to "Get this item at USD.") You won’t be able to get everything online, so if it’s not available that way, print or email or save the citation and you can see if we have the full text elsewhere or get it through interlibrary loan if we don’t.
Keep in mind that the Citation Report only includes items indexed in Web of Science. There may be relevant articles in other databases that aren't captured in the report. Your results also depend on what words you use to search. But it’s the only tool available that does this function at all, and they do try to cover as much of the worldwide scholarly literature as possible.
Note: The text of this FAQ was adapted with permission from W.I. Dykes Library, University of Houston-Downtown. Their FAQ here.