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Advanced Writing in the Disciplines (AWD) : Citation Analysis

A guide to online and print resources for Advanced Writing in the Disciplines

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Citation Analysis

What is citation analysis?

Citation analysis consists of being able to judge the value of a particular article, an author's journal publications, or a particular journal through an analysis of the number and quality of citations to that article, author's work or journal.  A common phrase for this analysis is "impact factor."

Which database is best for analyzing impact factors?

Web of Science is the best known database for analyzing impact factors.  Despite the name, this database covers all disciplines in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The subscription at Northeastern Universiy covers publications back to 1975. 

Numerous journal databases other than Web of Science are now providing subsequently cited information, e.g. Ebsco databases, Science Direct.  However, unlike Web of Science, these other resources tend to limit citing information to only other journals in the particular database.

Note: The Web of Science contains abstracts of articles instead of the full text of the articles.  Please use the husky links icon after each record for access information. 

How do I search Web of Science?

You can search Web of Science in a number of ways, including keywod (called topic), author, or university (called address).  Searching by author or address can be tricky, so please follow examples provided on the search page. 

Once you've retrieved a list of abstracts to articles, you'll find "references" to sources cited in each article and "times cited" to sources which have subsequently cited each article.  Please note that recent publications may have few or no times cited references.

If you choose the "Cited Reference Search" tab, you can search for articles that cite a person's work.  If you choose the "Additional Resources" tab and the "Journal Citation Reports," you can find the value of a particular journal in relationship to peer journals within a discipline.  To carry this further, one can place a value on a particular researcher's output through analysing the quality of the journals that cite the researcher's publications.