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ENGL 304 - Writing in the Disciplines: General Tips

Finding the Conversation in Your Discipline

It can be overwhelming and difficult to try and figure out the "hot" topics in your discipline. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Browse current journal titles in your discipline (print and electronic). Take note of authors, topics and areas of research. You can also find journals related to a specific discipline by browsing this list of publications on the library website.
  • Look at website aggregators of current news in your discipline. Often .edu or .gov websites have current research. Associations or groups may have lists of news items.
  • Search the databases limited to the past few years, or year. Look for research articles. Then look at the subject field to see how many other articles there are on the topic.
  • Look at other articles written by the same author.
  • Look at other articles published by the same institution.
  • Look for articles that have cited the one you are reading.
  • Look at the references at the end of the article for previous research.
  • Set up an RSS feed for your searches, journals, etc. You can have it feed into your cobleskill mail.
  • Ask a professor in your chosen field how they keep up with new information in the field. They will have some good tips!


Database Searching

  • Look for Similar Subjects
  • Look for other works by the same author
  • Look at who has cited this paper
  • Look at who this paper cited
  • Look at how many times it has been cited
  • Look at the importance of the journal it is published in (Google Scholar)
  • Set up RSS feeds to your searches to stay up to date and find out when new information has been published

Citation Searching

Citation searching allows you to see what other articles have cited the article you are reading. The number of times an article is cited can be an indication of its importance to the prevailing theories in a field.

  • PsycINFO  
    Use (More Search Options) in Advanced Search or Search Tools.
  • Academic Search Complete
    Use (Cited References) (Find Similar Results) (Citation Matcher) in the search results.
  • JSTOR  
    Use (Citation Locator) (Items Citing this Item) in the search results.
  • Google Scholar  
    Use (Cited By) in the search results. Google Scholar includes citations from an array of sources in its cited by calculation, including PowerPoints and Word documents.