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Research Guides

Citation Trails: Researching Backward and Forward

Searching Citation Trails on Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search engine that collects a mind-blowing amount of peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, digital books, dissertations, technical reports, and 'grey literature' (e.g. unpublished, scholarly literature). Google Scholar may not seem as sophisticated as other academic resources, but it contains materials that would not be available through other databases (e.g. pre-prints of journal articles). For doing deep research, it can be a valuable ally. You will likely find more materials in a citation trail search than you will with an academic database.


Like some academic databases, Google Scholar does not offer an option to search backward from a selected article. To find materials referenced by the article you're working with, consult the bibliography.


Important: Many materials on Google Scholar are only available with an academic subscription. You will run into a paywall trying to access them. Do not pay for these materials. They are likely available through the U of T Libraries, and you can actually link your U of T Libraries account to Google Scholar, which makes these article freely available to you!

Follow the directions in this video to learn how to link your U of T Libraries account to Google Scholar!


Forward Searching in Google Scholar

1) Find your desired article.


2) Below the item's abstract, find "Cited by..."