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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University


Find resources to help with studying, researching, and learning about engineering

Citation Searching & Surfing

Citation searching can be a very valuable tool for finding additional research about or closely related to your research topic.  Here are the main three types and how they help you:

  1. Cited references
    The bibliography or reference list of an article. Helps you determine where a) the original article got its information and b) what was known at the time. Useful for finding related and potentially useful articles but also for tracking down original research that's secondarily cited.
  2. Citing references
    Articles that cite this article.  Helps you find newer research related to your topic and can help track changes in research over time.
  3. Related references
    Who else is citing the same resources in a bibliography or reference list?  Helps you find related research.  The higher the percentage of citations shared, the more likely the research is related.

Best bets for citation searching:

All scientific topics:

Biological-related topics:


Chemistry and biochemical topics

Peer Review

It can be difficult to tell if a source has undergone peer review or any review process at all.  Here's information about peer review and how to figure it out. 

The major takeaway?  Check the journal's website (often under either "About this journal" or in the "Information for Authors") and make sure you are looking at research or review articles, not news, commentary, or letters.

Thesis Information and Resources

Looking for theses or dissertations completed at other universities?  Some tips:

  • Older items (<10 years) are more likely not to be available electronically.
  • Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) may only be available to that university's students.
  • Try searching the other university's catalog for the thesis or dissertation.
  • Try searching Google using your university's name and the phrase ETD.
  • If all else fails, request it from interlibrary loan.

Obtaining Articles, Books, Etc.

Can't find that book, article, thesis, conference paper, or report?  Try either ABC Express or Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Tracking and Organizing Citations

Working on a research project?  Thesis?  Track of your materials using EndNote Web or Zotero. 

Copyright & Presentations

Need some guidance about re-using images or other intellectual property as part of your own work?  Check our Copyright Resource guide or contact Scottie Kapel for assistance at 

Scottie can also assist with identifying best practices for creating posters and slide decks to support presentations.  Feel free to peruse her guide or to contact her for assistance.