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Sources as “Seeds”: Using a Reference List to Find More Sources


An academic publication usually ends with a list of references (also known as a bibliography or a works cited page). Reference lists can be powerful tools for locating more sources on a topic. By finding one relevant source and then locating several sources that it cites (and that are relevant to your topic), you can locate sources you might not otherwise find through a database, catalog, or Internet search.


  1. Identify one source that is highly relevant to your research topic. Preferably an article start here:

Enter your search terms

Select the scope “Reed+Summit+Articles”

Select “enter” 

Select the facet to filter for “Peer-Reviewed Journals”

In the Filter Bar select “Full Text Online”

Choose an article from the list (select the title OR select “full text available”)


What is the name of the article: 


  1. Look through the article and find sections that are important to your research topic.


  1. Find the citations for that section in the source’s reference list, usually located at the end of the document. Locate a source within that list. 


  1. Consider how the author uses the source in the work – why did he pick this particular source? This can help you determine how the source can fit into your research.


  1. Now that you’ve identified a potentially useful source, locate the item. 

    • For articles: go to one of our databases, OR back to the main library search bar and paste the title. Make sure Reed+Summit+Articles is selected again.

  2. Once you’ve found the source, evaluate its relevance. (An article usually has an abstract, or summary, that can help with this).

When evaluating the source, consider:

  • Will this source be helpful for your research? How (not)?


  • Does this new source’s list of references tell you more about how this topic has been discussed by others? Does the list of references provided in the new source have additional avenues for further investigation?


*** email any articles you find to yourself!!!***