Library Research Guide to Psychology: Illustrated Search Strategy and Sources

By Nancy E. Douglas; Nathan E. Baum | Go to book overview

Tips on the Use of Social Sciences Citation Index
You may want to search each of your books or articles through all years of the citation index since each was published. Howitt book could be searched in the "Citation Index" for the years 1975 up through the latest issue of S.S.C.I. Social Sciences Citation Index is published three times a year, the first two issues covering January-April and May-August and the third cumulating the others and completing the indexing to December of that year. Five-year cumulative issues of S.S.C.I. have also been published to make searching faster and easier.As you search through the "Citation Index," beginning with the year your original article was published, you will discover more articles on your topic. You should incorporate them into your list and search them in the "Citation Index," too. This process permits you to build a larger, more complete bibliography of the most current literature on your topic.In your work with Social Sciences Citation Index you may eventually come to the point where certain names continue to reappear and a select group of articles always refers to some or all of the articles you have on your list. When this happens, you have identified the essential core of the literature on your topic, as defined by workers in the field. Do not be too concerned if your research does not result in such a closely related set of articles, however; it is more frequently a reflection of the field of study than of the effectiveness of your search. S.S.C.I. contains a wealth of material, and in some cases you may feel you could add articles infinitely. You will need to keep comparing the citations to the central topic of your research paper and try to select only those citations which clearly focus on your topic. When you finish searching S.S.C.I., you are ready to study the collection of new articles you have identified. You will want to take notes as you read them and relate their findings to those of the earlier articles. In studying the new articles you may discover still more new authors and papers you had not known about before. If you find them helpful, check them through the "Citation Index" as well.
Other Author Approaches
To conclude this chapter, it should be pointed out that if in your search several authors stand out as the preeminent authors on your topic you should do a thorough author search. First use the "Source Index" of S.S.C.I.; then use the author indexes of the other indexing tools we explained in Chapter 4 and listed in Appendix iv. S.S.C.I. is an extremely useful research tool, but not all libraries have it. If your library does not have Social Sciences Citation Index, you might want to consider going to visit another library. If you decide to do this, first read Chapter 8 "Using Other Libraries." Also, Science Citation Index ( Philadelphia: Institute for Scientific Information, 1961-) is a very similar work which may be a useful alternative for research in psychiatry, neurology, and animal behavior.
Summary
1. There are two approaches to searching the periodical literature: the subject approach (Chapter 4) and the author approach (Chapter 5).
2. The primary tool for the author approach is the Social Sciences Citation Index.
3. To use S.S.C.I., consult the "Citation Index" under the names of the authors whom you have on your list of relevant books and articles generated in Chapters 1-4. This will tell you who has cited these books and articles.
4. Then use the "Source Index" to determine the titles of the citing articles and thus help sort out the useful articles.
5. Each article on your list should be searched for all years since it was published up to the present.
6. When certain authors appear to dominate a field of study, a search for further articles by them would be appropriate. Use the "Source Index" of S.S.C.I. and the author indexes of such indexing tools as Psychological Abstracts.

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