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CRIJ 3324 (Fansher)

Citation Chasing

A very useful research strategy, especially when writing literature reviews, is to search within the citations or references of a resource. If you can find one or more good articles/books look up the resources they used in their research! If you see a researcher or resource cited by multiple researchers, pay attention to their work. They may be an important scholar in the field who you should mention in your review. This strategy also helps to ensure you never run out of resources to look up. 


If you need a resource the library does not have, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. This service is free for UHV/VC students, staff, and faculty. 

DOI: What is it?

If you are searching for an article from a citation, the best way to search is by the DOI or digital object identifier. Searching by title or author name may prove challenging.

According to CrossRef (2002), a DOI (digital object identifier) is a "unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object, such as an electronic journal, article, report, or thesis. Each DOI name is unique and serves as a stable, persistent link to the full-text of an electronic item on the Internet. Unlike a URL, a DOI name doesn't change over time; even if the item moves to a new location, the DOI name stays the same." (p. 1)

All DOI numbers begin with 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix. The prefix contains four or more numbers and is assigned to organizations. The suffix is assigned by the publisher and is designed to be flexible. The prefix and suffix are separated by a slash.

The 6th Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association recommends that the DOI should be included in the bibliography for print and electronic sources when available. The DOI should be included using the format doi:xxxxxx in the bibliography. When a DOI is not available for electronic journal articles, include the persistent URL.

Here is an example of a DOI:

DOI: Where do I find it?

The location of the DOI can depend on many things. Here are some places to look for the DOI:

  • First page of the electronic journal article
  • Near the copyright notice
  • Database landing page for an article
  • Hidden behind a button
  • In the citation generated by the database
  • Online using the free DOI lookup 

Not every electronic journal article has a DOI. If no DOI is available and you retrieved the journal article online, you should include the persistent URL. 

Searching by Journal

If there is no DOI, the second best method for searching is not by author or title, but by the Journal issue/edition. 

Lets say I am looking for the following article that I found cited in a previous work: 

Phipps, C., Cooper, N., Shores, K., Williams, R., & Mize, N. (2015). Examining the relationship between intramural sports participation and sense of community among college students. Recreational Sports Journal, 39(2), 105–120.

I can identify the following components from this citation:

  • Author: Phipps, C., Cooper, N., Shores, K., Williams, R., & Mize, N.
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Title: "Examining the relationship between intramural sports participation and sense of community among college students"
  • Journal: Recreational Sports Journal
  • Journal Edition: 39
  • Journal Issue: 2
  • Page Numbers of Article: 105-120

The first thing I should do, if there is no DOI listed is search the Journal title under the Journals icon from the Library homepage: 

Then I will discover which databases give access to which years of this journal. I can see here that SPORTDiscus with Full Text gives me access to this Journal from 05/01/2006 to present. This means that the article I am looking for will be found here because it was published in 2015. 

Now I can type the title into the search within publication search bar and will be able to easily find the resource I am looking for.