Dean Eckles on people, technology & inference

Keyword searching papers citing a highly-cited paper with Google Scholar

[Update: Google Scholar now directly supports this feature, check the box right below the search box after clicking “Cited by…”.]

In finding relevant research, once one has found something interesting, it can be really useful to do “reverse citation” searches.

Google Scholar is often my first stop when finding research literature (and for general search), and it has this feature — just click “Cited by 394”. But it is not very useful when your starting point is highly cited. What I often want to do is to do a keyword search of the papers that cite my highly-cited starting point.

While there is no GUI for this search within these results in Google Scholar, you can actually do it by hacking the URL. Just add the keyword query to the URL.

This is the URL one gets for all resources Google has as citing Allport’s “Attitudes” (1935):

And this URL searches within those for “indispensable concept”:

In this particular case, this gives us many examples of authors citing Allport’s comment that the attitude is the most distinctive and indispensable concept in social psychology. This example highlights that this can even just help get more useful “snippets” in the search results, even if it doesn’t narrow down the results much.

I find this useful in many cases. Maybe you will also.

2 thoughts on “Keyword searching papers citing a highly-cited paper with Google Scholar

  1. Hi Dean, I stumbled across this hack myself and use it all the time.

    I’m currently on the lookout for a way to have Google Scholar show me only works that cite a particular *combination* of previous works. For example, if I’m writing a paper based on two seminal sources, it would be very useful to see what other published works ALSO cite those same two sources.

    Unfortunately when I hack the URL thusly,

    nothing happens. (Those are two important works on attachment theory, each with thousands of citations apiece)

    Have you run across anything that will let you filter a results set by multiple citations, rather than just one? ‘Twould be quite useful, don’t you think?

    –Billy Somerville, the New School for Social Research

  2. Yes, that would be useful.

    Publish or Perish might be able to do something along those lines.

    One option would be to use keyword search to try to increase the chances the second paper is cited — say by searching for the author of the second paper.

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