Skip to main content

Web of Science: Citation Chaining

How do I choose a seed document?

You want a document relevant to your topic. You may use an article or book that  your professor has assigned in order to find related works. Ideally your seed document will be important in your field so that it leads you to a wide body of related works.

Creating a Citation Map

  • Click on the full record for a document in which you are interested.
  • On the right-hand side, select "view citation map."
  • Select whether you want a forward map, a backward map, or one that goes both directions.
  • Choosing one generation will show documents that cite or are cited by the seed document.
  • Two generations will show the documents that cite or are cited by the first generation documents.

What is Citation Chaining?

Citation chaining is a research technique in which you use one source, called a seed document, as a way to find related documents.

There are two types of citation chaining:

  1. Forward Chaining - Starting with one work - the "seed document" - and looking at the works that have cited the seed document as a reference. You can then continue following forward the works that have cited those documents.
  2. Backward Chaining - Looking at what documents a seed document cites and then following those backward by looking at the documents they cite.

Citation chaining can help you trace back to the roots of important ideas or movements or start from the beginning stages and see how things grow. It's also useful for finding related documents on a topic.

Citation Mapping

One of the unique features of Web of Science is the citation maps it provides. These maps give you a visual representation of the impact of a particular work, either forward, backward, or both.


  Backward mapping

   Forwad mapping

   Backward and Forward mapping


Subject Guide