scholars converse and debate issues in their publications, citing each
other each time they agree, make an example or contrast, or just mention
each others' publications.
To track back in time, choose a book or article that
seems important, and start looking up the listed references. Finding
an important reference, then work back to the resources listed in its
bibliography or footnotes, and so on. Here's help on looking up articles
when you have the citations: http://www.emich.edu/library/help/knownarticles.php
We can get help in this technique from many databases. For example,
in the ProQuest databases, look for the "references cited" or "related
articles" links on the right column.
To track forward in time, we need tools that will
show us what articles have cited the work we have in hand. There are
quite a few databases that provide such tools, including Web of Science (here's a video), Google Scholar, and a mix of other databases. Keep your eye out for the tell-tale "cited by" link.
This web page from Cornell
gives examples and information for "cited by" citation tracking. Each
tab explains how to track in databases from the EBSCO or ProQuest
companies, JSTOR, Google Scholar, etc.
RECOMMENDATION: keep track of the references you gather using the free tool, Zotero. This guide will get you started.
Finding Articles by tracking citations - Social Research Methods - Research Guides at Eastern Michigan University