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Answered By: Maureen Morasch
Last Updated: Mar 02, 2015     Views: 9581

Seminal sources tend to be the major studies on the issue that were done over the past 20-50 years. These are the researchers/thinkers/authors that everyone discusses (whether or not current research agrees with their findings). If you don’t know of any specific researchers that are THE ones for your topic (think Vygotsky, Piaget, Gardner) then you can try to identify some three ways:


  1. Compare the reference lists of articles that are really on topic. The items/authors that show up on multiple lists are probably key figures in the research.
  2. Search your topic on Google Scholar. Under each item is a link that says ‘Cited by XX’. Articles that have been cited many (think hundreds) of times are probably fairly key. You can pull some of these as seminal sources.

3. Search your topic in our database Web of Science. (To enter the database, click "Web of Science" from the linked list). Enter your search terms, then sort the results by "Times Cited--highest to lowest".

Web of Science sort by: Times Cited--highest to lowest

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