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Information Skills

Videos and online tutorials to support and develop information skills.

Citation Chaining

Take this tutorial on Citation Chaining and learn how to use one good article or book to help you find other relevant resources.
This tutorial will help you use databases such as MultiSearch, Google Scholar, ResearchGate and journal databases to:

  • Backwards chain to find articles cited in your existing resources
  • Forwards chain to find articles that cite your existing resources.

Backwards and Forwards Chaining

Backwards chaining is the process of looking at the good resources you have already found and searching for items in the reference lists of those sources, which could be relevant and useful for your assessment task.

Here, you are looking back at past research in an attempt to track the development of the concept you are researching. As you find more resources, and use the citations listed in those reference lists, your network of resources will expand very quickly.

To access the resources found by backwards chaining, simply copy the citation titles from the reference lists you have and paste them into MultiSearch or the library's databases. If you can’t find a resource via the library, try Google Scholar or ResearchGate or fill out an Interlibrary loan request.

Forwards chaining is the process of finding sources which have cited the good books or articles you are currently using.

Here, you are looking forward at research conducted after your existing resource. By doing this you continue to track the development of the concept you are researching.

Citation databases such as MultiSearch, Google Scholar and many of the library's databases give you an option to look at sources which have cited your original work. Again if you can’t find the full-text of the resource, use the library's interlibrary loan service to request a copy.

Citation Chaining Activity

1. Introduction

In this activity, you will run through the process of both backwards and forwards chaining using MultiSearch and Google Scholar.

Below is a portion of a reference list from a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article titled: The Treatment Planning of Experienced Counselors: A Qualitative Examination.

From this reference list, the article titled Infusing qualitative traditions in counseling research designs looks like an interesting one. Copy this article title by highlighting it, then right-click your mouse and select the copy option.  

Now, click the numbered buttons at the top of this box to navigate your way through this practice task. Complete all tasks in order from 1 - 3.


American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics.

Baker, T. B., McFall, R. M., & Shoham, V. (2008). Current status and future prospects of clinical psychology: Toward a scientifically principled approach to mental and behavioral health care. Psychological Science in the Public Interest9, 67–103.

Beutler, L. E., Forrester, B., Gallagher-Thompson, D., Thompson, L., & Tomlins, J. B. (2012). Common, specific, and treatment fit variables in psychotherapy outcome. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 22, 255–281.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. (2015). 2016 CACREP Standards. Author.

Eells, T. D. (1999). What do we know about master therapists? Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 8, 314–317.

Falvey, J. E., Bray, T. E., & Hebert, D. J. (2005). Case conceptualization and treatment planning: Investigation of problem-solving and clinical judgment. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 27, 348–372.

Fox, J., Hagedorn, W. B., & Sivo, S. A. (2016). Clinical decisionmaking and intuition: A task analysis of 44 experienced counsellors. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 16, 244–255.

Frank, J. D., & Frank, J. (1991). Persuasion and healing: A comparative study of psychotherapy (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press.

Gaudiano, B. A., Brown, L. A., & Miller, I. W. (2011). Let your intuition be your guide? Individual differences in the evidence based practice attitudes of psychotherapists. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 17, 628–634. 2753.2010.01508.x

Hays, D. G., & Singh, A. A. (2012). Qualitative inquiry in clinical and educational settings. Guilford Press.

Hays, D. G., & Wood, C. (2011). Infusing qualitative traditions in counseling research designs. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89, 288–295. tb00091.x

Hill, C. E. (2012). Consensual qualitative research: A practical resource for investigating social science phenomena. American Psychological Association.

Hill, C. E., Knox, S., Thompson, B. J., Williams, E. N., Hess, S. A., & Ladany, N. (2005). Consensual qualitative research: An update. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 196–205.

Hill, C. E., Thompson, B. J., & Williams, E. N. (1997). A guide to conducting consensual qualitative research. The Counseling Psychologist, 25, 517–572.

Hunt, B. (2011). Publishing qualitative research in counseling journals. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89, 296–300. 96

Gutierrez, Fox, Jones, & Fallon Kealy, D., Goodman, G., Rasmussen, B., Weideman, R., & Ogrodniczuk, J. S. (2015). Therapists’ perspectives on optimal treatment for pathological narcissism. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.

Wampold, B. E. (2015). How important are the common factors in psychotherapy? An update. World Psychiatry, 14, 270–277. wps.20238

2. Backwards Chaining

Once you've copied the title: Infusing qualitative traditions in counseling research designs.  Paste it into MultiSearch below to see if the library subscribes to this publication. 

Open the full-text PDF of this new article by selecting View Online and clicking the Access options: EBSCOHOST link.

Note: If the library does not subscribe to the journal publication (that is, you could not find it in MultiSearch) fill out an InterLibrary Loan request form and a librarian will request it from another library for you. 


3. Forwards Chaining

Using Google Scholar we can also view a list on publications in which the authors' have cited this same article in their work. 

Open Google Scholar and paste the article title into the search box: Infusing qualitative traditions in counseling research designs.

Underneath the article details, you'll see a Cited by link.  Simply click this link to access those authors which have cited this article. At the time of writing, Scholar produced over 800 cited by links for this article.

Note: You will also see Cited by and Citations links next to the titles of articles you find in MultiSearch.  Again, fill out an InterLibrary Loan request form when items which are not available as full-text in MultiSearch.