Exploring upstream & downstream: using references to find research literature

We can picture the body of literature in any research field as a river. Ideas spring up over time, start as a just trickle of papers, but then grow in number as others expand upon the earlier work. Tools or concepts introduced from different topic areas may then act as tributaries that further increase the flow of research. What results is an ever increasing volume of work that can completely overwhelm anyone who tries to wade in. So how can a new grad student safely navigate the river? Continue reading