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Inciteful can be used in a variety of ways depending on what you are trying to accomplish as outlined below. But if you’re new, I recommend everyone run through the Quick Start section first to get a superficial familiarity with the site.

Getting Familiar With a Body of Literature

The first and most basic is familiarizing yourself with a body of literature. This happens all the time, you become interested in a topic that is not directly related to your current work and it’s tough to get a handle on the current state of that topic. Inciteful makes that easy. This use case is covered in the quick start so head over there if this is what you are looking to do.

Finding Literature for a Paper in Progress

As you are writing a paper it’s good to periodically check to be sure the what you are writing addresses the most recent literature in the topic. In order to quickly do that with Inciteful, we recommend using the import BibTeX method of starting a search.

Once you have imported the BibTeX file into inciteful the resulting graph should be centered around the paper you are writing. In this case the most useful information for you will be the Similar Papers table. These should highlight the papers which have the greatest number of overlapping citations with your prospective paper and which you have not cited.

If the results do not seem to as relevant as they could be there are a few possible explanations:

  • Often papers cite canonical papers which are tangentially related to their topic but not core to the argument. This could pollute the graph with somewhat irrelevant information. Try removing these papers.
  • It’s also possible that you have already found all of the relevant papers.

Now that you have the graph setup, the next step is to filter the graph to only the most recent few years, and head down to the Top Journals. This list should give you some insight into where your prospective papers should be submitted.

Rounding Out a Literature Review

Literature reviews tend to start with keyword based searches using your academic search engine of choice. You often end up using complicated search strategies like the one outlined here where just one of the searches is: ('beginner teachers' OR 'early career teachers') AND (retention OR "continuing employment" OR staying)

Even after all these complicated searches, you have no way of knowing if anything slipped through the cracks. This is where Inciteful shines. Similar to the process of searching for a paper in progress, you start this process by using the import BibTeX method of starting a search. Only this time you use the papers you previously found as your seed papers.

The resulting graph should be centered around the topic of your choice and the Similar Papers table should contain any of the literature that you missed in your first pass through.

Other Uses

These are just a few ways to use Inciteful. Please let us know if you find any others that you think we should share here!

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