Citation tracking is an excellent technique for discovering how scholars converse and debate issues in their publications. Scholars cite each others' work each time they build on existing research, compare, contrast, evaluate or otherwise relate to the ongoing academic conversation.
To track back in time, choose a book or article that seems important, and start looking up the listed references. Identify a reference that seems central or significant, look it up, then work back to the resources listed in its reference list or footnotes, and so on.
We can get help in this technique from many databases. For example, in Esearch, look for a link to "references" in the record of some articles. In 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. Quite a few databases, as well as Esearch, provide such tools, including Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Proquest. Keep your eye out for the tell-tale "cited by" link.
EMU short video tutorial: Finding Articles by Tracking Citations
RECOMMENDATION for papers with more than five sources: keep track of the references you gather using a bibliographic tool such as EndNote or Zotero.