Flinders University Library
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Search Strategies

Useful search tips for advanced searching

Use What You Already Know

What is snowballing?

  • Using the resources you have already found to find other relevant sources on the same topic.
  • Searching based on the aspects (i.e. author, references, citations, keywords etc.) of an earlier found publication. 

How do I use it?

You can do snowballing in several ways.

Subject headings

FindIt@Flinders and many journal databases will give their information resources one or more subject headings. Subject headings are specific words or phrases that describe the topic of a book or journal article. Subject headings will be listed in the book or article's record in the database. Most databases list the subject headings as clickable links. Clicking on the link for a subject heading will list all items in that database that have that same heading.

Reference Lists

Scan the reference lists and bibliographies in your search results for additional resources. This is an excellent way of finding more information on your topic as the sources those authors' used are likely to be relevant and key to the topic. You can look the references up on FindIt@Flinders to see if you can access them.

Cited By

Cited by is basically snowballing in reverse. Instead of seeing which references are included in your resource, you look for who has cited the resource in their reference list. Many databases now include tools for listing other articles and books that use a given resource as a reference. Check the help section of individual databases for help on using these features.


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