Finding scientific information: Evaluating search results and continuing a search

Tools for analysing the contents of search results and the continuation of a search

Database tools for analysing the search result (e.g. Analyze results and Refine results):

  • help in evaluating list of publications in the results
  • offer an easy opportunity to continue the search in the desired direction
  • sort the search results according to various criteria - often automaticaly
  • allow you to see from the analysis information which author's or intitution's publications are in the majority in the search results, which journals contain most references on the topic, which countries have the most pulications or which descriptors have been used most frequently in the references in the search results set.

It is possible to find new relevant references using the information from the given references. This could include information:

  • from reference lists
  • from citations which the article has received in the particular database
  • using a Related Records tool, which suggests other articles related to the same topic. Such methods of proceeding with the search are described more closely in the chapter Performing an information search -> Pearl-growing

With the 'Refine Results' tools on the Web of Science database alternative ways of continuing a search and examining the contents of a set of results are offered. At its most simple, a completed search can be narrowed down by writing new search terms in the 'Search within results' box. With the 'Refine and Analyse' functions on the other hand, the contents of a set of results can be analysed from different perspectives, such as dividing the search results into different subject areas, document types, etc. Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <> 21.7.2011

The contents analysis of the previous example can be further illustrated with the Analyze Results tool. In this example, the result from approximately 6400 references received using the search term 'biodiesel' has been analysed on the basis of their titles. In this image, you can see about ten journals, which have included most references to the topic in the set of results. Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <> 21.7.2011

In general, the relevance and publication year are suggested as the order of presentation for the search results. The Web of Science offers also an option to organize a set of results according to the number of citations received by an article, so that those articles which have received most citations appear first. Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <> 21.7.2011

The 'Create Citation Report' tool organizes the results of the previous example according to the number of citations, but, in addition, it gives graphic representation of the chronological distribution of references and the citations that they have received. It also gives the number of citations that each article has received during the previous year. Image source: Thomson Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) <> 21.7.2011