How to Find Significant Research Papers related to my Research Domain

postdoc position

When I started with research work, I found that it is way too difficult to find important source of information and research papers. It requires a lot of research to find potential research papers. However, later it has been observed that there are some key points to identify potential research papers. In every domain, there are multiple review and survey papers which claim to identify important challenges and gaps in the research papers,

However, it is difficult to track those research work which, years go, are left in between. Such research papers are said to be sleeping beauties.

Backtrack Research Paper Chain

One of the possible solution to identify potential research papers is to backtrack the research work. Once you identify one research paper, using its references, you may find great works prior to the present work. This goes on so on and so forth. Now this chain is possible only if we find great base paper of the research domain.

If you are studying Abraham Lincoln, try to find some letters he himself wrote. Maybe you could find an original newspaper clipping of interviews with the people closest to him. Journal entries are great finds, too.

Base paper

Base paper is the research work which one refers as a key research work in the similar research area and on the similar challenges and/ or gaps.

However, due to availability of large number of research papers it is difficult to find the path breaking work which have been done in the related areas.

Journal and Conference Papers

The conference papers having high visibility and high citation number may lead to great research work. The papers which are citing such research papers must have been published in good (SCI/ SCIE) indexed journals and/ or in good (Core A/ A* ranked) conferences. Such journals and conferences show good research papers.

It is even better to check the number of citations, year of publication (recent ones are better), author h-index (better if high), age of the challenging research problem (smaller is better) and more number of recent citations. It is good to find best paper research awards in core A* ranked conferences, if you have not yet decided your research domain.

Playing with words

The literature work is the most important phase for any research work. It is important to identify all the papers related to the relevant research gaps in your domain. This is so because during thesis submission, this is one of the key aspect which is asked in different ways as indicated in Top 40 potential PhD viva questions about your thesis. Playing with words is the key idea behind identifying all the available research work in a specific domain. There are many such sleeping beauties which are left untouched since many recent years which could have been improved. This is due to lack of awareness that research papers having indifferent titles. I have come across some research papers which are very interesting but are unidentifiable to normal keywords. Check these:

  • I may talk in English but gaali toh Hindi mein hi denge: A study of English-Hindi code-switching and swearing pattern on social networks

  • Are We Birds of the Same Feather?

Though these are interesting articles and have contributed in their domains. But it is difficult track or notice and hence, have low visibility comparatively.

Good Resources

It is usually good practice to follow standard sites and links for fetching good research papers. These sites are Google Scholar, Science Direct and DBLP specially for Computer science related research work. This is same for all engineering backgrounds. These resources should be used to find different relevant research works. However, in order to make your profile, you must register with Google Scholar, Research Gate and Academia. This is an important step to get indulge with fellow researchers.

For other subjects, potential tools are



Name of tool Comments
Medical PubMed Searchable database of academic medical literature; managed by the US National Library of Medicine.
Medical GoPubMed A feature-rich compilation of academic medical literature.
Medical Medline Plus Easy-to-read guides and videos; not as technical as other medical search engines; managed by the National Institutes of Health,
Humanities JURN A curated search engine for humanities researchers.
Humanities Project Muse A database of over 200 non-profit publishers.
Economics NBER – National Bureau of Economic Research Searchable database of economic papers.
Crime National Criminal Justice Reference Services A database of articles about issues pertaining to the justice system, including court cases, crime prevention, drugs, etc.
General OAIster Feature-rich search tool for a variety of different sources; managed by the OCLC.
General Refseek A powerful, general-purpose search engine that finds websites, academic papers, books, newspapers, and more. The site has a variety of features that help you narrow down your search.
General Sweet Search A search engine crafted specifically for students. Every website that shows up as search result has been hand-picked by research experts.
General iSeek An education-focused general search engine with helpful tools to narrow down your search
General ipl2 The site contains a search engine and an index of helpful, credible sites arranged by topic.
General EasyBib Research (Beta) EasyBIb research makes the bibliographies on our site searchable, so you can look at sources about your topic that other students are using.
Chemistry PubChem Contains academic chemistry information; managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Philosophy PhilPapers A database of academic papers related to philosophy.
Science A resource of scientific papers and information; overseen by the US government.
Science Scirus A search engine geared towards scientific information.
Science Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) A database of scholarly scientific information.
Statistics US Census Bureau Statistics in the US, arranged topically (Education, Business, Agriculture, etc.).
Statistics CIA World Factbook Statistics, reports, maps, history, and other information about 267 countries.


There are several topics and terminologies which are unclear when we begin with any research work. In order to understand these, you must follow wikipedia, where it also mentions the introductory research paper for any given technique or algorithm. The existing algorithms are, however, being used for different research domains these days. These are improved significantly with respect to different parameters and scenarios of research challenges.

Good Luck!!! Happy Research!!!

Share this...
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected!