What is Seminal Research?
Seminal works are the initial pieces that present an important or influential idea within a particular discipline. These articles are referred to (referenced) repeatedly in the literature, so you're likely to see the citations again and again.
- There is no single strategy for finding seminal articles. Any strategy relies on thoroughly examining and synthesizing the literature.
- Don't expect to see articles labeled as seminal.
- You'll start seeing the same author and title frequently.
- Google Scholar will show you how many times others have cited an article.
- The higher the number, the more likely it is a seminal article.
Examples of seminal research:
- An example of a seminal paper is the 1953 publication of A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in the journal Nature in which they describe the structure of DNA for the first time.
- In Google Scholar, under the article, it shows it has been cited 17,000+ times.
- Another example is Michael E. Porter's 1996 article entitled What is Strategy? This article is considered a seminal work because it provided a clear and widely accepted definition of "strategy" and discounted many alternate views of what strategy is. The article has been cited thousands of times and has influenced business leaders worldwide.
- In Google Scholar, under the article, it shows it has been cited 19,000+ times.
Sage Premier e-Journal Collection with Google Scholar
- Search for articles by topic or keywords.
- Do not limit by date because seminal works can be written decades ago.
- Click on the Abstract link.
- Under the Abstract and Keywords, you will find a list of References.
- Under each Reference is a Google Scholar link that will take you to the Google Scholar entry and show you how many times it has been cited.
Dissertations & Theses Global
This database will help you know if your dissertation topic is unique and identify seminal research.
- Search for articles by keywords or phrase (include quotation marks around your phrase, e.g., "project management").
- Do not limit by date or Full Text.
- You may want to limit the Language to English. You may not want to restrict the language because you could find a dissertation in another language with an English abstract that could help you.
- Identify dissertations similar to your topic.
- Open the literature review and scan it for the most likely seminal books or articles.
- Then you can do a citation analysis in Google Scholar and see how many times it has been cited.