Surveying the Literature
Usually before you begin a project, or when you are preparing the
related work section for a paper or a thesis, or when you are looking
for a tool that you need in your research, you have to search the
literature to find out what other people have already done in the
area. Jordan Pollack once put it succintly: "Reading is fundamental."
Searching the web
Literature search used to be a major effort, and include abstract
indices and databases, and librarians specializing in specific
disciplines. However, these days almost all literature is available on
the web, and simply googling with some good keywords is a good
start. However there are tools like
Google Scholar that makes it
possible to not only find papers, but e.g. other papers by the same
author, and papers that cite a given paper. You should become familiar
with such tools and take advantage of them.
Following the Refs and Authors
Indeed, often the best way way is to follow the reference list of
those papers that you liked. Once you look those up, you'll find more
references, etc. When you really get into a specific topic and like
someone's work in particular, you should look up their web page for
the latest papers, and perhaps send them email directly and ask for
references to their latest work.
Most papers are available online---if not the latest published
version, at least an earlier manuscript version in servers such as
arXiv. However, sometime you come
across a paper that is behind the publisher's paywall. Fortunately UT
Libraries has subscriptions with most publishers, and there's a way to
access them through the library: simply add "ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu"
at the end of the server url (e.g. if your article page has a URL
https://direct.mit.edu/article, then you can access it through
https://direct.mit.edu.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/article). You have to
login through your EID to access this service.
Last modified: Sun Sep 25 15:31:58 PDT 2022