I am seeking some help to find research papers (preferably in the area of Markov chains) for my undergraduate research for reference. Any guidance on how to find research papers in general for undergraduate level research will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance

  • @EnergyNumbers Just found some from google. – Heisenberg May 6 '14 at 13:54
  • MathSciNet, your advisor, your librarian. – Nate Eldredge May 6 '14 at 14:22
  • Google scholar or your library catalog are good places to start. – nivag May 6 '14 at 14:27

Academic knowledge is connected through a web of citations and references. Once you have a piece of that web, you can follow the threads towards other papers.

Start at the Wikipedia Page, specifically the Notes and References sections.

See if any of the links there take you to a PDF... look for DOI numbers, or PDF in the link. If not, use Google to try to find a paper. Start reading it.

Look for a word or phrase you recognize, and want to know more about, or something seems about the direction you want to go. Likely, this will be cited... look in the references section of that paper, then google that paper (or follow the kindly provided links).

You're traversing a web of references, so you'll come back to the same papers sometimes. If I were you, I'd keep notes about each of the papers I look into.

  • Title
  • Authors
  • Link to PDF
  • Single sentence summary.

Once you've been doing this for a day or so, you'll notice that there are some authors who have a good connection to the topic you're interested in. Look up their university web page; Often they'll have a list of their papers.

Essentially, you are crawling the web of references yourself. Keep following the links, keep track of where you've been, where you want to go.

Oh, one other thing: Google Scholar is a decent choice for getting an overview of a topic because it will sort papers by reference count: Highly cited papers often contain important information; Be it an excellent summary or a novel insight.


The most useful advice I've ever gotten about finding research papers: Book an appointment with a research librarian.

Get in touch with your university's library and see if you can make an hour or so appointment, or if they offer workshops or classes on searching the literature. There job is, quite literally, to know how to find information, and generally they're more than happy to share their expertise. Even as an experienced graduate student, I got things out of my visits with them.

  • Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately I do not come from a place with such facilities due to the poor and outdated resources in our library and the people only issue books but knows nothing else. Due to this my only hope is the internet! – Heisenberg May 6 '14 at 14:38

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