Find references using a variety of channels
To understand a community's debate, you first have to find out who is speaking in that debate. In this technique you will search for sources to pursue.
In your search for sources, do the following:
There are a number of resources you can use for searching. Keep in mind that searching for sources is just like networking or finding out about good music--you start at from something interesting and start expanding out from there by hearing what other people are saying. For searching for sources, here are some techniques:
The true answer is that you never know because there are always more/better sources out there that you haven’t found. So the search doesn’t end until you drop the topic.
You could say it’s “good enough” when you stop hearing reviewers say, “well clearly they aren't familiar with the field because you didn't cite XYZ.” Often, XYZ is the reviewer’s work, but that’s fine, they still helped you find useful information. "Good enough" often means knowing more sources about your topic than the other people in your discipline (at that point you are the expert).
But in the meantime, a good way to decide if you've found the right amount:
So remember that search is as an iterative process.
When I was a grad student, I didn’t really understand why reSEARCH placed so much emphasis on looking at old information, but the reason is that the community is ideally building this shared body together, so you are ideally spending a good chunk of time knowing what other people are doing. Of course, different researchers are better/worse at knowing the literature and it’s about as extreme as can be.
As a mentor of mine used to say: “100 hours in the field saves an hour in the library"
How far and wide we should go initially?
For research, you are usually aiming to go deep given that you want to be pushing the boundaries of knowledge forward. Your search broadly only the sense that you are looking across journals/authors/communities to see if you are missing something within the scope of your topic.
Searching within a venue (such as a journal or conference) works well as a starting point those constraints because the communities tend to be somewhat self contained.
A bibliography in your reference manager that identifies the references you will pursue.
Kaufer, D. S., Geisler, C., & Neuwirth, C. M. (1989). Arguing from sources: Exploring issues through reading and writing. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.