Seminal Research can also be referred to as pivotal or landmark studies, sometimes classic papers. This is research that first presented an important idea within a discipline and are often referred to and cited in other publications like articles, books, dissertations, etc. Seminal research can be much older than 5-10 years, so faculty and students who are using the research databases should be aware of this when limiting searches by date. It is best to use the Sort feature available in some databases.
There is no one easy way to identify what is a seminal piece of research. Much of process is done by reading over lots of research related to the topic and identifying a key piece of research that is cited by multiple sources of published research. Identifying seminal research involves an analysis of research you have found on your topic and recognizing those publications & authors that show up on a multitude of later research.
Databases that can help you identify seminal research include: