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AGRI 475: Seminar (McDonald)

This guide was designed for students in AGRI 475. It includes research tips and resources for finding sources related to agriculture topics. Also included are tips for searching, writing an abstract, and citing.

Background Research

Learn About Your Topic: Background Research

You might want to do some background research in encyclopedias and reference materials to get some background information and develop some ideas for potential topics and keywords. These resources provide generally accepted knowledge about your topic and can help you gain a foundational understanding of it. As you develop your research topic, keep a list of keywords to use when searching databases. Try searching some of the reference resources listed below:

Recommended Databases for Agriculture Seminar

Finding Articles from Professional/Scientific Journals: Agriculture Databases

The databases below are specific to the field of agriculture.

  Time-saving Tip: Start with Agricola via Ebscohost and click "Choose Databases" at the top and check the box for "Academic Search Premier" and "General Science Full Text (H. W. Wilson)" and click OK to search three science/interdisciplinary databases at once.

Finding Articles from Professional/Scientific Journals: Science Databases

A lot of agriculture research will appear in the general science databases to have a broader impact and reach. 

Finding Articles from Professional/Scientific Journals: Interdisciplinary Databases

Research in agriculture can take on an interdisciplinary approach blending business, other sciences, and/or a legal aspect to your topic. Some of the following databases may introduce a new angle to your topic.


Get started with a quick search of the catalog and multiple databases.

Learn How to Use the Catalog

This interactive tutorial will walk you through the basic features of the Library Catalog.

Search for magazine, newspaper, and scholarly journal articles.
Search Digital Archives to find digitized photos, FHSU theses, yearbooks, and more.
Search Books & More to find books & e-books, print & e-journals, DVDs, CDs, government documents, & more.

How Do You Know A Source is From a Scholarly Journal?

How to Find an Article from a Professional/Scientific Journal

Research databases contain mainly professional/scientific journals. Some databases may also contain newspapers, magazines, trade magazines, and other publications. Whether you're searching in the library catalog or in a research database from the library website, you'll often find a filter on the left or right sidebar to limit your results by publication type. 

Look for filters such as:

  • Peer-Reviewed
  • Scholarly Articles
  • Academic Journals

How Do You Know if it Peer-Reviewed?

Most professional/scientific journals go through a rigorous editorial process called peer-review. Look at the slideshow below for hints and ways to identify whether your article has gone through that process:


Peer-Review Label in Library Catalog

The library catalog is one of the few places that labels resources as "peer reviewed" within the results. It's a clear way of identifying the type of source you're looking at within the results. View example article that's peer-reviewed.

peer review icon in forsyth library catalog


Peer-review OR Scholarly OR Academic Journal

In the library catalog and in research databases from the library website, you'll often see a sidebar filter to narrow your results by publication type. View an example search that applies a peer-review filter.

peer review filter in forsyth library catalog


About, Overview, or Editorial Page

Look in the "About the Journal", "Editorial Process" or "Overview" page of the publication page to see whether the journal has a review process before publishing articles. Often times, if they go through the work of a peer-review process, they will want you to know about it and will speak to that process on one of those main pages. They will often talk about how they do a peer-review process (double blind, at least X number of reviewers, etc.). View an example overview page from Agronomy Journal.

agronomy journal overview discussing critical review process and editorial board

Searching Effectively with Google

Tips for Searching Google

  1. Search keyword(s) + Type of File: Locate PDF reports or publications by extension offices
    EX: alfalfa filetype:pdf
  2. Search a keyword + Specific website or domain: Search any webpage relating to the keyword on a specific site
    EX: alfalfa
  3. “Use Quotations Around Phrases”
    EX: "integrated pest management"