Academic research is is a multi-step process that doesn't always go in a straight line; you may find yourself returning to previous stages as you refine your topic. Steps include
We recommend you become familiar with the types of sources required for your research project:
Databases listed here are good general-purpose databases for agriculture, life science, and natural resources research. See the subject guides for lists of recommended, discipline-specific databases, plus contact information for that subject librarian.
Use the World Book for background research on a topic, to refine or narrow a research topic, and confirm terminology (that you'll also use in subject-specific databases).
LexisNexis Academic is a collection of hundreds of databases covering topics such as news, business, legal research, people, and company information. The default start search form uses the Easy Search method in the General search tab. Select Power Search for more advanced search options. Use the Sources link to choose from individual databases. All content is full text in HTML. News sources 1977-present; legal source 1789-present.
Use LexisNexis Academic to find recent news articles on science and agricultural topics and to find people working in a research area. Newspaper articles will be written for a popular audience, which will provide a general understanding of a research topic before you move on to scholarly articles.
Academic Search Complete indexes citations, abstracts, and full text from journal articles, books, reports, and conference proceedings in all subject disciplines. Full text provided in PDF and HTML. Searchable cited references are provided for nearly 1,000 journals. Searches can be limited to peer reviewed sources. Indexing 1887-present, most content 1980s-present.
Academic Search Complete provides articles from both popular sources like magazines and newspapers that will give a general overview of a topic, and from scholarly sources that will go into much more depth. Use this database for general research into any science or agriculture topic.
Business Source Complete is a citation, abstracts, and full-text database that indexes journals; books; financial data; reference works; conference proceedings; company, industry, investment, marketing, and country reports; SWOT analyses; and case studies. Full text is provides as HTML and PDF. You can limit to peer-reviewed sources. 1886-present; most content is 1980s-present.
Use Business Source Complete when researching the business or economic aspects of agriculture or natural resource topics. It provides information on business and industries in these fields.
Annual Reviews publishes comprehensive, critical, primary-literature reviews (HTML and PDF) for 40 scientific disciplines within the biological and medical, engineering and physical, and social sciences including economics. It is a useful starting point for upper level research because it synthesizes the vast amount of primary research literature and identifies the principal contributions in each field. 1939-present.
Review articles (also available from many other databases) are a great starting point for advanced research on a science topic, because they digest the current state of knowledge. The references listed with each summary article will also serve as a starting point for further research.
Science Citation Index, a subset of Web of Science, indexes citations, abstracts, and some full text from journal articles, books, and conference proceedings in all science disciplines. You can search cited references. 1975-present (older data available in print).
Science Citation Index is a comprehensive science and agriculture database, covering hundreds of scholarly journals. Its features that analyze sets of citations is a vital step in advanced research.