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A Research Guide for Agricultural & Food Systems 401

Getting Started

Capstone projects require many different types of resources dependent upon what the project actually is. Your project may require you to collect scholarly research, patents, industry information, government data, or some other type of resource. 

Below, I have compiled a list of general resources that you may find helpful.

I have created individual sections individualized to each group.

If you need further assistance You can email me or schedule a time to meet. I'm happy to help!

Selecting the Best Agricultural Scholarly Database

This 3:09 video will walk you through selecting the appropriate agricultural scholarly databases available at WSU. Read transcript of video

Some Other Useful Scholarly Databases

To see a complete list of the Libraries' research databases, check out the A-Z Database List.

Find Datasets

A datasset is the raw data that has been collected by researchers and government institutions. There are countless different types of datasets from countless organizations. Helpful datasets pertaining to these projects may include demographic information, opinion and market surveys, soil and horticulture maps, and so much more. 

  • USDA: National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) - NASS conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture. Production and supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use, and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers are only a few examples. Also see the USDA Open Data Catalog

Find Business and Market Information

Find Business and Market Information

You may find it necessary to understand a company or a market. For more in-depth information regarding this sort of research, take a look at the Company Research Library Guide. 

  • Nexis Uni - Provides information on U.S. and international private and public companies. Info may include: Company description and history, competitors, subsidiaries, size, officers and directors, annual stock price averages, and more.
  • Business Source Complete - Allows you to search company and industry information across popular press, trade journals, product reviews, and much more. Also provides information regarding company and industry profiles. 

Newspaper and Trade Publications

  • Newspaper Source - This database provides selected full text coverage for 245 newspapers, newswires and other sources.
  • Nexis Uni - An excellent source for searching for information within state/regional/US newspapers (including the New York Times) as well as English-language foreign newspapers and foreign language newspapers. 

See also WSU News and Newspaper Research Guide

Find Patents

Find Patents 

Patents are protected rights which has been granted by a sovereign state (or sometimes as intergovernmental organization). Such rights are granted to an inventor and for a limited duration. Patents can often provide detailed information regarding an invention. 

  • Google Patents - The simplest way to search patents. Often includes full texts. 

You can also search the United Stated Patent and Trade Organization as well as the Web of Science Derwent Innovation Index

Find Historic Information

To find historic information, such as images, maps, data, primary sources, etc., check out this WSU library research guide

Find WSU Extension Research

Extension programs have provided a means of reaching farmers, foresters, and homemakers while avoiding the time and hazards involved in travel. A wide range of topics are covered within Extension materials. 


Find Historic WSU Extension Resources

You can find historic WSU (and Washington State College) Extension materials in the following locations:

You can find pre-1959 Washington State College (WSC) Extension resources within the library's catalog. 

After 1959, WSC became Washington State University. Those Extension resources can also be found within the WSU Library catalog

Washington State University Digital Extensions Collection - Various Extension publications are compiled within this collection dating back to 1892. The collection is currently being constructed.


Find Contemporary WSU Extension Resources

You can find contemporary WSU Extension publications via the WSU Extensions Publications website.

Additionally, you can find Extension impact reports using this link. An impact report provides assessment and participation data from many Extension programs over the years. 

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