Skip to Main Content

Agriculture 160: Plant Science

This Research Guide provides information about agriculture and plant science resources found in the CCCC libraries and online.

Popular versus Scholarly Sources

What's the Deal with Scholarly Articles?

Open book iconWhat's in them?

The results of a study, experiment, or any other kind of disciplined scholarly research.

Face with glasses iconWho writes them?

Scholars: faculty, researchers, laboratory staff, and graduate students.

Helpful hint! Look for a University Affiliation in the author's bio in an article.  If they work at a university or college, they're probably a scholarly author!

Icon of three peopleWho reads them?

Other researchers in the field, including students just learning about research and professors working on their own areas of study within the field.

graduation cap iconWhen should you use them?

  • When your instructor has required scholarly sources
  • When you need evidence to back up an argument
  • When you want to be sure the information you're using is valid 

Icon of two pieces of paperWhat do they look like?

  • length: usually more than 5 pages
  • citations: use appropriate citations and include a works cited list 
  • vocabulary: use technical or discipline-specific language (often called jargon)
  • images: include very few images, mostly charts, tables, and graphs rather than photos
  • journal: title is specific and subject related, pages are not glossy, none or very little advertising

Search our catalog for books, DVDs, CDs, and more

Icon of two books sitting togetherLibrary Catalog

Sometimes you need material that can't be found online.  The Libraries at CCCC have booksmovies, and other media available for checkout.  Search for them below.

*Helpful hint: if you can't find the tile or author you're looking for in a CCCC Library, try selecting "All CCLINC Libraries" from the drop down menu to see if you can find it in another community college in North Carolina.  If so, we can place a hold and get the book for you in a few days!

Library Lingo

Icon of three peoplePeer Review: The process used to make sure the research in a scholarly article is accurate before it is published.  After an author submits their article to an academic journal, it is sent to other experts in their field (their peers) to be reviewed.  Those experts check to make sure the experiment is sound and the results make sense.  If they agree that the article contains good information, then it can be published.

What is a Scholarly Article?

This video from Coastal Carolina University's Kimbel Library link will open in a new window will help you learn to recognize scholarly articles.

How to tell if something is C.R.A.P.

calendar IconCurrency

Scholarly information should be current.

When reading an article, find the date it was published.  In many subjects, anything more than five years old is not considered current.


Ven diagram iconRelevance

Information you find should be related to your topic.

Does it...

  • Apply directly to your topic?  
  • Does the whole article apply, or only small parts?

Helpful hint: read the Discussion section first!  This will tell you what the writers concluded based on their study and analysis.  How is it related to the argument you're making?


Check mark iconReliability

Is the information reliable?  Can you count on it being true?  

Check for...

  • References and citations
  • Peer-review status
  • Is it consistent with the other information you've found?  If not, does it mention how or why it differs from the other research out there?
  • Is there any chance of bias from the author?

Head with glasses iconAuthority

Anyone can share their opinion online--but you're looking for experts!

  • How many authors?
  • What are their credentials (degrees, jobs at universities)?
  • Have they written other articles or books on related subjects?
  • Is there any potential for bias?

Target iconPurpose

Why was the article written?  

Knowing what an author hoped to do or gain by writing and publishing an article tells you a lot about how useful it is in an academic setting.

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the article meant to inform, entertain, persuade, sell, or add to an already existing scholarly conversation?
  • Does the article share the results of a study, experiment, or analysis?


Need a little extra help?

Contact your librarian.