General References to Get Started
These sources can give you basic background on agricultural practices
Green Food an A-Z Guide
Handbook of Agriculture
Strawberries (book on horticultural practices on order)
Tropical Fruits (book on horticultural practices on order)
Much can be learned from visiting the web sites of branded producers of your crop. To identify other producers check out the labels in your local market.
Trade associations advocate for their industries but are also a rich source of information about industry practices. To find additional trade groups search the Encyclopedia of Associations: National or use Google. Many trade associations are nationally based so expect them to be located in top producting/exporting countries. Here is a list of just a few to get your started.
California Strawberry Commission
Australian Banana Growers Council
North American Strawberry Growers Association
Organic Trade Association
Government & International Agricultural Agencies
Governmental and international agencies are excellent sources for statitics on production, consumption, trade, tarifs, subsidies and standards.
Foreign Agricultural Services USDA This US government agency has a wealth of information of trade in fruits
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
OECD iLibrary Use the advanced search feature, search for your target fruit and limit to themes agriculture and food or Environment or Trade.
Articles about cultivation and business aspects
These articles databases will cover scientific, technical, marketing, supply chain and economic aspects of your target fruit. The library's general article search engine will also be useful. Expect the articles to be narrow in focus because they are primarily scholarly. The following list of keywords, phases and subject terms combines with your target fruit will facilitate searching.
AGRICOLA (AGRICultural Online Access)
- distribution, logistics, supply chain, transporation
- water, hydrology
- soil, land
- employment or labor
- fertilization, pesticide
- subsidies, tariffs
- standards, regulation
Biological Abstracts (Thomson Scientific / ISI Web Services)
Provides book and article citations to agricultural literature.
Some links to full-text documents online. The database covers materials in all formats and periods, including printed works from as far back as the 15th century.
Web of Knowledge
Biological Abstracts is a comprehensive database that directs you to information covered in life sciences journals. Coverage begins 1969 to present.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (ProQuest)
Provides abstracts and citations for peer-reviewed journals in all major disciplines. Offers comprehensive coverage of the scientific, technical, medical, geographic and social sciences (including arts and humanities). Includes complete contents of GEOBASE multidisciplinary database.
Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
Provides abstracts and indexing of the international literature of political science and international relations, along with complementary fields, including international law and public administration/policy. Drawn from over 1,500+ serials publications and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations and working papers.
PAIS International (ProQuest)
Business Source Premier is a full-text, scholarly and trade article database covering a wide range of topics including management, marketing, accounting, finance, economics, international business, operations management and management information systems.
EconLit with Full Text (EBSCO)
The Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) database contains references for over half a million journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more.
Citations and abstracts of journal articles, books, working papers and dissertations from 1969 to present based on the Journal of Economic Literature's subject classification. This enhanced version of EconLit includes the full text of all AEA journals and roughly 600 other scholarly journals.
You will likely use a wide variety of sources for this project including corporate web sites, popular news outlets, goverment reports, trade associations, advocacy organizations, scientific studies, reference books and social science journal articles. Whether you use a resource found via a library subscription database or on the free web take care to assess the document in terms of the following criteria.
- Objectivity/Bias: Does the sources advocate for a particular point of view? Are alternative explanations explored? Is objective data and/or reasoned arguments used to support a point of view?
- Audience: Who is the intended audience? Written for investors, the general public, specialized researchers or potential allies?
- Purpose: Why was the piece published? To inform, pursuade, advance scholarship?
- Authorship/Authority: Who has written the document? What are his or her credentials? What is the reputation of the author or publisher?
- Documentation: How easy does the author make for the reader to find out where data and supporting evidence is coming from? Are methods used to compile data transparent?
When using resources with weaknesses in any of these areas, try to find corraborating sources or signal that you are aware of the limitations and prejudices.
To learn about the authority or reputation of authors and publishers, search to see if and how the source or author are quoted and mentioned in the general press. Make an appointment with a research librarian for help.