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Resources for your research in horticutlure

Welcome to the HORT 1104 course page

This page provides a summary of the Library resources and research tools we will explore in the HORT 1104 library orientation on September 7, 2023. I will keep it up for you for the remainder of the semester so you can refer to it as you do your course work.

Before joining the live session, please take a minute to watch the following 3 short videos, in the boxes below.

1. Scholarly journal articles

2. Using KPU Library's Summon search to find sources

3. Evaluating sources for credibility

Feel free to contact me with any questions!

Celia Brinkerhoff, Horticulture Librarian (

Following the library workshop, please take 1 minute and provide me with some feedback.

1. Scholarly journal articles

KPU Library's video explaining how to recognize a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article.

2. Using Summon search

This video explains basic search tips using the Library's Summon search engine.

3. Evaluating Sources

In this video, you will review some tips on evaluating online sources of information.

Test your understanding

Search example:

We are interested in finding scholarly information about the possible factors contributing to the decline of honey bees.

The following 3 articles were found using the Library's Summon search and Google; however, one of these is not from a scholarly source. Which one would NOT be a good choice for our assignment?


Causes of Honey bee decline
Pollinator declines: 0 votes (0%)
Pesticide-virus interactions in honey bees: Challenges and opportunities for understanding bee declines: 0 votes (0%)
Colony collapse disorder: 11 votes (100%)
Total Votes: 11

Finding sources for your topic: Causes of soil degradation

For this assignment, your research topic is soil degradation around the world and you are being asked to locate some of the primary causes.

Start your research with the library's search engine Summon (default search on the library's homepage).

First, identify the key terms in your question:

  • use 2 or 3 keywords to focus your topic i.e. soil degradation (AND) causes

Second, recall some basic search strategies from the Summon video you watched:

  • use quotation marks around a phrase to keep the words together as a single concept, i.e., "soil degradation"
  • use the content filters on the side to limit to scholarly articles, books, or other material types
  • keep in mind synonyms (similar terms), related concepts, broader or more specific terms
"soil degradation"                                      soil quality, soil health
causes processes, or specific examples such as tillage, compaction, salinity, soil organic matter


Use one of the library's science databases to locate scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on your topic. Start with a general keyword search, then use the filters to narrow by topic or discipline.

Here are a few open (freely accessible) resources that offer basic principles of soil science, with a Canadian focus.

Extension literature is science-based information about a range of agricultural topics of interest to farmers and growers, most often produced by U.S. universities and governmental bodies charged with communicating this information to their user groups. Resources include reports from on-farm and participatory research, factsheets and best practices written for producers, as well as training materials and grant opportunities.  

The easiest way to access this body of literature is to include the word "extension" in your Google searches, and to limit your search to the .edu domain. 

Here is an example of a quick search for biochar on the extension sites. Click on the image to see the results of the search.

Add Google Scholar to your suite of research tools. Google Scholar is a search engine that covers much of the scholarly, peer reviewed literature from academic publishers, plus conferences, theses and dissertations, abstracts and more. Some of the content is available full text, and some will be citation-only. 

You can configure your settings to include links to articles available from Kwantlen Polytechnic Library subscription journals to avoid hitting publishers' paywalls. See the screenshot below.

Why do I need to cite my sources?

Why Citations are Important

In science communication, include citations to external and reliable sources in order to:

  • increase the credibility of your own work
  • provide your reader with additional sources of information
  • acknowledge the work of others who have gone before you
  • ensure that your work is transparent and unbiased

Direct Quotation, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

There are certain conventions in science writing that make it a little different from other academic and non-academic writing:

  • Rarely, if ever, are direct quotations taken from other work. This is largely because the actual words an author uses is not so important, whereas their findings and theories are.
  • Paraphrasing the work of others is done by carefully altering sentence structure and terminology while adhering to the original meaning.
  • Most often, when writing your lab reports and research papers, you will be summarizing the works of others.

Creating Reference List Citations: Journal Articles

This short activity will introduce you to creating  journal article entry for your reference list. These exercises are from the library's APA Style Citation Pressbook. Check it out for more information on using APA Style.

Step 1. Determine the elements needed to create a reference for a scholarly journal article.

Step 2.  Arrange the elements in correct order.

Step 3. Try it yourself

APA Style Resources

Be sure you are familiar with KPU's Student Academic and Integrity Policy and it's accompanying Procedures. You can read more about these policies and the issues of Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism on the Library's Academic Integrity and Plagiarism guide.

In HORT 1104, you will be writing and submitting various assignments and lab reports. As part of the KPU community of researchers and scholars, students are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and to approach their work with integrity. This includes understanding and using a system of citation that clearly tells your readers (your instructors and student peers) where your sources of information are coming from, and by extension, what ideas or data are your own.

Use the library's APA Citation guide for details on formatting papers, creating references, and using in-text citations.

Use the signal phrases suggested on the template PDF attached below for some ideas on how to incorporate your references into your writing.

It's important to vary the way in which you incorporate sources into your writing; this makes for better flow and keeps your reader engaged, while at the same time, being very clear about whose work you are referring to.

The APA Style site has excellent examples of both narrative citations and parenthetical citations.


We'll use this space to work get some hands-on practice incorporating references into our writing using in-text citations.

HORT 1104 L01

HORT 1104 L02