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AGRI116 - Plants and Civilizations: Your mission

Your mission: Library Research Assignment

Pick a plant and find 10 unique references on applicable aspects including the:

  • Biology / Natural history
  • Social / Cultural
  • Economic
  • Historical
  • Human health
  • Policy / legal aspects of your plant and how it has interacted with humans or human cultures

Note: Not all plants have information available in all of these areas. Your goal is to find information you will need to develop a compelling topic and thesis for your project. You will need to report on at least 10 sources (total) for this assignment. However, you might want to add more as the more references you find now the easier it will be to complete future assignments. 

Find these sources by using the library catalog or library databases (not general internet searches). ‚ÄčThese databases are likely to give you TONS of potential sources. (You will probably need to filter these results to get closer to what you need.):

Cite each source in APA format:

Authors in form of: last name, first initial middle initial & last name, first initial middle initial). (year). Title. Source, issue, page number. 

DOI Details on APA style can be found here:, or on the AGRI 116 libguide pages.

Annotate each source separately:

What information does the source add to your understanding of each aspect of the plant? 2-3 sentences. 

Provide an example sentence of how you would use the source in a research paper.


Briefly discuss the credibility and/or bias of your reference. 

You may want to mention the location and profession of the author(s) and how this impacts the article. Mention how this will affect your own credibility when writing.

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic can be one of the most difficult parts of the research process. Remember that research is fluid; your topic will adapt, and even completely change, as you do your research!

This short video [3:11] from North Carolina State University gives some great advice on choosing a research topic.


Forgot what we discussed during our library session? Don't fret, in addition to this research guide, you can find more information in the library handout.

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