Getting Better Results with AgEcon Search

AgEcon Search is a specialized database, primarily of papers and proceedings about agricultural economics. It is a collaborative effort, but originated at and is hosted by the University of Minnesota. Thanks, UMN!

Searching in AgEcon

Searching in AgEcon is different in subtle ways from search most databases. Here are some tips:

Search AgEcon Search (AgEcon) using your chosen terms, along with Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT. The operators must be capitalized to function correctly. 

Words entered together without operators act as if there is AND between them. They may or may not be found in the same fields, such as  author, title, journal title or abstract.

The truncation symbol * gets variations such as other word endings and plural forms; tract* would get tract, tracts, traction, tractor, tractors, and more. Use more of the word to make the retrieval more specific. However, * in front of a word, like *stem (aka left-hand trunctation), won't work. 

A search example: (cotton OR gossypium hirsutum) AND (water OR irrigat*)

Searches may be limited to author, title, journal title, subject, language, and publication date(s), among other ways. More languages are represented than in most databases, but each reference will normally include a title and abastract in English as well as the original language.

You may use field codes to limit a search, such as author:Oliver or keyword:rice 

A search example: title:market AND keyword:rice

You may use quotation marks to retrieve a phrase, but the words must be in the same field, such as author, title, journal title, or abstract, and will be found in order. The order of words matters- put the more important words first. The phrase may be with other words, such as when the phrase searched for was "innovation adoption" and it's found in the title Finding the cost of innovation adoption.

AgEcon uses brackets to specify an exact search, such as [climate smart]; however, the words must occur together in the same field, such as title, journal title, or abstract, and be found in order. An author search with [Lawrence Oliver] won't find [Lawrence R. Oliver], so precision is important.

AgEcon has an advanced search, and it is particularly useful to specify exact search fields, date ranges and the like. 'All fields' is the most likely to return results, but more relevant results will come from title or keyword searches.


Some other resources

Stop Words

Use of stop words in regular searches may retrieve sets of materials that aren't what you had in mind. This is one of the reasons a topic sentence is often not the best search.

Stopwords are commonly used words such as articles, pronouns, and prepositions. For example, 'the', 'for', and 'of' are stopwords. These words are not indexed for searching in the database. When a stopword is used in a query, any single word or no word is retrieved in place of the stopword.