Booth Library
Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University Logo

BIO 3510: Plant Physiology - Writing a Scientific Paper

D2L embed


Instructors: Copy the text below and paste it into the "insert stuff" area in D2L to insert this guide into your D2L class.

<iframe src="" height="800" width="820"></iframe>

Watch a short video tutorial on embedding library research guides into D2L.

Find Books
General information on plant nutrient use is most easily found by searching for books. Books provide a broader overview of topics than journal articles. Search the library catalog and use broad keywords like:
plant nutrition
plant nutrients
nutrient deficiency plants

Subject headings are what librarians use to tag library resources. Subject headings describe what a book is about. Once you find a relevant book for your needs, look at the subject headings (called Topics in our library catalog) to lead you to more useful items.

Some subject headings that may be useful for this assignment include:
Plants - Nutrition.
Crops - Nutrition.
Soil fertility.

As you browse through your results, identify call numbers that are coming up a lot in your searches. Booth Library materials are shelved according to subject, so once you find a useful book, there will be more like it in the adjacent area of the book shelves.

Once you have identified a book in the library catalog, make note of the following three things to find the book in the library:
(1) What is the Status? You will only be able to find the book in the stacks if Status is Available.
(2) What is the Call Number? Write down the complete call number or send the call number to yourself as a text message.
(3) Where is the book shelved? The Location will give you the general area to find your book. Ask a reference librarian for more specific directions, as needed.

In the example using the screenshot below, the call number begins with a Q. Items in the Book Stacks with a call number beginning alphabetically P - Z will be on the library's 1000 Level (the first floor).

Use this interactive tool to map the location of your book in the library: Map it!
Or consult a static map of the library.

If a book is not available at Booth Library, remember that you can request it from another library using I-Share. If you aren't familiar with this process, ask Kirstin or another librarian for help.

Find Articles
In journal articles, more specific research questions are addressed. As you search for journal articles in the article databases, you will want to use more focused keywords. For this assignment, you might consider searching:

or narrower terms like: nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium
or related terms like: fertilizer

or narrower terms like: height, reproductive tissues, flowers, or fruits


or narrower terms like: seedlings

These are just suggestions. What additional keywords can you think of to use?

Remember! When searching the article databases, use keywords. Don't type entire questions into the search box.

Recommended article databases for this assignment:

BIOSIS Previews



Notice that you can choose to search for terms when they appear in the Title or Abstract. (See above screenshots for examples.) This helps narrow the number of results you retrieve, as well as increase the relevancy of the results.

Caution! If you are seeing very few results, you need to either (1) use different and/or broader search terms OR (2) use the default search ("All Fields" in BIOSIS and AGRICOLA and "Full-Text" in JSTOR) rather than choosing a Title or Abstract search.

Remember to ask a librarian if you are wanting help with your research!
Subject Specialist
Picture: Kirstin Duffin

Kirstin Duffin
Librarian Liaison for Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Geology/Geography
Office: 217 581-6006

Reference Desk: 217-581-6072
Email the Reference Desk

Save the link!
Find sample journal articles
Your assignment asks you to follow the style of articles published in Ecology or Plant Physiology. See how papers are formatted and model your writing after these articles by browsing in the journals:



Plant Physiology.
Find the full-text article
You will need to use the Get Full Text icon to locate the full text of articles found in BIOSIS and AGRICOLA. JSTOR includes full text articles within its database.

See this icon?

Click it to locate full text.

If you see...


Click on "Full text available via"  to access the article online.

The article may be available in hardcopy at Booth Library. Ask a Librarian for assistance.


You will need to submit a request for the article to be retrieved from another library. Your article should arrive within one week. In most cases, a link to the article is sent to you by e-mail. There is no charge to you for using this service.