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Rural Studies

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Rural Studies at EIU

Interested in learning more about rural studies? Consider pursuing a Rural Studies minor while at EIU. An interdisciplinary program, courses span the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. Explore the Rural Studies program at
Find Reference Articles
Wanting a general overview of rural geography, rural health, or another rural studies topic? Try searching our electronic reference collections via the Gale and Sage publisher options in the search box below.

Reference sources provide excellent background information on a topic and are great sources to identify keywords to use in searching for books and journal articles. Check the end of the reference article -- often there are additional resources to help you expand your search on a given topic. See results for the sample search on the keywords rural and rural education.


Reference books

Find the below resources shelved in the Reference Room on the main floor of Booth Library.

The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (section on Rural Life)
-- Call number REF F351 .A534 2007

Encyclopedia of Rural America: The Land and People
-- Call number REF E169.12 .E5 2008x

See also: entries within subject-specific encyclopedias, e.g.,
"Rural aging" in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
-- Call number REF HM425 .B53 2007
"The urban/rural divide: understanding voter participation by location" in Voting in America
-- Call number REF JK1976 .V69 2008  
Find Books
Browse the following call numbers to find books on rural studies in Booth Library:
Subject Call number
Agricultural conservation .................... S604.5 - 604.64
Agricultural industries ........................ HD9000 - 9495
Agriculture (industry) ......................... HD1401 - 2210
Farm economics and management ...... S560 - 571.5
History of agriculture ......................... S419 - 482
Natural resources, conservation of ...... S900 - 972
Rural geography ............................... GF127
Rural health and health services ......... RA771 - 771.7
Rural sociology ................................. HT401 - 485
Not all subdisciplines of rural studies have a unique call number range. If you don't see your area of interest listed above, try searching the library catalog using keywords like rural poverty or rural sexuality.

Search the library catalog:  

Subject headings relevant to rural studies

Agricultural conservation Agricultural pollution
Agricultural geography Agricultural subsidies
Agricultural industries Agriculture
Agricultural innovations Farm buildings
Agricultural laws and legislation Farm management
Agricultural mapping  
Business & Economics  
Agricultural development projects Rural industries
Agritourism Rural unemployment
Cottage industries Women in rural development
Rural development  
Education, Rural Rural schools
Land use, Rural Water in agriculture
Rural geography Water-supply, Agricultural
Rural-urban migration (away from rural areas) Water-supply, Rural
Urban-rural migration (toward rural areas)  
Medicine, Rural Rural hospitals
Rural health Rural mental health services
Rural health services Rural nursing
Literature & Literacy  
Pastoral poetry Rural libraries
People & Populations  
Agricultural laborers Rural elderly
Farmers Rural gay people
Rural children Rural LGBT people
Rural teenagers Rural population
Rural youth Rural women
Social Services  
Social service, Rural  
Country homes Rural conditions
Country life Rural families
Farm life Rural poor
Housing, Rural Sociology, Rural
Electricity in agriculture Rural electrification
Remote area power supply systems Rural telecommunication
Add these terms to your search, as desired!  
History Middle West
Illinois Statistics
Find Journal Articles
Rural Studies is applied across a broad range of disciplines. Choose from the list of subject databases below or see an A-Z list of all databases at Booth Library.

Article Databases  
Multidisciplinary Academic Search Complete
Agriculture AGRICOLA
  Biological & Agricultural Index Plus
Business and Economics Business Source Elite
Communication Studies Communication & Mass Media Complete
Education ERIC
Environmental Studies GreenFile
Health Sciences Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
  PubMed with EIU Electronic Journals
History America: History and Life (U.S. History)
  Historical Abstracts (World History)
Literature Humanities International Complete
  MLA International Bibliography
Sociology Social Sciences Abstracts

Not sure where to begin? Choose Academic Search Complete and try some of the subject terms suggested in the Find Books section above.

Ask a librarian for assistance with locating resources related to rural studies.
Data, Statistics & Maps ... oh my!


Rural Definitions in Illinois (U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service)
Dozens of definitions for "rural" are currently used by Federal and State agencies, researchers, and policymakers.

Illinois Agricultural Statistics (USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service)
USDA's NASS Illinois Field Office is operated in cooperation with the The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Illinois State Fact Sheets (USDA, Economic Research Service)
Information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports.

Illinois State Guide to Rural Health (Rural Assistance Center)
Breakdown of rural health and human services resources in Illinois.


Federal Resources

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America (USDA, Economic Research Service)
The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America assembles statistics on four broad categories of socioeconomic factors: People, Jobs, Agriculture, and County Classifications.

Rural Data Portal (Housing Assistance Council)
A simple, easy to use, on-line resource that provides essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the United States.

Rural Economy & Population (USDA, Economic Research Service)
ERS data and research related to Business & Industry, Employment & Education, Natural Amenities, Population & Migration, Rural Classifications, Rural Development Policy, and Rural Poverty & Well-being.

Rural Statistics (U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder)
Browse tables of urban/rural statistics. **View this very useful slideshow** for help in locating rural statistics using American FactFinder.

Urban and Rural Areas (U.S. Census Bureau)
Statistics have been split into urban and rural categories in decennial census publications for over a century. The definition of "urban" has changed over time in response to changes in settlement patterns, data use needs, and technology available for use in defining urban areas.

Census of Agriculture (USDA)
Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States.

Farm Economy (USDA, Economic Research Service)
ERS data and research related to Agricultural Baseline Projections, Agricultural Productivity, Agricultural Science Policy, Beginning & Disadvantaged Farmers, Bioenergy, Commodity Outlook, Farm & Commodity Policy, Farm Household Well-being, Farm Labor, Farm Sector Income & Finances, Farm Structure and Organization, Federal Tax Issues, and Land Use, Land Value & Tenure.

National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA)
Conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture.

Rural Education in America (U.S. Dept of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES))
Information about educational changes taking place in rural America. This site provides access to recent data collected by the NCES, as well as the Census Bureau.

Data Sources & Tools Relevant to Rural Health
(Rural Assistance Center)
A comprehensive look at major rural-relevant statistical sources. This list includes data sources focused on healthcare services, health status, demographics, and social determinants of health.

Rural Health (National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Health Services Research Information Central)
A research portal of health services research resources.

What's Different about Rural Health Care? (National Rural Health Association)
Rural Americans face a unique combination of factors that create disparities in health care not found in urban areas.
Link back to this guide
Subject Specialist
Picture: Andy Cougill

Andy Cougill
Reference Librarian
Office: 217 581-7548

Picture: Kirstin Duffin

Kirstin Duffin
Science Librarian
Office: 217 581-7550

Picture: Brad Tolppanen

Brad Tolppanen
Head of Circulation Services
Office: 217 581-6006

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

Web Resources
Rural Development in Illinois (USDA)
Loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure.

Rural Development Research Guide (Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Western Illinois University)
Designed to be a tool to give rural residents easy access to information on government programs and services. The guide is a searchable database which lists programs by program name, organization, category, or by keyword.
Rural Studies - A Sampling of Books
Call number: GF127 .W68 2011
Sod Busting: How Families Made Farms on the Ninteenth-Century Plains
Call number: S441 .D28 2014
Worlds Apart: Poverty and Politics in Rural America
Call number: HC110 .P6 D86 2014
Rural Families and Work: Context and Problems
Electronic book: Access Here
Raised Up Down Yonder: Growing Up Black in Rural Alabama
Call number: E185.93.A3 H69 2013
Rural Nursing: Concepts, Theory and Practice
Electronic book: Access Here
Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America
Call number: HQ76.3.U5 J58 2013
The Farmers' Game: Baseball in Rural America
Call number: GV863.A1 V38 2013
GIS Applications in Agriculture
Call number: G70.212 .G555 2007
Gender in Agriculture: Closing the Knowledge Gap
Electronic book: Access Here
Career Opportunities in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
Call number: S494.5.A4 E24 2011
The Land, the People
Call number: S521 .P36 2010x
Born in the Illinois Cornfields
Call number: CT275.D32537 A3 2000x