This is an interactive tutorial with directions on this side and a live website on the other.


Use the arrows at the bottom of this page to navigate through the tutorial.


Why Use CAB Abstracts

CAB Abstracts is your source for research in agriculture, animal health, and food science.

In this tutorial you will learn about:

  • keyword searching
  • phrase searching
  • refining searches with filters
  • getting the articles you have found

Research Scenario

CAB Abstracts includes journal articles, conference proceeding, books, and trade publications.


 urban vegetable garden surrounded by brick apartment buildings


You'll use CAB Abstracts to find recent journal articles  about growing food in American cities to help improve food security.

Keyword Search

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Let's start with some keywords.

Your turn:

  • Using the main search box, enter urban agriculture food security
  • Click Search

 main search bar of CAB Abstracts database

Keyword Search

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Yikes! That's nearly 800 results. Let's see how CAB Abstracts translated your search.

Your turn:

  • Click on the article titled
    Food availability and the food desert frame in Detroit: an overview of the city's food system.
  • Look for your search terms highlighted in yellow.


How did CAB interpret your search?

Phrase Searching

Let's try again.  On the top left of your screen is a button labeled Search. Click that to return to your original search screen.

image of the search button in CAB Abstracts

Your turn:

  • Add quotation marks to each concept in your search:"urban agriculture" "food security"
  • Click Search

Refining Results

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We've reduced our results set by about half, but so many of these articles are about other countries.

  • Go to the box labeled Refine Results and type in USA and click the magnifying glass icon.

refine results box in CAB

Refining Results

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This is much better, but the original scenario specified: You will use CAB Abstracts to find recent journal articles about growing food in American cities to help improve food security.

We have our main concepts of urban agriculture, food security, and USA.  What do we do to add our other criteria?


Using Filters

Let's try that:

On the left side of the screen are several options for filtering results.

  • Under Document Types, check the box for Journal Articles and click Refine.

menu for document types in CAB Abstracts

  • Now click Publication Years and then check the boxes for the years 2010-2015 and click Refine

 CAB publication years menu

Find the whole article

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Yes!  Success at last.  Now we have a manageable list of recent articles that should be fairly focused on our topic.

  • Click on the title

Urban agriculture: long-term strategy or impossible dream?: Lessons from Prospect Farm in Brooklyn, New York

to read a short abstract (summary) of the article.


Find the whole article

That abstract looked good; now do we get the whole thing?

  • Click on Article Linker in the upper left corner of the record (a new tab or window will open)

article linker icon

If the library subscribes to the journal in electronic format, this will take you directly to the full-text.

Does USU Library subscribe to this journal in electronic format?

If the library does not subscribe to the journal in electronic format, you will be prompted to check our print collections. 

If we don't have it at all, you may request it through Interlibrary Services.

Further assistance

Congratulations! You have now completed the tutorial.

The library also has a collection of quick how to guides to help you with your research.

You can also get help from a librarian.

Go to the next page if you need to e-mail a completion certificate to your instructor, but remember to only enter in one e-mail address at a time.

Happy researching!

Photo Credit:Bernie Ongewe, 2014





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