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ENSP 400: Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy

Research guide for ENSP 400: Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy

USDA APHIS vs. Coumaphos Alternatives Literature Search


  • To assist USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – Veterinary Services (VS) to determine alternatives to the chemical we use to eliminate cattle fever ticks on cattle as well as wildlife (white tailed deer and the invasive nilgai).
  • The project will mostly include literature searches as well as exploring worldwide approaches to determine if other agencies or entities around the globe have best practices that we can learn from.

Problems to be Solved

  • Should coumaphos become unavailable either due to growing ineffectiveness or due to environmental/worker safety concerns, what alternatives do we have?
  • What species can we use these treatments on?
  • What can we do to ensure that we are sustainable, efficient and effective in the long term?
  • What are the environmental and climatological impacts of either coumaphos or their alternatives?

Longhorn cattle in a field with ranchers in the background.

Image source:

The links below are useful resources that will provide background information for your research.

Search Tips

An asterisk (*) stands in for any group of letters 

SEARCHING: librar* 

FINDS: library, libraries, librarian

Quotation marks keep words together, and in order

“this is a phrase”    this is not


'AND' narrows your search and 'OR' broadens your search (see below)

AND/OR Boolean search diagram

    “cattle tick fever”                      “coumaphos”                      “cattle tick fever”                    “cattle tick fever”                              

                                                                                                            AND                                          OR

                                                                                                    “coumaphos”                           "coumaphos”

                                                                                                  (fewer results)                         (more results)


Searching for synonyms of your keywords will ensure that you can find resources that are connected to your topic. Think through how else someone might refer to key concepts you are searching.

The databases below will be a good place to conduct literature searches to find peer-reviewed sources. You should search more than one database for a comprehensive search.

Google Scholar is search engine, not a database. It does not support advanced search functions or search strategies. It's good for finding individual citations, but less good for conducting research.

What is Grey Literature?

Grey literature is materials and research produced by organizations outside of the traditional commercial or academic publishing. These are considered good sources of information. Common information types include reports, working papers, government documents, white papers, etc. To find grey literature you will have to search individual websites and search engines.

The links below are a good starting point to find grey literature.