Agriculture vs. social sciences: subject classification and sociological conceptualization of rural tourism in Scopus and Web of Science



Agriculture and consumptive function of countryside (rural areas) are connected which should be reflected in scientific research. In order to test relationships, we selected the topic of rural tourism (also agritourism, agrotourism, agricultural tourism) considering sociological conceptualization (social sciences, sociology) and methodological approaches of information sciences (bibliometrics, scientometrics) in describing fields of science or scientific disciplines. We ascertained scatter of information in citation databases (Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar). Functionalities were evaluated, affecting search precision and recall in information retrieval. We mapped documents to Scopus subject areas as well as Web of Science (WOS) research areas and subject categories, and related publications (journals). Databases do not differ substantially in mapping this topic. Social sciences (including economics or business) occupy by far the most important place. The strongest concentration was found in tourism-related journals (consistent with power laws). Agriculture-related publications are rare, accounting for some 10 % of documents. Interdisciplinarity seems to be weak. Results point to poor inclusion of emerging social topics in agricultural research whereby agriculture may lose out in possible venues of future research.


rural tourism; social sciences; agricultural sciences; science mapping; classification; interdisciplinary research; citation databases; sociological conceptualization

Full Text:



Almstedt, A. (2013). Post-productivism in rural areas: A contested concept. In L. Lundmark & C. Sandström (Eds.), Natural resources and regional development theory (pp. 8–22). Umea: Institutionen for geografi och ekonomisk historia.

Bartol, T., Budimir, G., Dekleva-Smrekar, D., Pušnik, M., & Južnič, P. (2014). Assessment of research fields in Scopus and Web of Science in the view of national research evaluation in Slovenia. Scientometrics, 98(2), 1491–1504. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1148-8

Bartol, T., & Hočevar, M. (2011). Topics related to social sciences by authors from Slovenia in agriculture-and-life-sciences database CAB Abstracts. Acta agriculturae Slovenica, 97(3), 197–205. doi:10.2478/v10014-011-0014-8

Bartol, T., & Mackiewicz-Talarczyk, M. (2015). Bibliometric Analysis of Publishing Trends in Fiber Crops in Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science. Journal of Natural Fibers, 12(6), 531–541. doi:10.1080/15440478.2014.972000

Bojnec, Š. (2010). Rural Tourism, Rural Economy Diversification, and Sustainable Development. Academica Turistica-Tourism and Innovation Journal, 3(1–2), 7–15.

Crouch, G. I., & Perdue, R. R. (2015). The Disciplinary Foundations of Tourism Research 1980-2010. Journal of Travel Research, 54(5), 563–577. doi:10.1177/0047287514559036

De Looze, M.-A., Coronini, R., Legentil, M., Jeannin, P., & Magri, M.-H. (1996). Determining the core of journals of a research centre: The example of researchers from the Department of Rural Economy and Sociology of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France. Scientometrics, 36(2), 167–183. doi:10.1007/BF02017312

Fijo-León, M. I., & Fuentes-Luque, A. (2013). A corpus-based approach to the compilation, analysis, and translation of rural tourism terms. Meta: Journal des traducteurs / Meta: Translators’ Journal, 58(1), 212–226. doi:10.7202/1023817ar

Friedland, W. H. (2002). Agriculture and rurality: beginning the “final separation”? Rural sociology, 67(3), 350–371. doi:10.1111/j.1549-0831.2002.tb00108.x

Gómez-Núñez, A. J., Batagelj, V., Vargas-Quesada, B., Moya-Anegón, F., & Chinchilla-Rodríguez, Z. (2014). Optimizing SCImago Journal & Country Rank classification by community detection. Journal of Informetrics, 8(2), 369–383. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2014.01.011

Hall, C. M. (2011). Publish and perish? Bibliometric analysis, journal ranking and the assessment of research quality in tourism. Tourism Management, 32(1), 16–27. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2010.07.001

Hassan, S.-U., Haddawy, P., & Zhu, J. (2014). A bibliometric study of the world’s research activity in sustainable development and its sub-areas using scientific literature. Scientometrics, 99(2), 549–579. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1193-3

Hill, B. (2005). The new rural economy: change, dynamism and government policy. London: The Institute of Economic affairs.

Hočevar, M. (2012). Dispersed settlement in detached houses: Attitudes over the residential space consumption in Slovenia. Sociologija, 54(1), 123–152. doi:10.2298/SOC1201123H

Jiang, J., Woosnam, K. M., & Draper, J. (2014). Structural elements of articles and diachronous citation analysis among top-ranking tourism journals (1990-2010). Tourism Management Perspectives, 12, 48–56. doi:10.1016/j.tmp.2014.06.004

Lane, B., & Kastenholz, E. (2015). Rural tourism: the evolution of practice and research approaches – towards a new generation concept? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(8–9), 1133–1156. doi:10.1080/09669582.2015.1083997

Law, R., Ye, Q., Chen, W., & Leung, R. (2009). An Analysis of the Most Influential Articles Published in Tourism Journals from 2000 to 2007: A Google Scholar Approach. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 26(7), 735–746. doi:10.1080/10548400903284628

Lélé, S., & Norgaard, R. B. (2005). Practicing interdisciplinarity. BioScience, 55(11), 967–975. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055[0967:PI]2.0.CO;2

Mackay, M., Perkins, H. C., & Espiner, S. (2009). The study of rural change from a social scientific perspective: a literature review and annotated bibliography. Lincoln: Lincoln University. Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport.

Manca, E. (2008). From phraseology to culture Qualifying adjectives in the language of tourism. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 13(3), 368–385. doi:10.1075/ijcl.13.3.07man

Mastronardi, L., Giaccio, V., Giannelli, A., & Scardera, A. (2015). Is agritourism eco-friendly? A comparison between agritourisms and other farms in Italy using farm accountancy data network dataset. SpringerPlus, 4(590). doi:10.1186/s40064-015-1353-4

Mavri, R., & Černič-Istenič, M. (2014). Podeželski turizem in socialni kapital v Sloveniji (primer vasi v Občini Cerkno) [Rural tourism and social capital in Slovenia (an example of villages in the Municipality of Cerkno)]. Geografski vestnik, 86(1), 51–61. doi:10.3986/GV86104

Moon, J., Hossain, M. D., Kang, H. G., & Shin, J. (2012). An analysis of agricultural informatization in Korea: the government’s role in bridging the digital gap. Information Development, 28(2), 102–116. doi:10.1177/0266666911432959

Nielsen, N. C., Nissen, K. A., & Just, F. (2010). Rural tourism–return to the farm perspective. In 19th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research.

Nuijten, E. (2011). Combining research styles of the natural and social sciences in agricultural research. NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 57(3), 197–205. doi:10.1016/j.njas.2010.10.003

Pato, M. L., & Teixeira, A. A. C. (2016). Twenty Years of Rural Entrepreneurship: A Bibliometric Survey. Sociologia Ruralis, 56(1), 3–28. doi:10.1111/soru.12058

Phillip, S., Hunter, C., & Blackstock, K. (2010). A typology for defining agritourism. Tourism Management, 31(6), 754–758. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2009.08.001

Ruhanen, L., Weiler, B., Moyle, B. D., & McLennan, C. J. (2015). Trends and patterns in sustainable tourism research: a 25-year bibliometric analysis. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(4), 517–535. doi:10.1080/09669582.2014.978790

Schroeder, R., Zimmermann, F., & Formiga, N. (2016). Growing Complexity in Rural Areas. Networking through Tourism and Recreation. American Journal of Rural Development, 4(1), 15–23.

Stopar, K., Drobne, D., Eler, K., & Bartol, T. (2016). Citation analysis and mapping of nanoscience and nanotechnology: identifying the scope and interdisciplinarity of research. Scientometrics, 106(2), 563–581. doi:10.1007/s11192-015-1797-x

Tian, Y. E., Lee, H. A., & Law, R. (2011). A comparison of research topics in leading tourism journals. International Journal of Tourism Sciences, 11(3), 108–126. doi:10.1080/15980634.2011.11434649

Uršič, M., & Hočevar, M. (2007). Protiurbanost kot nacin zivljenja [Anti-urbanity as a way of life]. Ljubljana: Univerza v Ljubljani, Fakulteta za druzbene vede.

Van der Ploeg, J. D., Renting, H., Brunori, G., Knickel, K., Mannion, J., Marsden, T., et al. (2000). Rural development: from practices and policies towards theory. Sociologia ruralis, 40(4), 391–408. doi:10.1111/1467-9523.00156

Wilson, G. A. (2007). Multifunctional agriculture: a transition theory perspective. Wallingford: CABI. doi:10.1079/9781845932565.0000

Wu, B., Xiao, H., Dong, X., Wang, M., & Xue, L. (2012). Tourism Knowledge Domains: A Keyword Analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 17(4), 355–380. doi:10.1080/10941665.2011.628330

Yozukmaz, N., Akinci-Ekiztepe, B., & Çeken, H. (2014). The Importance of Rural Tourism: Rural Tourism Practices in the World and in Turkey. Uluslararası Sosyal ve Ekonomik Bilimler Dergisi / International Journal of Social and Economic Sciences, 4(2), 37–44.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Marjan HOČEVAR, Tomaž BARTOL

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Acta agriculturae Slovenica is an Open Access journal published under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY License.


eISSN 1854-1941