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Commerce Subject Guide: COMM 1011: Business Studies

A guide to key databases, reference & web sources, and research & citation guides for Commerce.

Commerce 1011: Business Studies

Commerce 1011: Business Studies

Introductory Research Skills for Business
 

This guide is intended to supplement the Moodle tutorial and quiz, with tips on finding, evaluating and citing sources for the research assignments in this course.

A) Finding academic journal articles
B) Finding articles from magazines, newspapers, and other sources
C) Citing sources
D) Tips for evaluating Internet sources


 

A) To find articles from academic, peer-reviewed business journals, use one of the major business article databases recommended for this course: Business Source Premier (BSP) and ABI/INFORM Collection.

From the Library homepage, select the Quick Link:  "A-Z List of Databases"

Select subject:  Commerce

Select ABI/INFORM or Business Source Premier

Both cover hundreds of business journals and magazines and have similar search options.

BASIC SEARCH TIPS:

Always use the Advanced search screen to see what your search options are.

Use AND between keywords to make sure each keyword is in every record found

e.g. leadership and nonprofit

Use quotation marks for a phrase (2 or more words together in the same order)

e.g. “social media”

Use * (truncation symbol) to get from zero to all possible endings for a term

e.g. entrepreneur* gets entrepreneur, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, etc.

Use OR to get one or the other term (useful for synonyms or alternate spellings)

e.g. entrepreneur* and (women or female) 

NOTE:  parentheses are required when using AND and OR in the same search string.

The default search fields: "Anywhere" in ABI and No field selected in BSP, are generally too broad for finding articles on a topic unless it is very specific. Try searching the "Subject" or "Abstract" fields, or "Anywhere except full text" for a more targeted search.

 

Check the peer-reviewed box to limit articles found to the highest level academic journals. 

Click on the "Search Tips" link or (?) symbol in BSP, for more.

TIPS: 

1. DO NOT limit results to Full Text documents only!  Where the full text of an article indexed by ABI/INFORM or BSP is not available directly, there is a link provided to the full text in other databases subscribed to by the library. 
Click on the "Find @ MTA" link to see the full text article.

2. Evaluate the articles you find using the metadata provided:  Read the citation and abstract. Note the terms used in the abstract, the subject terms assigned, and other clues about how to make your next searches more precise.


B) Finding articles from other kinds of publications (newspapers, professional and trade magazines, etc.):

In ABI/INFORM, click on “Change databases” link (top of the screen) and then select (all) or individual databases you wish to search for other kinds of articles e.g. Canadian Newsstream, for major Canadian newspapers, CBCA for Canadian business and other Canadian content, etc.  Selecting "All" will allow you to search thousands of scholarly journals, trade and professional journals, magazines and newspapers, covering all topics, and including much Canadian content. Sources found can also be limited by type after you enter your search. 

In Business Source Premier you can also expand your search to include other EBSCO databases by clicking on "Choose Databases".  You can also limit your search by "Source type", including product reviews, country reports, SWOT analyses, market research reports, industry profiles, etc.


C) Citing Sources:

Using others' ideas or words without proper acknowledgement is plagiarism, a serious academic offense. You are expected to credit all sources used for academic work. See the brief guides on avoiding plagiarism under the Research Help tab on the library home page. There are several ways to cite sources. In this course you are required to use the APA citation style. This means using the APA format to cite sources briefly in the text of your paper and more fully in the Reference List at the end. There are several brief guides on the library website that help explain how to do this and give examples for different kinds of sources. See for example: “Using APA format” by the Purdue Online Writing Lab. (This guide is also available from within the ProQuest databases.)

In BSP and ProQuest databases, when viewing an article or abstract, you can click on “Cite This” to see how the article can be cited in various styles, and include the citation when you email an article to yourself. Select “APA”.  Note that these citations may not be complete or accurate. Always check!

To save time, you should have a clear idea of the key elements required in a proper reference and record them while doing the research for your paper: Author, date, article title, publication/source title, volume #, issue #, page #s. Date retrieved, for websites. Database or website name, URL or DOI. 

For other tip sheets, see the Research Help tab on the library homepage. 


D) Evaluating Internet Sources:

Look for the same information you need to cite a source to also evaluate it: 

Author:  If there is no author given (or authoring organization) then the source is likely not reliable to use. There should be information about who the author is (credentials, expertise, affiliation, etc.) If an author or responsible organization is not given, you should be wary of using the information.

Date:  Look for the date the information was created or last updated (likely different from the web site’s date). 

Article Title:  Google searches can lead you to sections within documents or bits of text that are taken out of context.  If there is no title, look for links back to the homepage, or back through the URL to find the document or context for the information.

Publication / Source Title:  The source is probably the most important aspect to consider when evaluating the reliability of information. Government bodies and some NGOs like Statistics Canada or the UN are mandated to collect certain kinds of information and follow stringent quality guidelines.  Academic and research institutions strive to present their research findings in objective and balanced ways. Some organizations such as certain think tanks may state their mandate as research and educating the public, but further checking reveals funding from major corporations or a particular lobby group that will likely slant the information given. Industry and professional associations publish information about their industries to win over support for their practices or products. Commercial information makes up the majority of the information on the Internet and is often not clearly identified as such. Knowing the source of the information is crucial to evaluating its appropriateness for your purposes.

These details about the information (author, date, article or webpage title, publication or website name, volume, issue, page numbers, URL, DOI, etc.) are important for finding the information again and for citing the source if you decide to use it. Note as much as you can find for your own evaluation purposes as well as for use in your Reference List.

Beyond these citation evaluation steps, reading the content critically is also necessary to decide whether the information is reliable and appropriate for your purposes. For more details on critically evaluating content, see the MTA guide Evaluating Web Sources.


For help with your general research questions, please contact a librarian at the Research Help Desk in the library at infodesk@mta.ca, call 364-2564, or use the library's online chat service.

For research assistance specific to this and other Commerce courses, please contact Anita Cannon, Commerce Librarian at acannon@mta.ca or 364-2572, or visit me in the library.

 

Created September, 2012. Revised Aug. 2014, Dec. 2017.